The Maui Humane Society will offer a free vaccine clinic for rabbits from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. July 23 after the first case of a viral rabbit disease was discovered on the island last month.
Hawaii’s first case of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus, type 2, was confirmed in a 4- to 5-year-old neutered male rabbit on a Kula farm on June 17. The Maui Humane Society said it immediately put in measures to ensure the in-shelter rabbit population is safe. As of July 1, all eligible rabbits have received their first dose of the vaccine.
The humane society highly advises all rabbit owners to attend the clinic; the first dose of the two-series vaccine will be distributed on July 23, with the second dose given out on Aug. 13.
“The vaccination could save your rabbit’s life,” Medical Director Dr. Laurie Gaines said in a news release Tuesday. “This highly contagious and fatal disease could be catastrophic to the rabbit population on Maui. Please protect your rabbits.”
Those needing a carrier for their rabbit can reserve a free transfer carrier to be picked up on July 15 or 16 at the Maui Humane Society. For more information or to book an appointment, visit mauihumanesociety.org/somebunnytolove.
Over the past four weeks, the Maui Humane Society has received substantial surrender increases in guinea pigs and rabbits, unlike anything the shelter has seen before, the humane society said. The shelter has surpassed capacity and temporary habitats have been built.
On June 16, a family who lost everything in their home due to a fire surrendered 14 guinea pigs to the Maui Humane Society. An on-island transfer partner, Leilani Farm Sanctuary, took some to help with overcapacity, while others became available for adoption.
The Maui Humane Society has also received multiple rabbit surrenders, up to 30 from a single household.
With the increased guinea pig and rabbit intake, the shelter is seeking adopters for the animals, which are great pets for apartments or smaller homes as well as first-time pet owners or families with kids. All rabbits and guinea pigs have no adoption fees. To see adoptable animals, visit mauihumanesociety.org.
For help with keeping or surrendering a pet, call (808) 877-3680, ext. 3, during operating hours.