Caitlin UltimoHealth / Symptoms & Solutions / Wellness

Can Rabbits Get The Flu And Other Human Ailments?

Q:

Is it possible for rabbits to contract diseases from humans? For example, if I have a cold or the flu can my rabbit catch it from me? I would think pneumonia would be something they can catch but I’m no expert. I am experiencing a bout of the flu and I’m trying to keep my distance from our pet rabbit and have my wife handle his care until it passes. I miss not picking the little guy up and petting him. I’m not sure if I need to be this cautious or not.

A:

The different groups of viruses that cause human influenza are thankfully not the cause of the flu in rabbits. In fact, in pet rabbits, we do not usually recognize respiratory disease as being caused by the flu virus but rather by bacterial organisms.

In modern rabbit medicine, there are no diseases that we are concerned with that go from people to rabbits.

Some people are cautious when they have the flu not to handle their rabbits, as they are aware of the issues of ferrets and the flu. Ferrets can have the flu and give it to people, and people can have the flu and give it to ferrets. Influenza viruses are easily transmitted back and forth from people to ferrets and ferrets to people.

This back and forth transmission does not exist in rabbits. This means that if you feel well enough to do it, there is no harm in you picking up your pet out of their rabbit cages and handling them while you have the flu.

Read More:
Is Your Rabbit Sick?
One Rabbit Health Issue You Can’t Ignore: Proper Diet
Tips For Finding The Right Veterinarian For Your Small Animal Pet


Posted by: Chewy Editorial

Featured Image: Via Shutterstock/Merrimon Crawford

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