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Forum RAINBOW BRIDGE Update: LOST without Bonny (11.8 years old)

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    • Bonny Girl
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      I am so distraught and have to share some very disturbing information about the loss of my sweet, innocent Bonny.  This is the only place I know that I can go to where others will understand what occurred.

      First, when I inquired with our vet as to what happened that they lost her, he told us (and in writing, per my request) that she was sedated and while they were waiting for it to kick in, she stopped breathing.  Second, In reviewing the receipt from the vet today, I saw that the sedation they gave to her was a Level III!!  I just looked up this sedation and it states the following may occur:  “The ability to independently maintain ventilatory function and a patent airway may be compromised. Cardiovascular function is usually not impaired. A state of deep sedation may be accompanied by partial or complete loss of protective airway reflexes.”

      My little girl was perfectly fine the morning we brought her to the vet for her molar trim.  I have gone back on her prior invoices and found that she was never given a Level III before.  They gave her a Level II in November and before that always a Level I.  So,  I sit here and ask what the heck?!  Why would they be increasing the level of sedation as she continued to age — she was almost 12 years old!  If that were not dangerous enough, they also gave her a valium-like drug and pain medication BEFORE the sedation.  My God, my little girl was literally poisoned to her death.  I am beside myself with anguish.

      There has not been a day without tears since 6/23.  The information above won’t make life easier.  However, if it can save one bunny, I will have some satisfaction in posting this.  The moral of this tragic event is to always ask in advance what sedation will be used during your bunny’s procedure — and to question it if you have any doubts.  I hope that no one else has had this horrible experience/finding regarding the loss of their beloved fur baby.


    • rose_bautista
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      I am so sorry to hear this.  May you find inner peace and comfort knowing that your beloved fur baby is now in the arms of our creator, safe from any physical suffering.

      Have you tried contacting your vet and ask why they had to use a level III sedation?


      • Bonny Girl
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        Thank you for your compassion.  Yes, I have contacted the vet.  I am waiting for a response to my email to the Dr. himself.  Bonny went in for her regular 3-4 mo. trim.  Based on a summary I received from the vet from another request I sent three weeks ago, I don’t believe the Dr. even saw her yet.  Here is the text of what i received from my first request as to what happened to her (before I realized they sedated her with Level III):

        “Basically when she came in she was greeted with love, scratched a bit and weighed; we did a brief physical exam to make sure nothing had changed.  After that she was given a sedative (valium like) and an analgesic, then placed in an incubator.  We don’t really let them hop around prior anesthesia to minimize excitement and also because she was blind and we had to be extra cautious with her. Once she was sedated we placed her on the treatment table in a warm water circulating pad to keep her warm during the procedure and gave her an injectable anesthetic prior to her induction. One of our nurse assistants was brushing her to remove some of her loose hair and we were waiting for the agent to kick in when she suddenly stopped breathing.”

        I know I am now probably asking too many questions to myself, as I am also wondering why they were brushing her — when rabbits hate being brushed and this is stressful to them.


    • rose_bautista
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      I did some research online to find out why bunnies are given a sedative prior to anesthesia, and it is to reduce stress and anxiety.  I also came across this article that states, “Pre-anesthetic evaluation is critically important and sometimes overlooked with rabbit patients and thus complications and death are blamed on the anesthesia rather than poor patient management”. Here’s the link if you would like to read the whole article: https://rabbit.org/anesthesia-protocols-for-rabbits/

      I wonder if brushing your bunny while she was unable to move, or see, but still feel someone touching her, caused her to become too scared and that’s what caused her little heart to stop.  The nurse did this while they were waiting for the anesthesia to kick in, so that means Bonny Girl’s body was still able to register sensations and feelings.  That is just my guess, I am not expert, but I will definitely take that into consideration next time I take one of my bunnies to the vet for a procedure that may require the use of anesthesia.  Also, they haven’t told you why they kept increasing the anesthesia level.  If I was in your place, I would want to hear the medical explanation of it.  I am sure this was poor patient management on the nursing staff’s behalf.  I am so sorry you are going through this.  It’s hard enough to deal with the emotional loss to, on top of it all, have doubts about the professionalism of your veterinary clinic staff, and just wonder what the heck happened.

      I will be praying for you and hope you find answers to all of your questions.  Do you have any other bunnies?  Are you thinking about adopting any more?  I have three right now.  Used to have four.  One of them, Lola, on my profile picture, passed away on January 29th.  She had ovarian cancer.  I adopted her too late in her life.  She had been kept in a shed being fed only corn for years, living alone, until she came to me.  When she got spayed she was about 7-8 years old.  The vet found nine cancerous tumors.  She did warn me that even though they got taken out, it was possible for it to come back in the form of breast cancer…and sadly, it did.  However, I was glad I gave her a good 9 months of happiness before she crossed the rainbow bridge.  I still miss her, and so does my bunny Bugs.  They were boyfriend-girlfriend.  Nonetheless, bunnies, and pets in general, are a blessing from God, from the universe, and the pain of losing them would never discourage me from experiencing that type of love again.  I definitely feel that I have become a better person since I adopted my first bunny.  I was 38 when I decided to get my first pet, best decision ever.  I hope someday your heart is ready to love a bunny again, unconditionally, and welcome that love in your heart.


      • Bonny Girl
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        I want to ensure I am addressing your questions, so I am also replying again.  I also want to thank you for your prayers.  First, however, I want to tell you how sorry I am for your loss of your beautiful Lola.  Boy, do I know the hurt.  Praise God, however, that she had you to show her love during her last months on this earth — what a blessing for her! Truly, truly!  Bless you!  You know — you are SO right that it is a blessing from God to give us bunnies to love.  As you said, they make us better humans.  A bunny is quite a special pet, as their quiet, gentle, loving nature pulls you right in.  As you also said, all pets given us to love are a blessing.

        At this time, we are not ready for another bunny or any other pet.  A bunny, however, would always be my first choice.  I am still grieving (probably too much).  Bonny was my 2nd bunny.  There was something quite special about Bonny.  She was amazingly, unusually intelligent and aware.  She loved myself and my husband VERY much!  I truly believe she lived to be almost 12 years old because of the deep love and bond between us.  Naturally, I know that I am not unique in the love that she was given, however, I believe she was unique in her understanding of it.  I just feel like I would be trying to replace her.  I know that is not the case, but my feelings for her are quite raw.  The void without her is definitely palpable.  She was our mornings, our afternoons and our evenings — like all of us here on this board.

        In reading your response a couple of times, I do know that myself and my husband would give love to a bunny (especially one that needs to be adopted) that might not otherwise be given to it.  Out of curiosity mostly (or maybe a heart tug?), I did look online to see where bunnies could be adopted in our area.  I could find nothing — not even bunnies at pet stores to adopt or at shelters.  We live in North Charleston, SC.  There are also no small animal vets near us — not even to allow us to take her in for nail trimmings.  We had to drive 45 minutes away to find the, fortunately, loving, understanding vet that cares for small animals.  In the end, my deep love for my baby girl will never fade.  As I end this thread, my heart is not ready for another bunny.  I just feel Bonny was so unique.  Thank you for caring!  Rose, your babies are so BLESSED to have you for their mama.  May God bless you with many healthy years with them.


    • DanaNM
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      I’m so sorry for your loss. 🙁

      I would definitely ask them about the anesthetic level, that does seem unusual. Maybe it was a typo in the invoice?

      . . . 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.  


      • Bonny Girl
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        Thank you SO much for your warm reply and informational link regarding anesthesia — which will be very helpful to many.  I am certain you are correct — that Bonny was not fully anesthetized, yet was unable to move while being brushed … and this was very stressful for her.  My heart breaks.  I only hope that having this kind of information out to others will save a bunny.  They are SO fragile and SO easily frightened.  Many a bunny has had a heart attack from fear at a veterinarian’s.  🙁

        In fairness to our Dr., I heard back from him yesterday.  I am posting his response below.  He was very compassionate, responded within just a few hours of my email and I do believe his response.  This makes me to realize that you are most likely correct about your assessment that my little girl was put through too much stress with the brushing before she was fully anesthetized.  Although I realize I jumped the gun and panicked before hearing from him, I am confident that this posting and your response will be useful to other bunny owners when taking their rabbits in for a procedure requiring them to be sedated.

        Here is the Dr.’s thorough response:

        “Good morning and I hope that both of you are doing well.

        I know it is never easy to let go but you did everything in your power to help her and of course spoiled her to the max. In our  practice levels have nothing to do with depth of anesthesia so stop googling.😉 It is how we chart the medications we used. Sometimes we do a level 4 and add gas anesthesia to it or not, most routine procedures are level 2-3. We use what we deem safe for the pet and take many factors into account.
        Using low amounts of several agents works better than using a higher amount of just one agent. So a level 1 can be “riskier” than a level 4. For dentals we need the patient fully sedated/anesthetized and also need a fully relaxed jaw tone so we can work inside their mouths. Again Bonny unfortunately passed before we began her procedure and we tried very hard to bring her back.
        Just imagine if you are ~ 100 yrs old and need anesthesia for a brief procedure, unfortunately there is a good chance that you might not pull through.
        In her case she had a bad tooth that was digging into her cheek which can become quite painful over time. Doing the trimmings allowed her to eat before the tooth perforated into her cheek and became painful or infected.
        We also miss her dearly but thrive on all the great moments we had with her and you guys throughout the years.”
        I pray this post saves a bunny.


      • Bonny Girl
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        Thank you for your compassion and replying to my concerns.  I received a reply from the Dr., and it is posted in a reply to a participant below.  My husband, like you, also suggested that maybe the invoice had a typo.  The reality is quite different, but satisfying that the Dr. did not truly anesthetize Bonny at Level III, as described on the Internet.  The participant below likely is correct (yet heartbreaking to me) as to why my baby girl passed on while being brushed.


    • DanaNM
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      6540 posts Send Private Message

      I’m glad you got a response from the vet!

      In my untrained opinion, I don’t actually think the brushing would have been the culprit, but I think it was more likely a coincidence of timing, as it coincided with the sedatives kicking in. I do agree with the vet that at 11.8, anesthesia in general would be risky, but as she was in pain from her tooth, the dental was the right thing to do.

      She may not have been fully sedated, but the valium-like medication they gave first would have calmed her a lot, so I don’t think she would have been overly stressed by the brushing. In fact, I’m guessing they give that first to help minimize stress and help prevent stress-related heart issues as they prepare the animal for the rest of the procedure.

      Again I’m so sorry for your loss.

      . . . 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.  


      • Bonny Girl
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        Big hug to you for this response — you are like an angel from God to to give me peace.  During the last couple of months of her life, Bonny had really slowed down.  She still ate, came to us for pets (and we to her), but she slept much more than than in the past.  I knew she was old and that every day with her was a gift.  Every single night for these past two months, I thanked God for another day with her.  I asked Him to never let her suffer.  I believe he answered this prayer and I am sorry to God and to our compassionate, patient, competent vet for ever questioning anything.  🙁  Fortunately, Bonny also was not in pain.  Our vet’s update (and in a face-to-face discussion with him when Bonny passed), was that he never got the chance to look into her mouth.  We ensured we were not overdue for her 3-4 mo. trim.  He just wanted us to know, however, that even given the outcome, he would have still performed a tooth trim to ensure no future pain that would result without it. Thank you for providing me with the peace that I have not been allowing myself since my baby girl’s passing.  I am ashamed of myself on top of all the pain of missing my Bonny.  This, too, shall pass.  Lessons learned. I am grateful for this forum, as I am confident “many” others have also found peace here. May the peace you have given to me be returned to you in life.


    • DanaNM
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      I think it’s very normal to question everything, feel guilt, and wonder what could have been different when we lose one of our beloved bunnies! But it’s clear you gave her a wonderful life and made the best decisions for her based on the information you had at the time. And I hope you are comforted to know that she was not in pain when she passed and was able to go peacefully.

      Hugs to you <3

      (((Binky free sweet Bonny)))

      . . . 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.  


      • Bonny Girl
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        Thank you for your validation! What a roller coaster of emotions. I believe I have found peace at last. My baby girl will live forever “in my heart”.


    • MMmm
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      I’ve just read Bonny’s story. I’m so sorry that she passed due to a possible medical malpractice. My Tootoo as I mentioned in my post also required frequent molar spur filing in her last years. Luckily she didn’t require any kind of sedation; the vet was able to just snap the Spurs directly. I would have been so worried if she had ever needed any kind of sedation on a regular basis. It’s sad that Bonny passed during sedation but we know for sure that she left in peace and pain free. I hope you could feel better if you think of it this way. Tootoo was in a lot of pain before she passed. The strong pain meds she was in helped but she definitely wasn’t comfortable.


      • Bonny Girl
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        I must apologize that I left one of my posts open so that it would appear that our vet was negligent.  I will need to update it.  I did reply in the same post to another participant about what I heard from our vet and it gives me peace.  Our vet advised that the Level’s I saw in the receipts are not equal to levels of sedation.  Although he did sedate her for every molar spur treatment, I trust that he did it with care.  However, you do have me curious as to how your vet was able to perform the procedure without sedation.  I certainly would have preferred that.  Here is his email response to me, which I accept without question:

        “In our  practice levels have nothing to do with depth of anesthesia so stop googling.😉 It is how we chart the medications we used. Sometimes we do a level 4 and add gas anesthesia to it or not, most routine procedures are level 2-3. We use what we deem safe for the pet and take many factors into account.

        Using low amounts of several agents works better than using a higher amount of just one agent. So a level 1 can be “riskier” than a level 4. For dentals we need the patient fully sedated/anesthetized and also need a fully relaxed jaw tone so we can work inside their mouths. Again Bonny unfortunately passed before we began her procedure and we tried very hard to bring her back.
        Just imagine if you are ~ 100 yrs old and need anesthesia for a brief procedure, unfortunately there is a good chance that you might not pull through.”
        I definitely have peace knowing that Bonny did not feel the sting of death.  This was literally a prayer answered from God.  I said this prayer every single night for a few weeks before Bonny passed, knowing how she was slowing down.  I praise our Lord for his lovingkindness, his mercy and his grace.  I thank Him “daily” for granting Bonny the peace that her sweet little body deserved.  I have seen a beloved pet in pain and dying with the pain.  Having seen this, I knew that I needed to pray to God to never let me experience this again.  I am terribly sorry that Tootoo was in pain.  🙁  Very, very unfortunately, this is 99% the reality of the end of a life.  The end of a beloved is brutal — it just is and it stinks totally.  May we find peace knowing that we gave our babies love every single day.  With different owners, this may not have been their life’s experience.


      • MMmm
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        It was not a standard to perform spur trimming without sedation. The vet did tell me that it was likely that they needed to sedate her. But fortunately she was very cooperative. Maybe it had to do with where the Spurs were located. Hers were on the tongue sides. Tootoo as I mentioned in my post was a shy and sensitive bunny. She would not put on a fight outside of her home. That was why she didn’t need sedation. However every time we were back from the vet visit she made sure we knew how mad she was by stomping her feet the moment she came out of her carrier.


    • DanaNM
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      Just to chime in, this is the first I’ve heard of a bun being able to have a molar trimming without anesthesia. They have 28 teeth in that tiny mouth, so to get at the back teeth they have a special brace they use to prop their mouth open, and it is very important for the bun not to move at all (so they didn’t accidentally get cut but the drill they use for filling the teeth). Often vets can’t even see the back teeth until the bun is sedated.

      . . . 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.  


      • Bonny Girl
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        Thank you for taking the time and care to respond to the many postings on the many forums of this site.  I have noticed that you often ensure that the bunny community is well educated and informed.  Your knowledge is impressive.  We are all grateful — especially as there are times that your information to us brings “peace” of mind and safety to our babies.


      • DanaNM
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        Aww thank you 🙂  Happy to help! <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 RAINBOW BRIDGE Update: LOST without Bonny (11.8 years old)