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The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet.  It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

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Forum RAINBOW BRIDGE Please help me. My heart is shattered.

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    • Shereenie
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      Hello All,

      I have never made a post like this before in a forum and am unsure how it works so please forgive me. I am going through a horrendous time as most rabbit owners do when they’ve lost their loved one. My little Kuma passed away on March 15th and I am afraid it’s all my fault. Two weeks ago little Kuma was showing signs of discomfort and pain. We took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with a bladder infection. We were told to give him antibiotics for 10 days. By the 10th day Kuma seemed to be doing a lot better…almost entirely healed except his poops seemed a bit mushy still. Also, he was NOT drinking any water or eating any food despite displaying his normal behaviors like grooming and gnawing on his cage to ask for walking time. I was scared and desperate and knew that iceburg lettuce is mostly water so I gave this to him and he devoured it. I knew it had no nutritional content but I figured the point was to get water in him. So when I noticed he wasnt drinking water by the 5th day after 2 whole days without water, that’s when we gave him the lettuce. I did not know iceburg lettuce is bad for rabbits ((please be kind to me…I am a first time rabbit owner who would never intentionally be negligent or harm my rabbits (Kuma and Mochi)). We have given it to them before and never had problems. I called the vet on the 10th day after treatment to ask if it was okay to let Kuma back outside again with Mochi (my rabbits are outdoor rabbits and have enjoyed every moment of it– especially Kuma). I told the vet my concerns about Kuma seemingly almost entirely better but just not eating or drinking anything but the lettuce and grapes I gave him (grapes were the 9-10th day…I was DESPERATE to give him SOMETHING with nutritional substance since he wouldn’t eat pellets or hay..he devoured the grapes without hesitation). The vet obviously told me that the grapes and lettuce weren’t the best for him and so he told me Kuma was just acting like a kid and eating the grapes because they are sweet. The vet then told me to force Kuma to get hungry because if he was actually better…he would eat it. I immediately removed the lettuce and any grapes I had left and by the end of the day he drank lots of water and ate some hay. However on the 11th day he seemed a little off (but still drank some and ate some) but by the 12th day it was almost like a 24 hour turn around. It was like he was back to square one. That morning my brother found him already passing away in their rabbit hutch. Little Mochi was there resting by Kuma when my brother found him. We rushed to get him to an emergency vet but little Kuma passed on the way there. My brother says he felt like Kuma was waiting for him so that he could finally say goodbye to his humans before he let go. Kuma really trusted my brother and would even groom my brother’s hands so I am glad he could be with him in his final hour. I am devastated because I feel this is all my fault. From reading another post I think Kuma may have passed of GI stasis despite being seemingly fine the day before. I’m going through so much pain because I’ll admit we didn’t encourage a strong hay diet in our bunnies because they refused to eat it for some reason when we first got them– they absolutely refused (they often eat the natural foliage from outside which I think they developed from the person I got them from when they were 3 months old. They’ve been backyard bunnies their whole lives). I told the vet that I didnt give him much hay during his treatment but the vet seemed pleased when I told him Kuma and Mochi normally eat the foliage from outside. In all the years I’ve had them they had never had any dietary problems and now all of a sudden this occurred and I feel devastated. I cant stand the idea of possibly being the one who was responsible for his death– with the lettuce, with the loose hay diet…I did everything I thought I could do. This March 20th Kuma would’ve been 5 years old. He was always so happy to be free outside and to have loved Mochi so much. I am so heartbroken. I am looking for reassuring words to help me during this time because I’m also dealing with the anxiety and the possibility of Mochi developing depression and I am going through so much pain. I apologize for this being so long…any help is greatly appreciated. SO appreciated. I’m so devastated. I miss my little Kuma so much. I’m sorry my little Kuma.


    • Bunny House
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      I’m so sorry for your loss, it’s hard to loose a bun, especially when sick.

      When a bun doesn’t eat for more than 8-12 hours, it’s an emergency and they must be take to a vet. A bun will need to be force fed critical care and given fluids every couple of hours for days until they are back to normal, it’s a very intensive process to get them back to normal.
      I can guess he died from dehydration and having no food in his stomach for 9+ days, the bad bacteria produced so much gases that it ended up causing the liver to fail which caused the death.
      In the future, if a bun doesn’t eat for 13 hours they should be taken to a vet to get X-rays to make sure there isn’t a blockage and to be force fed and given fluids and pain meds until better. It seems like your vet wasn’t rabbit savvy so I would try and find a rabbit savvy vet for future emergencies. Many people don’t know how serious this, especially if you don’t have a vet who knows about rabbits, they can’t be treated like dogs. And until you’ve gone through it, at least you know for next time what to do, I know it’s not too reassuring but I hope this helps you for the future.

      I’m sorry again for your loss, make sure you spend time with the other one to make sure he’s doing okay.


    • Shereenie
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      I’m sorry. I suppose I wasnt entirely clear because I didn’t mention that Kuma did eat a little bit of things like some carrots and some banana (his favorite things since the vet told us to give him his favorite things to eat) but it’s true… it wasnt very much. I think it was those things that sustained him the ten days. The vet is labeled as a rabbit specialist but I didnt see the signs. I thought Kuma was getting better despite eating minimally…I didnt know anything about critical care…I feel so stupid. I’m so stupid…My kuma seemed fine in the end….he was eating so minimally but I thought he was getting better…is it really my fault? Did I fail him? I’m so sorry my Kuma…my Kuma ??


    • Bam
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      I’m so very sorry you lost Kuma.

      Your vet doesn’t seem rabbit savvy. I don’t believe Kuma was acting like a kid, I think something else was wrong with him. Rabbits should never be starved, if they don’t eat at all for more than 12 hours, their GI tract can shut down (GI stasis) and the liver stop working due to un-processed fatty acids released from the bun’s fatty tissue. This condition is known as hepatic lipidosis. Not all vets know about this. It can be very difficult to find a good, rabbit savvy vet. The advice you got could’ve worked on a dog, and many vets primarily treat dogs and cats so they don’t know much about rabbits.

      There’s no way of telling if Kuma would have made it if you had had a more savvy vet, of course. Almost everything that goes really wrong with a rabbit will first manifest as inappetence. Kuma could have had an illness that didn’t show – rabbits are expert at hiding illness. To diagnose a rabbit, bloodwork is the best thing because rabbits can be very ill and not let on a thing.

      I hope you and Mochi can comfort each other. You both need each other extra now. To prevent Mochi from going into depression, you should spend as much time as possible together.

      Btw, iceberg lettuce isn’t toxic to rabbits. It’s a myth that it kills rabbits. Do not blame yourself.


    • Three Little Bunnies
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      I am so sorry for your loss! I hope Mochi isn’t depressed. Definitely spend lots of time with him so he isn’t lonely.


    • Phil
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      Sounds like vet didn’t do enough tests rabbits must eat plenty of fiber not too many sweet treats what caused bladder infection if their in pain they don’t eat as normal should have given critical care to keep gut moving, never give iceberg lettuce it toxic for bunnies so sorry for your loss.


    • Shereenie
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      Thank you both much for your kind words. I’ve taken this loss very badly…I use almost every excuse to blame myself even though everyone says not to. I feel like I should’ve known better…pushed for better vet care…just… everything better…but I know that won’t bring my little one back. After the advice of the vet I did let him walk around (after removing the lettuce and grapes) and it was only 30 minutes later that he started eating some hay and drank a lot of water….I suppose this is why I felt he was okay…that the vet’s advice was okay…so I’m struggling to keep a strong voice in my head as a reminder that if I had known better…I would’ve have done everything in my power to do better.

      Right now I’ve been watching Mochi closely outside. She seems to be acting like her regular self…she has shown a few signs of aggression/confusion (like gnawing on her hutch gate despite not being locked in it and searching the backyard like she is looking for Kuma a bit which could be me projecting…but other than that she seems like her usual self…I’m just not entirely
      sure if she knows he’s gone or not. She was with him DURING his passing although not after. So I’m not sure if she got her closure. Although she’s bonded with Kuma she’s always kind of been independent so I’m not sure if this is her way of moving on or if she just hasn’t realized it yet. I’ll be watching her the rest of this week to see. I often go outside to check on her and try to engage with her so she doesnt feel lonely but she usually just smells me to identify it’s me and then walks away. I feel I am not really of any comfort to her which has always been the case so I’m not surprised. I am just worried about the following weeks…like maybe depression/realization doesnt hit in a week (although I’m inclined to think she is definitely already aware of his absence– but maybe just not a permanent one). I just want to be the best owner I can be for her since she’s all alone out there for large chunks of the day normally (with the exception of this week since I’ve been out there with her).

      Some people mention possibly buying a rabbit stuffed animal for her. I feel she is the type to sniff then ignore the toy but what do you all think? Should I? Your kind words and advice are always appreciated.


    • Stormypet
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      I lost my bunny of 2 years on the same day as you & I am grieving so much. Didnt work for two days. He came down with floppy bunny syndrome. I dont know what caused it but it was just horrific. Last Thursday, I syringe fed him water & mushed up food all day. I figured as long as we got food and water into him, he would make it. Like PP said, Bunny’s have to eat & drink constantly. I am so so sorry about your loss. It is the worst thing.


    • Shereenie
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      Hi Stormypet,

      I am also so sorry for your loss. It is really tough and I too have been a grieving mess. I am grateful there is a community here that understands and doesn’t judge us for loving our little ones so much. I keep trying to remind myself that I could have done everything perfectly and things still could have not gone the way I hoped. We can be strong here together.


    • Tanya
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      I am very sorry and I can feel your pain, I lost my bunny today, although I did a lot of research I missed one thing (6 months vaccination instead of yearly as vet in the clinic wrote in the papers) and one of my bunnies is gone. It’s always possible to do things better and I feel very guilty too. But I think we need to focus on moving on and not make the guilt destroy you: death has too many Aces and we can always overlook something… it’s sad but you just can’t control everything. Sending you a hug!


    • Tanya
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      8 posts Send Private Message

      I am very sorry and I can feel your pain, I lost my bunny today, although I did a lot of research I missed one thing (6 months vaccination instead of yearly as vet in the clinic wrote in the papers) and one of my bunnies is gone. It’s always possible to do things better and I feel very guilty too. But I think we need to focus on moving on and not make the guilt destroy you: death has too many Aces and we can always overlook something… it’s sad but you just can’t control everything. Sending you a hug!


    • Shereenie
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      5 posts Send Private Message

      Hi Tanya

      I’m sorry for your loss truly. It is so painful. Every day gets a little better, even if I feel I take two steps forward and one step back. I will always hold on to the fond memory of my little Kuma. I hope you find some comfort in knowing your love for your rabbit is what should overcome any guilt. I am still struggling with the self guilt and the self blame…but I’ve come to realize that I cannot honor my little one if I am cruel to myself. There is always something else I could have done differently…there will always be an endless cycle of “If only I had done…” but even if we do everything we think is possible…even that is not always “enough”. I’m coming to terms with the idea of our time here…humans and animals alike…as fragile and limited. We can only just do our best with the resources and knowledge we have available to us and make the most out of our lives. Thank you for your kind words. I’ve been struggling with this idea of control…we cannot control everything– just like you said. I am trying not to let the guilt destroy me so that I can be stronger. I still have one little rabbit to be concerned about and it’s not going to hurt any less when I one day lose her, but at least I know I’m better prepared and can love my rabbit more openly with the knowledge that her time here is temporary. I feel in this way I won’t take her life or my love for her for granted. Thank you for replying to my thread and for the hug.

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Forum RAINBOW BRIDGE Please help me. My heart is shattered.