VICTORIA — A rare disease that kills rabbits appears to have returned to parts of Vancouver Island.
British Columbia's Forests Ministry issued a warning advising pet owners to take precautions with their rabbits after tests confirmed four feral rabbits in the Parksville area died from a highly infectious virus.
The ministry says in a statement the tests confirm the presence of rabbit hemorrhagic disease, which is caused by a calicivirus that only affects rabbits.
The ministry says it is the second year in a row the virus has been found in Vancouver Island rabbits, but the source of is unknown.
Hundreds of rabbits died last year after the virus, which causes death within 36 hours, killed hundreds of rabbits across much of Vancouver Island and in Delta near Vancouver.
The ministry says pet owners should monitor their rabbits daily for signs of illness and contact a veterinarian with any concerns.