Tularemia, also known as tularaemia, rabbit fever, deer fly fever, meat-cutter’s disease, Ohara disease, or Francis disease, is a severe infectious bacterial disease of animals transmissible to humans, characterized by ulcers at the site of infection, fever, and loss of weight. Tularemia is caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis.
Symptoms on a rabbit can include the following:
- white- or yellow-spotted liver
- the liver and/or spleen may be a dark bluish-red and appear very swollen
- external ulcerations or infected areas where the animal was bitten by a tick or deer fly
Tularemia bacteria can be found in the organs or body fluids of infected animals, which contaminates the environment. The bacteria can live for long periods of time (weeks to months) in soil, vegetation and water and serve as a source of infection for other animals or humans.
Rabbits get tularemia orally by drinking contaminated water. They can also inhale the bacteria, have direct contact with it in contaminated environments (entry through the mucous membranes or breaks/cuts in the skin), or be bitten by infected biting flies or ticks.
- Yahoo Health, Dangerous 'Rabbit Fever' Spikes in the US
- DePerno, C. (2013). Rabbit Hunters Take Note: Steps to Avoid Tularemia. Retrieved 23 May 2016 from http://www.outdoorhub.com/how-to/2013/02/25/rabbit-hunters-take-note-steps-to-avoid-tularemia/