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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 Was it all my fault? Feel terrible.

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    • thorp113
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      Hello everyone,

      Sorry in advance, long thread. Please read.

      I could really use some support and guidance from experienced rabbit owners. Long story short, my rabbit, Fuzzums, needed to be put to sleep after her 10th? Bout with GI stasis over her 6 year lifespan and I think it is all my fault. I cradled her in my arms as the vets injected her and she passed away laying on my chest. I’ve never wheeped so hard in my life. I tried so hard to save her by treating stasis on my own for the first 8 hours with metoclopramide, metacam, critical care, simethicone, tummy massages, everything. When she wasn’t improving I took her the the ER at the 8 hour mark. She spent 3 days in hospital in strict IV treatment, but it still wasn’t enough to save my baby.

       

      I feel like the worst bunny dad ever. I tried so hard to save her, but it still wasn’t enough. I am a scientist by trade so I constantly over analyze things to get to the solution. I’ve been going over every little detail about her life and what lead up to this last stasis event. I’ve convinced myself that it is all my fault and if I were a better parent she’d still be here.

      I blame myself for 2 things:

      1). Diet and 2). Grooming

      Fuzz was never a big hay eater, which I’ve known to be a problem since I got her when she was 3 months old. She’s always loved her leafy greens, pellets, and treats.

      This was her diet: Every 12 hours, usually around 9am-10am is when I’d feed her breakfast. She had unlimited access to Timothy and orchard grass hay and water.

      For pellets, she’d get a couple pinches that would usually measure out to 1/5 or 1/4 cup. I used Kaytee Fortidiet. It’s the pellets with the color pieces in it. However, I would always pick out these pieces and only feed her the pellets because I’ve read somewhere that they are bad for bunnies. Not sure, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

      For greens, I always bought her spring mix and 4 head artisan lettuce from Aldi. These consisted of romaine lettuces, spinach, among a few others. Occasionally I would also throw in cilantro. For leafy green proportions, I think I was giving her too many leafy greens, which I think eventually played apart in her stasis bouts. I never actually measured it, but it was a small handful of the spring mix and 4 to 5 leaves off the head of the artisan lettuce. If I had to guess I’d say 2  cups of leafy greens? Maybe a little more. She wouldn’t really eat it all in one sitting but rather over the course of the day until supper time.

      For treats, I would give her 1 small chunk of dried papaya (maybe the size of an m&m) along with an oxbow digestive aid supplement because she wasn’t a big hay eater and I was trying to get as much fiber in her as I could. Occasionally, I’d also give her a chunk of banana (her favorite) or a Timothy apple biscuit thing. I called them her cookies.

       

      12 hours later, at 9 or 9:30pm, she would get the identical meal. In hindsight, I think I was feeding her too many greens which was causing her to have some loose and soft stool. Maybe the greens were causing her to have too much water in her go tract, which was causing the loose stools? Think a big mass of cecotropes stuck together. Just a squishy mass of stool, but it definitely were not normal cecotropes.

      Maybe this caused her to go into stasis? Maybe she didn’t like eating hay because she knew dad was going to be dishing out the greens, which eventually lead her to not each much hay and more greens, which caused the stasis?

      This diet was pretty well maintained over the course of her life, except the treats. In the past, I fed her way more treats, but since she kept getting stasis I significantly reduced her number of treats to try and help her stay normal.

       

      Moving on to grooming, well I wasn’t very good at being consistent with it. Usually, I would notice she was shedding a lot, so I groomed her. I didn’t have a set schedule for once every week or whatever. It was just wow, you’re shedding a lot, let’s give you a brushing. She hated it, but what do you do. Fuzzums was a pretty big shedder. My vacuum could easily be filled with all her fluff on a weekly basis. However, she was great at grooming herself. If I had to guess I would probably groom her once or twice a month?

      I believe that maybe she ingested too much hair, which I failed to groom on a consistent basis, and that caused a blockage or stoppage in her GI tract. When she was at the hospital this last time, she eventually did pass stool, which was connected by hair between each stool. Unfortunately, even though she did pass stool, she still declined and I had to euthanize her. So, she definitely had hair in her tract…

      I feel like scum. I miss my Fuzzums so, so much. She was my child and helped me deal with my anxiety and stress that comes with being a PhD student. I feel she probably hates me because I wasn’t able to save her or be a better bunny parent. The house is completely barren without her presence. I constantly look for her, but she’s not there. I swear I can still hear her hopping about or chewing on something or snoring, but she isn’t there. And it breaks me heart each and every time…

       

      I feel if I brushed her more or fed her critical care in her diet regularly to increase her fiber intake she would still be here. She’d still be alive and enjoying life and all the love I would give her…but she’s not

       

      Am I to blame? Was it all my fault?


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6061 posts Send Private Message

      I’m so sorry for your loss. 🙁

      It is so so common for bunny owners to blame themselves for the loss of their bunny (myself and most of us here have dealt with this). It is very clear that you cared deeply about your bunny and did everything you could to save her.

      It’s really hard to know what happened, from reading your post, I don’t think you should blame yourself. When a bunny starts to crash, there is a cascade of problems and it can be hard to know what caused what. Fur can build up because the gut is slowing down already, or fur can cause the slowdown. Her diet may have been on the rich side, with maybe a bit too many pellets or greens, but having chronic stasis issues is very hard to deal with, and the amounts you were feeding were not extreme, and you were trying to make sure she got enough nutrition since her hay eating wasn’t great. Some bunnies have very sensitive guts and chronic issues, and we don’t really know why. It’s true that sometimes these bunnies do better on a pellet-free diet, but there can also be irregularities of the gut that contribute to chronic issues, and sometimes the intestine can even become twisted, which presents like stasis but is much more serious. There are also genetic disorders of the cecum that can cause excess soft stools (not like normal cecals), and your bunny does have the markings tied to the gene (the “Charlie” markings, linked to megacolon/cow pile syndome). My experience is that when a bun succumbs to stasis even with veterinary care, it is because something more serious is going on that caused the stasis, not just that there was an issue with the diet etc.

      You were prepared with a great bunny first aid kit and got her ER care, which is more than a lot of bunny parents are able to do.

      So no, I don’t think you should beat yourself up or blame yourself. If you feel you made mistakes in her care (I think we ALL feel like we could be more on top of grooming), all you can really do is learn from them to make sure you don’t repeat them.

      . . . 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.  


      • delilah2021
        Participant
        2 posts Send Private Message

        I know that its important, vital basically that bunnies eat Timothy hay regularly. They need the fiber that hay offers them. they also need lots of water since the hay they eat is so dry.  I was told this by two people, and breeder and my buns exotic vet. Treats need to be limited especially sugary treats. the breeder told me not the give greens at all and instead  give cilantro and fennel. Both were my babies loves! Since buns are susceptible to GI stasis because of their complexed digestive system. the sad thing about buns is they do not come with direction on how to care for them. They  really need that. I would say don’t blame yourself, I’m going through a similar thing of blaming myself too. I just lost my little love bug yesterday due to choking on pellets. It was totally horrifying to see and I tried my best to help her but to no avail she died in my arms. 😢 So again I never knew how to help a choking bunny and only found out after the fact, which made me feel even worse. My heart is broken too!😢They are such precious angels! So sorry for your loss!!


    • BZOO
      Participant
      165 posts Send Private Message

      You loved her to the moon and back, you gave her the best of care… nothing is your fault.  Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, crap happens.

      She is free now and she loves you, always know that.

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Forum RAINBOW BRIDGE Was it all my fault? Feel terrible.