It’s easier said than done in a domestic household. Especially when the ill individual is part of a group of 7. Have you ever tried trying to touch just one rabbit out of a group of 7 without all the others immediately trying to clamber all over you to find out what you’re up to and to join in? Absolutely no point in wearing a plastic apron as all the bunnies get everywhere. Proper barrier nursing is nigh on impossible.
It’s very easy to get paranoid about moving the virus around, and I don’t live in a stainless steel box. I don’t know where the virus already is. It’s probably already pretty much everywhere. If it’s in the wild rabbit population (and I’m pretty sure it is, I am certainly seeing far fewer wild ones than normal), then it will be all over the garden. If it’s all over the garden, the multiplicity of wildlife will be helping to ensure that it spreads throughout our plot. And our two cats will no doubt be helping to ensure that it is also brought into our house and put all over the floors and furniture. And if it’s all over the furniture, it will be all over my clothes anyway. You see the problem?
I started by using a disposable paper suit, figuring that I could burn these along with the litter. I soon discovered that disposable paper suits and bunny teeth are not the best combinations, and while I’m sure it’s better than nothing, it doesn’t really do the trick. I have now taken to wearing an old onesie (yes, I am that person) which I can boil wash and it doesn’t matter if it fades and ruins over time. I keep it in the utility room so it’s easy to put on and take off. Again, it’s not perfect, as my utility room is hardly a stainless steel box with full disinfection facilities, but I think it’s better than nothing and at least tries to keep the bulk of any infective materials relatively contained.
On the flip side, because I suspect that the virus is all over the house and my clothes anyway, I wear a different onesie down the garden when dealing with my other rabbits. This means that if the virus is on my normal clothes, at least I can try and cover those over with a clean, boil washed oversuit when I’m attending to the other rabbits – who for the moment while I am obviously keeping a close eye on their behaviour and health, I am treating as if they are not infected, and trying to keep it that way. For the most part, I’m trying not to step into their enclosures at all, so I have moved the main litter tray and water bowls within reach of the doorways, so I can just lean in and take them out for cleaning/refilling.
Now shoes, here’s something I’ve dithered about. Where is the best place to change shoes? My initial thought – given that the virus is likely to be everywhere – was that the back door should be the main junction point, so I had a nice virkon footbath just outside the utility room door. Then I started to worry about walking a high virus load back from the infected group to the door, where it’s likely to be trampled around by me, spouse and cats. So I got out my pressurised sprayer and liberally applied virkon all around the patio area in the hope of reducing the viral load. Then I put a pair of rubber clogs (very easy to slip on and off – make life as easy for yourself as possible!) right next to the infected enclosure, along with a virkon spray bottle so I can give the bases a squirt once I’ve stepped out. This was working really well until it rained so hard yesterday. Those shoes are now really soggy and it was most unpleasant slipping on squelching shoes first thing in the morning! I still don’t really know what the best answer to this is. It really needs two changes of shoes, one change right outside the enclosure, and another back at the house. No, in fact make that three changes – another pair down at the other rabbits, just at the point of stepping into their enclosures, given that I suspect the virus is all over the garden so even if shoes are disinfected up at the house, they’re probably picking more of it up again while walking through the garden. Must see if we’ve got any of those disposable overshoes anywhere, I think we might have, that might be a better solution. You see how easy it is to get paranoid, and how hard it is to contain the virus in a domestic situation?
I have written far more than intended and you’re probably getting bored of reading it. Time for more tea.