(House Rabbit Resource Network)

Dasher currently resides at the House Rabbit Resource Network.

Welcome to austonia.com, a new local news site for Austin. We're local people producing local stories. 100% free for news, trends, controversies, celebrities. Sign up for daily updates to get our latest stories in your inbox.

The highly anticipated vaccine for a deadly virus stalking rabbits across the Lone Star State arrives this week in Central Texas from France, touching off a collective sigh of relief in an increasingly anxious local bunny-owner community.


"It's awesome. We're super excited," said Lindsay Rader, shelter manager at the House Rabbit Resource Network in Pflugerville, one of the biggest and oldest rabbit rescues in the state.

The shelter, which typically houses 150-200 bunnies, is a potential hot spot for the highly contagious Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus strain, known as RHDV2.

Baby Shark and Quebec

(House Rabbit Resource Network)

The shelter is, therefore, first in line to vaccinate its current population when the hard-won vaccine—secured through a months-long slashing of state-level red tape by locals—gets here at the end of May.

Until then, bunnies that come in are quarantined for two weeks before they are allowed into the general population, Rader said. The volunteer staff leave their shoes at the shelter or cover them with booties to keep from bringing home RHDV2.

"We've already been doing more of that because of COVID-19, so it hasn't been such a big jump for everybody to take on added security," Rader said.

Abra

(House Rabbit Resource Network)

At least one pet bunny has died of the illness in Lampasas, the closest report to Austin so far.

"We think the virus is moving rapidly towards this area," said veterinarian and rabbit specialist Todd Riggan, owner of White Rock Veterinary Hospital in Pflugerville, who spearheaded the effort to get a vaccine to local domestic bunnies.

Austin-area bunny owners are being warned: Keep pet bunnies indoors, separate them from other pets in the home, leave shoes at the door when they come inside, and don't gather food for them outside.

Austin bunny owner Angela Southern, whose lionhead rabbit Winston is 10 years old, is married to a nurse who already takes his shoes off when he comes home from work—so as not to expose his family to COVID-19.

The dual virus precautions feel "overwhelming," she said.

"Everybody is at risk of something," she said. "But we're on the list for the vaccine so hopefully in the next couple of weeks, he'll get that. And then I won't be so paranoid."

Although the two are not connected, parallels to the simultaneous battle being waged by the human race against the coronavirus pandemic are not hard to find.

Except with death rate upwards of 70% and "sudden death" listed as a symptom, the bunnies are doing worse.

"It's like Ebola for rabbits," Riggan said.

RHDV2 can jump from wild rabbits to domestics, but not to other species.

It is easily transmitted through contact, surfaces, mice, mosquitoes, flies and bird droppings. It can live in an environment for three months and resists typical disinfectants. Symptoms are rare but can include jaundice, bleeding and seizures.

The vaccination arriving in Texas on May 30 is only allowed for domestic rabbits.

The current strain appeared in Washington State a year ago. It showed up again in Arizona and New Mexico in March, hitting West Texas in May, according to the House Rabbit Society information network.

(Realtor.com)

The pre-renovated backyard of the Rogan house on Lake Austin.

Austin-based podcast host Joe Rogan, recently called one of the most influential media personalities in the country, paid at least $14.4 million for the luxury lake house he's now living in on Lake Austin, according to local real estate sources and a report by Variety magazine.
Keep Reading Show less
(Tito's Handmade Vodka)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 2 oz cloudy apple juice
  • 1/2 oz ginger syrup
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 4 ginger slices, muddled
Directions: Muddle ginger slices in a shaker. Add remaining ingredients and ice. Shake and strain into a glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

The Texas Longhorns will face off with the Texas Tech Raiders this Saturday.

On Saturday, the Longhorns will travel to Lubbock to face off against Texas Tech in the Big 12 season opener for both teams.

Keep Reading Show less

The November election is among us and here's what you need to know about propositions on the ballot.

In addition to voting for president, members of Congress and Austin City Council this Nov. 3., local voters will find two propositions at the bottom of their ballot with both addressing mobility issues in the city of Austin.

Keep Reading Show less

(Steven Joyner)

No city is perfect, but if we're just talking about looks, Austin—with its lush green nature spots and lakes—is pretty spectacular. Here's a look at what makes Austin the perfect place to "staycation."

Keep Reading Show less
(Photo by Maile Wilson)

Brené Brown is on to her next project, a podcast signed with Spotify.

Author and University of Texas professor Brené Brown signed a deal with Spotify for the platform rights to her new podcast "Dare to Lead," available Oct. 19.

Keep Reading Show less
(Austonia staff)

Barton Springs pool will reopen on Saturday after being closed since late June due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barton Springs and Deep Eddy pools will reopen this Saturday on a modified schedule after being closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keep Reading Show less