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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 DIET & CARE Rabbit Passed Away – What did I do wrong and next steps?

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    • Mirth
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      My rabbit (neutered, Male, Lionhead, 4-5lbs) passed away 3 weeks ago and I’m absolutely heartbroken still. He was 6 and a half years old and I had him for 6 of those years. He passed away due to GI Stasis; he was fine at 10am and ate his morning pellets, I went to work, noticed he wasn’t eating at around 5pm (his 4pm pellets nor his 4:30pm green leaf lettuce) and I got him to the emergency exotics vet (which is recommended by our local rabbit shelter) by 6pm. They removed 30-40% of his stomach contents and as he was waking up he died of “shock”; I guess like a heart attack at around 10 or 11pm.

      He was bonded with my other rabbit who is now alone. I have an appointment with the rabbit shelter to have her go on bunny dates this Sunday because I don’t want her to be completely alone but in my mind I’m absolutely terrified of getting another rabbit and failing him too, even though I absolutely love(d) both of mine. I see rabbit owners whose rabbits live 8 -12+ years all the time and it makes me feel like I failed him and cut his life short. He was my best friend…

      I’m just afraid I’m doing something wrong. I thought I following the diet guides properly but there has to be a reason why he died. They are both the same size/weight, so I feed them each 1/8 cup Oxbow timothy pellets three times a day, 1 cup of green/red leaf lettuce two times a day, and they have unlimited timothy and oat hay. I used to change up the variety of greens so it would be green/red leaf lettuce and every week I’d mix that in with either kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and sometimes cilantro/parsley as a treat. But my male bunny would get gas issues about 4 times a year so I recently just kept it to green/red leaf lettuce which didn’t help because now he’s dead. The girl bun has only had one GI Stasis scare in the 3 and a half years I’ve had her in which I took her to the ER vet and they saved her.

      What do I need to change for when I adopt a new rabbit to make sure he can live his full life as well as my current female bun???


    • pinkiemarie
      Participant
      372 posts Send Private Message

      I’m sorry that happened 🙁 Rabbits are beautiful pets but also very fragile and you didn’t necessarily do anything wrong. They can take a turn very quickly. You took him to an emergency exotic vet and that was the right move.

      In the future I recommend watching every meal so you know immediately if someone isn’t eating like normal. I also would keep baby simethicone and critical care on hand in case you are ever unable to get to a vet for any reason. Make sure you’re as bunny proofed as possible and try to keep brushed, especially during a molt. But unfortunately they’re still bunnies and they are sensitive, some more than others. One of mine has never had stasis, one has had it once and my little man has had it FOUR times already and he’s only 4 years old.

      Again I’m really sorry this happened but you got to the vet as soon as you knew there was a problem so try not to blame yourself. You did the right thing.


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6519 posts Send Private Message

      I’m so sorry for your loss. 🙁

      It sounds like you didn’t do anything wrong, but the treatment at the ER sounds unusual. Did they say he had a blockage? Was the vet on staff there at the time rabbit savvy (ER vets usually have a rotating staff of vets)?

      In any case, please don’t beat yourself up. It sounds like your bun had some chronic  GI issues, which often indicate some other congenital problem. Often when a bun has something very serious wrong, it presents like a common issue, and then the bun “crashes”. We all hope our bunnies will live to be seniors, but the fact is we really never know how long we will have with them, even with the best care. You did well to keep him happy and healthy for 6 years, it sounds like it was his time, for whatever reason.

      I  keep a bunny first aid kit with simethicone for gas, fluids, critical care, a thermometer, and pain meds (from my vet). Sometimes when a bun is a bit gassy or maybe in some other GI discomfort, a dose of simethicone or some hydration is enough to get the bun doing better without a trip to the vet (of course I only do this before we enter “emergency” territory). But in this case I don’t think that would have changed anything, because it sounds like something more serious was going on with him.

      Again, I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you and your other bunny can be of some comfort to each other while you are grieving.

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Mirth
      Participant
      8 posts Send Private Message

      Thank you both for your kind words and advice.

      To @pinkiemarie:

      In the future I recommend watching every meal so you know immediately if someone isn’t eating like normal. I also would keep baby simethicone and critical care on hand in case you are ever unable to get to a vet for any reason.

      Thank you. I do have a camera in the bunny feeding/eating area which I check while I’m at work, which is how I knew he had eaten his morning pellets.  I did give him simethicone when I got home and he wasn’t eating his afternoon feeding, but something felt off this time as his stomach felt hard (normally when he has issues it feels bloated/enlarged) and he was almost like, paralyzed laying flat with his legs stretched out and not moving. He did eventually get up to run to a corner and do the same thing. I figured I needed to let the experts handle it so I brought him to the ER vet.

      Make sure you’re as bunny proofed as possible and try to keep brushed, especially during a molt.

      They both hate being brushed so I try to pet them as long as they let me to help groom the loose fur. I should have probably forced a brushing and should probably start now…. 🙁

      One of mine has never had stasis, one has had it once and my little man has had it FOUR times already and he’s only 4 years old.

      Wow. That’s comforting to me to know how different it can be for every bunny. I’m sorry that your little guy has to go through that though. 🙁

      to @DanaNM

      Did they say he had a blockage? Was the vet on staff there at the time rabbit savvy (ER vets usually have a rotating staff of vets)?

      They did say he had a blockage. I think that he maybe was not an exotics-vet? He said the exotics vet was out and would be in in the morning to take a look at my bunny after they did what they needed to do for the GI Stasis. I didn’t think much of it because it’s either a non-exotics vet at the recommended (and only) ER vet take a look at him or I take care of him which he would have definitely passed away then I would think. So I’m not sure if he died because the vet didn’t know what he was doing (based on our phone conversation it sounded like he knew what he was doing) or if nobody could have saved him. :\

      I do have simethicone and critical care and a lot of other bunny emergency care kit, and I’ve used them before, but this time I felt like it was out of my wheelhouse and would pay the professionals any monetary price to save him. 🙁

      Thank you again so much for your kind words.


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6519 posts Send Private Message

      Based on your description of his behavior, it really does sound like something very serious was going on. You did the right thing by taking him to the ER.

      Sorry again for your loss. <3

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  

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Forum DIET & CARE Rabbit Passed Away – What did I do wrong and next steps?