Avoiding rabbit cross-contamination

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Well-known member
May 5, 2011
Dayton, OH
We had some devastating tornadoes roll through here about a month ago, and afterwards I found a bunny in my yard. I caught her and brought her inside to safety and registered her with all of the lost and found pet lists. As the humane society was overwhelmed after the storms and I have hay and toys to spare, I offered to foster her in my thankfully unaffected home.

I also have one very spoiled boy chinchilla. Thankfully, instinct kicked in and I remembered that chins and bunnies should not be kept together for some reason (now I remember - pasturella). The bunny is housed in a separate room, and I shower and change clothes between animals. Is that enough to prevent the spread of disease?

For the first two weeks, the bunny was very skittish and barely moved from the box in her pen. Now that she is more comfortable in my home, I would like to give her some out-of-pen exercise. I have a huge chin-proofed area for my boy. I would love for the bunny to be able to use this area, but I am concerned about the transmission of disease (also is there any way to have her tested to see if she carries it?). Does pasturella survive outside the body? If so, would steam mopping between animals kill it? Or would I be better off bunny-proofing a smaller area for her? The absolute last thing I want to do is expose my boy to a potentially deadly disease.
You can take the bunny to the vet and from what I've heard recently you can get a blood test done to see if it carries pasturella (it use to be a horrible nose and eye swab thing that wasn't even very accurate). I would talk to your vet and see if they can do that or not.

As far as I know it can survive for a limited time outside the body. It's found in the nose and mouth so I think once any spit or snot is wiped up with some disinfectant it's likely all gone. I'm not sure just steam mopping is going to be enough unless it's one you can add disinfectant to. Keep in mind that if a rabbit sneezes it spreads droplets all over where ever they sneezed. I would also not allow both to play or chew on the same toys.