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View Full Version : Why did my rabbit die so suddenly?



catatonic
21-02-2005, 12:22 PM
My partner and I are both pet lovers, we have 4 cats a dog and some tropical fish and up until today a beautiful white lionhead rabbit called Dylan. We bought Dylan from Pets at Home, he looked so frightened and lonely we just couldnt leave him in the store. Admittedly he wasnt planned, but very much loved and wanted and ended up in our home around about the middle of January 2005. We bought him a large hutch and we let him out of his hutch at least twice a day and he had the run of the house under close supervision. He very much liked the cats and dog and they got on very well together (he often followed the cats most places). We fed him rabbit nuggets and a mixture of fresh veg that was cut to a size he could manage. His hutch was changed every other day and his poo was cleaned twice a day and he always had fresh water. We researched looking after rabbits extensively and did everything we could to benefit his well being as we do with all our pets. He passed away today and he was only 16 weeks old. We dont understand how he could have died?

Bertie
21-02-2005, 12:27 PM
Sudden deaths are quite common in bunnies bought from a large petshop chain. A lot of the bunnies are too young to be away from their mum or in poor health when they leave the shop, or just too inbred for their own good. I'm very sorry for your loss, and I'm sure you must be feeling awful about it, but a lot of these bunnies die through no fault of their new owners.

One thing that can be a problem with young bunnies, is too much fresh veg. They have very sensitive tummies and it can be a good idea when you first bring them home to keep them on hay and water, with a little probiotic, until they've settled in. They're very sensitive to stress, and being away from mum, dumped into a pet shop and then being moved again into a new home can be very traumatic for them and can lead to complications in their digestion.

Did you notice any soft poo about the place, or any hardness to his tummy, or any wetness/stickiness about his bottom?

[Admin Edit: No company names please :) ]

haffyj
21-02-2005, 12:28 PM
oh no thats terrible!!!
I am so sorry to hear this
I haven't got any advice on why this would have happened to you i am sorry!!

have you contacted the shop

Admittly (Spelling?!?! sorry left my head at home in bed!!!) they are not everybodies favorite place.....

catatonic
21-02-2005, 12:49 PM
He did have a bit of soft poo, but whenever he had something like that we would just keep him on his nuggets. his poo was ok. He didnt seem stressed, he was very playful especially with the other animals. He was a completly different bunny than the one we got from pets at home, he was no longer shy or frightened as he was then, he was playful, curious and very happy. You can tell when a pet is unhappy and he certainly wasnt so... I just dont know. I knwo when we got him from pets at home he was in a bit of a state, his paws were yellow, they used sawdust for litter (which got tangled in his fur) and he was very frightened and thin. But after a couple of days being here he brightened up a bit. Even last night he was still hopping around following the cats bright as anything.

Bunnyboarding
21-02-2005, 12:55 PM
Hi there,

Sorry to hear your news.

Unfortunately rabbits can & do die sometimes with little or no symptoms as they are particularly vulnerable at this tender age. It could easily be coccidiosis or even environmental stress which can happen to anyone now matter how well reared/cared for the babies are.

However unfortunately, the likelihood is greater for any rabbit that starts life via the pet trade/in a commercialised envirnoment. This can also be for obvious reasons like the correct care was not provided prior to your purchase, higher risk of infections from these pet places or even too many people looking at them & picking them up & sudden or incorrect or sudden change of diet.

You would be better off going to an reputable animal charity or even a reputable breeder (if you want a specific breed) to minimise the chances of this happening.

As has been said the particular pet chain you mention has a notorious reputation.

Chin up. :wink:

Bunnyboarding
21-02-2005, 01:04 PM
PS. He didn't go on the grass did he yet? (that can cause fatal problems in domestic rabbit youngsters more commonly before 4 mths.

Going back to the pet store subject, the problem can also lie with the pet trade breeder/suppliers that have an exclusive contract with these stores (ie. they buy from the same people not from anyone else). For theses pet trade suppliers to make any kind of money they have to produce a high output of rabbits, which means cutting corners & taking them away from mum too early etc etc.

You don't know what the rabbits have been through prior to arriving with you.

At least you had provided him a caring home for him in his unfortunately short, life.. you must try to take some consolation in that at least. :cry:

Tahra
21-02-2005, 01:06 PM
That is such rotten luck, especially since you're obviously a good bunny(animal) person ! Hopefully it wont put you off having someone else when the time is right :wink:

bunnylove
21-02-2005, 01:09 PM
hi there catatonic,

i would say the same as bertie, the rabbits from that store are not look after properly in most cases and because your bunny was from a store there was no way of knowing the exact age of your bun or what it was feed on.

young buns are prone to stomach problems and stress, when they are from a pet shop they have been probably taken from there mum too early and feed on one thing, then moved to a pet shop and feed on something else, then moved to a owners house and feed on something completetly different and introduced to veg..... this is just stress, stress stress to a young bun.

bunnys need to be introduced to vegtables very slowly.

did you get a post mortum done?

i am very sorry this as happened to you and the best advise i can give if you were thinking on getting another buns is stay on the forum and learn more about them, you will get some brilliant advise and knowledge here.

take care

Eve x

Kerri C
21-02-2005, 01:40 PM
So sorry to hear of your loss, he certainly sounded as though he had a good life, even though it was short. Please dont be put off getting another bunny as it sounds as though you are a very caring person, and there are so many unwanted bunnies on the rabbit rehome site just aching for someone to love them. :cry:

SOAD
21-02-2005, 04:25 PM
I am sorry to hear your news.

Betty
21-02-2005, 04:39 PM
So sorry to hear about your bunny, it must have been a dreadful shock.

At least he had a nice life with you and not sitting in the pet shop waiting for a home.

Betty

bunnytales
21-02-2005, 04:54 PM
Oh Dear - I'm so sorry to hear about your loss - this must have been a terrible shock for you - its always bad enough when a bunny is ill and they pass over but when it's sudden you just end asking yourself all kinds of questions.

I can only echo everything already said really but you did give this bunny a loving home and well done you for doing so much research into care as well. This won't be easy but eventually the pain will ease if only a little and you'll remember your little bun with love and smile and loads of affection.

Binky Free little one.

Bertie
21-02-2005, 04:59 PM
Adult bunnies are a lot easier to care for, so if you're all set up now to keep a bunny and you haven't been too put off, you should definitely consider rehoming an abandoned bun. A bunny can live to a ripe old age, so missing a year of it's childhood isn't as huge a chunk as you might think. An adult bunny will be settled into its personality, so you know what you're taking home with you, will probably already be neutered and vaccinated, will be easier to litter train, and already grown to full size, so no horrible shocks in buying a dwarf and coming home with a French lop. And the best thing about bunnies is they never stop being cute. An adult bunny will still have huge floppy ears and over-sized feet.

By rescuing a bunny you'll free up space for another bunny to be rehomed, and you'll have an expert at the rescue who's only a phone call away if you have any worries or problems. I'm not trying to go for the hard sell, but it seems like you really did care for your bunny and it would be a shame to be put off by one bad experience.

nicolar
21-02-2005, 06:42 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss. About eight years ago when I first started keeping rabbits I got my first pair from Pets at Home (not knowing then what I know now!!). My little boy Pepsi died suddenly after only 2 weeks. He had a few soft poos the day before but being inexperienced I didn't know what this meant and he weas still sprightly. But next morning I found he had died overnight :cry: . I was very upset but realised he had prob caught a bug in the shop as when I rang them they said a few buns had passed away from a tummy bug.

I can only echo what everybody else has said above, it's hard to know what caused it but you sound like you did everything for him. There are lots of bunnies in rescue if you haven't been put off and want one in the future :) Lots of adult buns just desperate for a home and somebody to love them.

I know how hard this is but chin up, and think of those good few weeks you had with him :)

Nicola

Maaike_Butter
21-02-2005, 08:31 PM
So sorry to hear about your loss. :(

The only way to know why your bunny died, really, is by having a vet perform a post-mortem on it.

Again, I'm sorry :(

Marlene
21-02-2005, 08:37 PM
I feel so much for you and the loss of Dylan. How very very sad. Most folk on here have gone through a loss like this and we understand how you are feeling. We are here for you

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v432/Marlene_154/angel.jpg

Rspca Medway
21-02-2005, 08:41 PM
I'm so sorry to here about Dylan. The trouble with buying rabbits/animals from pet shops some do interbreed to keep stock levels high.

You sound like you done everything right and gave him a good loving home although for such a short time. Just think that if he had an underline problem he might of died in the store, so although it was a short time at least he knew he was loved. :cry:

If you are going to get another rabbit i would suggest you go to an animal shelter or a good breeder, at least you know they would have been health checked and some vaccinate, i know we do.

Once again my heart goes out to you x

NicolaB18
21-02-2005, 08:47 PM
So sorry for your loss.

Thumper Sends His Cuddles & Licks to Ya! x

Bunnyboarding
21-02-2005, 10:21 PM
So sorry to hear about your loss. :(

The only way to know why your bunny died, really, is by having a vet perform a post-mortem on it.

Again, I'm sorry :(

Hi Maaike,

Unfortunately PM's don't always give the definitive answer with a situation like this as a vet was explaining to me once...very often one of the few things a vet can report is that there is 'gas build-up in the intestines' which would occur after death anyway.

In some cases there is a significantly different-looking organ or other finding , but the vet reckoned that rabbit PM's usually don't tend to show anything too significant.

What could be carried out though, (I think it needs to be done within 24hrs) is a coccidial count to determine how high the levels of coccidia are (coccidia occur naturally in all rabbits but elevated levels could suggest that this is the cause of death/coccidiosis).

Maaike_Butter
21-02-2005, 11:06 PM
Oh, thanks for that, Cheryl! I guess it's a more indicative procedure on dogs & cats. My only experience with doing PMs is in sheep, so...:?

We had a few talks on PMs and I was under the impression that counts/analyses such as a Coccidia count would be done when the PM was done? Am I incorrect?

The main reason I said it is because none of us will know why a rabbit we've never seen dies...

Bunnyboarding
22-02-2005, 12:21 AM
Yep you're right it is done after the PM. :D

catatonic
22-02-2005, 10:10 AM
After everything Ive read on this website, Ive sent an email to BBC's Wtachdog programme. I explained everything thats happened and refered to some of the stories on this website. Hopefully this will add weight to any investigation they may have or might be planning.

luvabun
22-02-2005, 10:40 AM
Good girl!! Keep us posted if you get a reply

Toby
28-02-2005, 12:28 AM
Sorry to hear about your loss. I know how you feel as I have a young Rabbit a few years ago now (bought from a pet shop) that just died out of the blue. We found him the next morning with a bit of straw in his mouth...its like he died eating. These rabbits are very sensitive and not as easy to look after as stated.

LurcherGirl
28-02-2005, 12:46 AM
Sorry to hear about your loss. I too had my first bunny from Petsmart (now Pets at Home) six years ago. He died after just three days...


but the vet reckoned that rabbit PM's usually don't tend to show anything too significant.
Not sure how valid this quote is. I had a pm done on Toby, my harlequin lop, he died from acute liver failure.
And Apollo, that had an emergency operation died from a liver problem too (something very complicated).
In both cases, if the pm/op had not been done, they would have "just died" within 36 to 48 hours for "no particular reason".
I will always have post mortems done on my rabbits unless I know what the reason is or it is related to old age.

As mentioned above, there are many reasons why bunnies die suddenly with apparently no symptoms... it's a good idea to contact Watchdog. This happened six years ago as well when they actually did a show about Petsmart...

Vera

catatonic
28-02-2005, 07:26 PM
Thanks for all your support, just to keep you updated on a few things. Dylan has been laid to rest in our back garden, we planted a tree where he is burried. The tree will have a white bloom in the summer to remind us of him as he was all white and furry. We have decided on getting 2 rescue rabbits since there are so many in need of homes and we have a big garden for them in summer and a large 2 story hutch with loads of treats that shouldnt go to waste so hopefully we should be making a posting soon on our new additions to our family! :D

Bertie
28-02-2005, 07:32 PM
That's great news. I'm sure you'll get a lot more support from the rescue too, and as much background knowledge on the bunnies as they have. Hopefully you'll have a better experience this time.

Kerri C
28-02-2005, 10:15 PM
Thanks for all your support, just to keep you updated on a few things. Dylan has been laid to rest in our back garden, we planted a tree where he is burried. The tree will have a white bloom in the summer to remind us of him as he was all white and furry. We have decided on getting 2 rescue rabbits since there are so many in need of homes and we have a big garden for them in summer and a large 2 story hutch with loads of treats that shouldnt go to waste so hopefully we should be making a posting soon on our new additions to our family! :D

Thats brilliant news - im so glad you have decided to get another 2 lucky bunnies. Cant wait to see the pics - we all LOVE pics!! Mine are buried next to their favourite apple tree, looks lovely when it all blossoms and always reminds me of them.

Bunnyboarding
01-03-2005, 12:33 AM
Sorry to hear about your loss. I too had my first bunny from Petsmart (now Pets at Home) six years ago. He died after just three days...


but the vet reckoned that rabbit PM's usually don't tend to show anything too significant.
Not sure how valid this quote is. I had a pm done on Toby, my harlequin lop, he died from acute liver failure.
And Apollo, that had an emergency operation died from a liver problem too (something very complicated).
In both cases, if the pm/op had not been done, they would have "just died" within 36 to 48 hours for "no particular reason".
I will always have post mortems done on my rabbits unless I know what the reason is or it is related to old age.


Vera

Hi Vera,

This is what several of the vets i have worked with have told me & as i said they often have just seen gas in the guts. This includes a chap who is specialist in rabbits & 'exotics' & has additional qualifications in this field.

I've seen a few rabbit PM where the casue of death is unknown & there was no conclusive evidence of anything much!

Not saying that this is always the case, but just a mere generalisation.

For example, white pustules on the lungs of a Pasteurella-infected rabbit have been known to be found upon PM, & bit of surprise when the owner/vet could not determine the cause of death just by the symptoms! Just an example.

Does that make any sense (sort of?)

:D

catatonic
02-03-2005, 06:32 PM
Newest members of our family arrived yesterday, twins from a rescue centre!

Dewi

http://www.aowf73.dsl.pipex.com/Dewi.JPG

and Daisy

http://www.aowf73.dsl.pipex.com/Daisy.JPG

:D

Tamsin
02-03-2005, 06:38 PM
Aww, they are lovely, congratulations :D

Tam

Kerri C
02-03-2005, 06:56 PM
They are adorable, the lion-head is gorgeous!! :D

LurcherGirl
06-03-2005, 02:59 AM
Sorry to hear about your loss. I too had my first bunny from Petsmart (now Pets at Home) six years ago. He died after just three days...


but the vet reckoned that rabbit PM's usually don't tend to show anything too significant.
Not sure how valid this quote is. I had a pm done on Toby, my harlequin lop, he died from acute liver failure.
And Apollo, that had an emergency operation died from a liver problem too (something very complicated).
In both cases, if the pm/op had not been done, they would have "just died" within 36 to 48 hours for "no particular reason".
I will always have post mortems done on my rabbits unless I know what the reason is or it is related to old age.


Vera

Hi Vera,

This is what several of the vets i have worked with have told me & as i said they often have just seen gas in the guts. This includes a chap who is specialist in rabbits & 'exotics' & has additional qualifications in this field.

I've seen a few rabbit PM where the casue of death is unknown & there was no conclusive evidence of anything much!

Not saying that this is always the case, but just a mere generalisation.

For example, white pustules on the lungs of a Pasteurella-infected rabbit have been known to be found upon PM, & bit of surprise when the owner/vet could not determine the cause of death just by the symptoms! Just an example.

Does that make any sense (sort of?)

:D

It does make sense. My friend had a rabbit that died and a pm showed absolutely no reason for it! So you are probably right.

However, as in both my cases, the pm brought a reason to light, I will always have pm done on rabbits (and some of my other animals). I have had three pms done - 2 rabbits and 1 cockatiel - so far and they have all come back with a positive identification of the problem. Although that doesn't mean that the CAUSE of that particular problem is known, ie. we were never able to establish the cause of Toby's acute liver failure...

Vera

sophiebun
07-05-2005, 07:56 PM
I'm so sad for you and your bunny. It may have been genetic, you'll probably never know without a necropsy.

Please think about adopting another rabbit after you've mourned. And please adopt your new bunny from a rabbit rescue. Pet shops are notorious for having ill animals. I'm sure it was nothing you did, or could have done differently. At least she was in a safe loving home for part of her short life.

bunnyhuggger
07-05-2005, 09:50 PM
I'm so sad for you and your bunny. It may have been genetic, you'll probably never know without a necropsy.

Please think about adopting another rabbit after you've mourned. And please adopt your new bunny from a rabbit rescue. Pet shops are notorious for having ill animals. I'm sure it was nothing you did, or could have done differently. At least she was in a safe loving home for part of her short life.

She did, the pics are on the last page :D

mini lop1
07-05-2005, 09:54 PM
they r sooo cute!

lisa

Diddeen
08-05-2005, 09:34 PM
Hi there.. sorry to hear of your loss of Dylan.. he sounded such a sweetie.
Your two new bunnies are gorgeous.. i hope they settle in quickly and enjoy their new home with you :D

HS
08-05-2005, 10:08 PM
oh, they're lovely. Lucky them to have found a forever home.
My first rabbit, Flopsy, died suddenly aged 18 months and I never found out why. She was from Pets at Home.....
I've planted a rose tree on top of her burial place, and when Patch died, I planted one for her too. It's a permanent reminder of them.
Flopsy
http://www.hslanguageservices.com/flopsy.jpg
Patch
http://www.hslanguageservices.com/patch.JPG


Enjoy your bunnies!

5cutebunnies
08-05-2005, 10:19 PM
lovely new buns :love: so cute

lizardgirlkelsey
19-08-2009, 05:48 PM
in your picture it is showing how your rabbit is eating lettice! lettice is dangerous for rabbits. it will (but if your lucky the times he/she ate it didn't get gas) get gas and that is deadly for rabbits. my recommended treat is parsley: not fatening, low calories and you can feed thenm to rabbits that are overweight. you can also feed them small carrots, little bit of banana. those are safe. i wouldn't over load the banana though.

*Spider*
19-08-2009, 05:51 PM
I am so sorry about beautiful Dylan. Atleast with you he wa in such loving care and he died loved.
Congratulations on your new rabbits :)

Snowberry
19-08-2009, 06:03 PM
This thread is from 2005!

cillcill
18-04-2011, 03:45 PM
I am very sorry for your loss i have two male rabbits but these are some reasons why I think he died

1.He could of suffered a disease called flystrike and is often very fatel it happens when flys get on to the rabbit and lay its eggs in just a few hours those egss hatch into maggots and eat the rabbit alive.
2.i read that you fead him nuggets and fresh veg.As far as i know you are not supposed to feed rabbits nuggets mabe he had a heart attack
3.you could have been feeding him to much

hope this helps!!!!

GrahamL
18-04-2011, 03:47 PM
I am very sorry for your loss i have two male rabbits but these are some reasons why I think he died

1.He could of suffered a disease called flystrike and is often very fatel it happens when flys get on to the rabbit and lay its eggs in just a few hours those egss hatch into maggots and eat the rabbit alive.
2.i read that you fead him nuggets and fresh veg.As far as i know you are not supposed to feed rabbits nuggets mabe he had a heart attack
3.you could have been feeding him to much

hope this helps!!!!

You've just opened up a thread that hasn't been posted on since August 2009. :wave:

Might be worth while checking the dates :)