Document Type : Original Articles
Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Regional Laboratory for Animal influenza, Infectious and Transboundary Animal Diseases, National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Nigeria
Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
The first outbreak of rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) in Nigeria was reported in 2020 after over three decades of its existence in several parts of the world. In this study, we traced the timeline of the 2020 outbreaks of RHD in Nigeria, assessed the knowledge and practices of farmers about RHD and other infectious diseases of rabbits.
Structured questionnaire was administered using Google Forms shared through the rabbit farmers’ social media groups and other professional livestock platforms. Responses were obtained from 114 rabbitries across 15 States in Nigeria. Our findings revealed that the 2020 RHDV outbreak started in February, though its earlier introduction into Nigeria is possible. The responses indicated that 85.6% (3007/3514) of rabbit population in Kwara, Ogun, Oyo and Osun States was lost to RHD between February - November 2020. The cases were confirmed as RHD based on clinical signs, necropsy findings and or reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction results. The major clinical signs observed include sudden death (89.6%), uncoordinated movement (31.3%), paralysis (27.1%), epistaxis (22.9%) and melena (2.8%). Additionally, some (27.1%) of the farmers reported they suspected that RHD was introduced to their farm mainly ‘after a co-farmer visited the rabbitry’, ‘after the introduction of new rabbit stock’ (20.8%), and ‘after a visit to another rabbitry’ (12.5%). Our findings indicated snuffles, myxomatosis, coccidiosis, helminthosis, mange, hairball, bloat, uterine tumours, overgrown teeth and ear canker as the commonest disease conditions encountered. Continuous surveillance and maintenance of active reporting system for known and novel/emerging rabbit diseases in Nigeria are imperative.