[NAFEX] eating rabbits and tularemia

Dr. Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Mon Apr 11 10:26:14 EDT 2011

Domestic rabbits pose almost zero risk of harboring or transmitting
tularemia to humans who may handle or process them.
You're at much greater risk of being infected by receiving a tick bite
courtesy of your roaming pet cat or dog bringing them into the house than
you are from dressing and processing domestic rabbit carcasses.  
For instance, in a 1998 tularemia outbreak in South Dakota, 79% of infected
persons reported tick bites; none reported any contact with a rabbit.

While I've harvested as many of the destructive little cottontails as I
can(they wreaked havoc on my blueberries and hickory seedling beds last
winter), I'll admit that I probably should wear gloves when dressing them
out, but I still do them bare-handed. 
Being a veterinary pathologist, I always give at least a cursory examination
to any and all entrails I remove.  I suppose that if I saw the
characteristic liver lesions in a bunny I'd just dressed, I'd probably
contact my physician - or at least let my wife know that if I became
seriously ill, to make sure that Dr. House and crew knew about that
exposure, so that they could skip the first half-dozen or so

Louis L. "Lucky" Pittman, Jr., DVM
Veterinary Pathologist/Section Head
Murray State University
Breathitt Veterinary Center
PO Box 2000, 715 North Drive
Hopkinsville, KY 42240
Office: 270-881-3442

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Michele Stanton
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2011 8:11 AM
To: 'North American Fruit Explorers'
Subject: [NAFEX] eating rabbits and tularemia

I have thought about eating some of our surplus rabbits, but was under the
impression that Tularemia (which can be contracted through handling wild
rabbits) was a significant enough issue in the Midwest that I have avoided
direct contact.

Thoughts, anyone?


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