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Just lost my gorgeous boy unexpectedly. Everything is going wrong


Alpha Buck
This is has turned into a bit of rant. Sorry..

Utterly heartbroken right now and I have no one else to confide in. Since losing our Mum a year and a half ago I've noticed how little anyone else cares about rabbits. Even those who try to be sympathetic don't realise just how important they are to my brother and me, as they also were to our Mum. And nothing hurts more than a loss that's come too soon and out of nowhere. Especially when it's your fault..

This Monday I took our beautiful teddy bear boy Cody in for surgery on an ear abscess. We'd known it would need doing for a few months but it wasn't immediately urgent and he had no symptoms from it. It took a long time to scrape the money together too as it was a very expensive surgery for us but we finally did it. It was with our most amazing exotics specialist (in no way was any of this their fault, they have been truly exceptional) but it meant having to get into the city without a car. Neither my brother nor I can drive. To go by taxi would have been about £140+ so I chose a middle ground. The plan was taxi to the train station, train to the city then taxi from there.. Except it went wrong. When we got off the train, which Cody managed remarkably well overall considering, it turned out there were no taxi's at all that could take us the rest of the way. I called so many companies and only one out of them even picked up after multiple calls. I was told there would be nothing all morning. I tried to find a bus route but couldn't find one that seemed to go that way (I've never used a bus so I dont' know if I did it wrong).
Google maps said it was 16 mins so I thought okay, that's not terrible, I'm not great at walking (I have endometriosis and suffer from severe pain daily) but I can do that if I take it slow.
I got it wrong.
It was 16 minutes by car. The whole walk took just over 2hrs. I was virtually collapsing in agony and had to go slow and take breaks. I was nearly passing out and extremely nauseous. It didn't help that I went wrong twice. It was still dark (I'd left at 5am).

The biggest problem of it all though was that it was a very loud city road that we were walking along. Had it only been a short distance I don't think it would have been too bad, but Cody had to listen to that for 2hrs.
After dropping him off at the clinic I went to the supermarket and sat there for a few hours before getting a call. Cody had gone into cardiac arrest after they'd put him under (apparently he had been stressed but had calmed enough to be eating before the surgery). They'd managed to get his heart going again but he wasn't breathing without the ventilator. I think they said they worked on him for 40 minutes but it just didn't work. They never even got started on the surgery.
I feel wholeheartedly responsible. If I'd found another way to get him there he might have been less stressed and this may never have happened. I feel like I killed him.
I wasn't keen on taking the train but couldn't see how else to do it. I should have just taken a taxi all the way even if it was £140.
They did say he had different anaesthetic drugs this week to last week when he had his x-ray and dental (very brief, just a mild spur) but I don't think that was the cause.
He was healthy, happy and bouncy before. I should never have taken him in.
I truly can't believe he's gone. He was so incredibly healthy and bouncy and full of life. I genuinely never thought there was a chance of him not making it as he was too healthy. He was only 7 1/2 and full of life.
I really feel like I've killed him.

To make things worse we only lost our beloved Snowflake back in September. She's fought very long and hard through severely advanced dental disease (far more dentals in the last year than I could count, she'd lost a good amount of her teeth to extractions in the end) and renal failure from EC. Right up until the end she was so happy and had such a passion for life. I've never known a rabbit fight so hard as she did. She had such a will to live right up to the end. She was only 7 herself.

Then back in February we lost our precious Honey in the most traumatic way. We never did find out what happened. I'd had laparascopic surgery for endo 2 days before so hadn't been able to spend much time with the buns. I just went to see her and she collapsed right next to me. I panicked and called for a taxi to take us to the vet and the stupid taxi never arrived. It must have been the better part of an hour. Her breathing was getting worse in that time and she suddenly threw her head back and gasped and her heart stopped. I tried for ages to do cpr whilst frantically trying to find a friend to give us a lift but ultimately it came to nothing. We never knew what happened and still haven't processed it. Aside from her getting a cataract about a month or so before there was no indication she was sick. She was even younger, only 6.

In less than 11 months we've lost three of our most precious family. All not long after losing our Mum too. No one seems to really care. I was branded 'self centered' for being upset two days after losing Honey by a family member. I was also in agony at the time from surgery but he still felt it was a good time to pull me apart and tell me to 'deal with it as I chose to have the rabbits and animals die'. He said many other nasty things to me downplaying my illness and pain I was in.
On top of that we're now facing potentially being thrown out of our home due to the same family member who will be inheriting 1/4 of the house suddenly deciding he wants us out so he can either sell it or rent it out for profit. He has the money to buy our portion out. We barely have enough money to even survive. We only have one meal a day and can't afford heating at all. Our share would not be anywhere near enough to buy another home.

Everything is going wrong and I don't know how to hold it together. We've gone from having our 9 rabbits to having 6 in less than a year. They are my entire world and only reason to live.
It's one thing if they're old and they've had a long life. If they've been declining for a while and you know that it's coming.
But Honey and Cody were entirely out of nowhere and such a shock. As far as I knew both were healthy and had many years ahead of them.

Out gorgeous Cody

Precious Snowflake (old photo top, 2 months before losing her below)

Sweet fluffy Honey
Oh my goodness, I am so sorry for your loss. I doubt the route taken to get Cody to the Vet had any impact on the tragic outcome. It is far, far more likely that he had a very bad reaction to the specific GA used. The Vet would not have gone ahead with the GA if Cody was not clinically stable. His heart, lungs, temperature and blood pressure would have been checked. As he was eating his previous stress from travel had clearly resolved.

Whilst none of the above changes the tragic outcome I hope you can stop blaming yourself for Cody’s death. I am pretty sure it would have occurred even if you had taken the taxi. Rarely an individual Rabbit ( or any animal/ human) will have a fatal reaction to a specific GA. A tragedy that could never be predicted or prevented.

I am sure that you feel completely devastated by your losses and the fact that few people around you have the sensitivity to acknowledge that fact just adds insult to injury.

There are no words that can take away your grief and nothing will make the losses any easier to come to terms with. But self blame is, IMO, unjustified. Although I know from experience it is usually what we do when faced with an unexpected and untimely loss.

People who cannot accept that Rabbits are part of your family and not ‘just Rabbits’ are to be pitied really. They obviously lack a valuable quality- compassion. Let’s hope they never find themselves in a situation where-by they need compassion and no-one offers it in any shape or form.

RIP Cody :cry:
Thanks Jane.. I really wish I could belive it. But I can't help but feel that if it hadn't been for the walk his stress levels would have been lower.
If I'm remembering right he'd had 3 other GA's before this.. His neuter when young, a dental about 4yrs or so ago, the xray/dental last week and then this one.
I just can't help but feel I did the wrong thing. If I hadn't booked the surgery he'd still be here. Maybe I should have left him longer? He had no symptoms at all.
I just don't know. He didn't deserve this. He was such a precious little thing and far far too young :cry:
I'm just so very sorry to hear that you have lost Cody, and also for your other losses. Please don't blame yourself, but easier said than done I know. Sending you a big hug xx
I agree with Jane re the morning's stress not being the cause.

I too have lost a rabbit to GA and it's a really hard loss to deal with. Similar to your loss, it was surgery that could have waited which makes the grief and guilty harder to bear. Shadow was having his incisors removed. We could have elected to continue burring them. He had had a GA previously for his neuter, so I wasn't worried. I know his loss hit the vet very hard too - in her 40 year career she had never lost a rabbit during a dental, until that day. It turns out he had a liver abnormality, so the anaesthetic just overwhelmed his liver.

I can also empathise with the toll of losses, I lost 10 in a one year period, about 50% of my rabbits. I seriously turned off my emotions during that phase as it was the only way to survive.

I hope you will forgive yourself over time as you were not to blame, you were just being diligent and caring rabbit owner.
Thanks Jane.. I really wish I could belive it. But I can't help but feel that if it hadn't been for the walk his stress levels would have been lower.
If I'm remembering right he'd had 3 other GA's before this.. His neuter when young, a dental about 4yrs or so ago, the xray/dental last week and then this one.
I just can't help but feel I did the wrong thing. If I hadn't booked the surgery he'd still be here. Maybe I should have left him longer? He had no symptoms at all.
I just don't know. He didn't deserve this. He was such a precious little thing and far far too young :cry:

It could be that it was a different drug used or a different dose. I 100% believe that there would have been just as much of a chance of an adverse reaction regardless of how he was transported to the Surgery.

Did the Vet offer to do a PM ? Sometimes quite severe lung abscesses can be found in Rabbits showing no outward signs of illness. Give that he had a chronic ear infection, infection elsewhere would be more likely. Today me and my Vet were discussing a spay she did a few years ago. The Doe was under a year of age and on examination was 100% well. She had no history of respiratory tract infections or any other illness. Shortly after being put under GA she stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. Great efforts were made to resuscitate her but to no avail. My Vet was so shocked and so upset that she did a PM ( the Doe was in Rescue Care and the Rescue OKd this). The PM revealed that both the lungs were riddled with tiny abscesses. An apparently 100% healthy Rabbit had lungs which would have barely functioned.

It is absolutely tragic when this sort of event happens. But often there is no-one to blame Not that, that makes the loss any easier to bear :cry:
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He definitely had different drugs this time, the vet told me that. They didn't specifically offer a PM but I'm certain would have done one if I'd asked. But to be honest I couldn't bear the thought.
They did say they're going to have a team meeting and discuss everything, look into the drugs and previous cases where an interaction may have been noted etc but I know they did everything correctly and it's 100% not their fault. It's an exotics practice and the vet doing the procedure has looked after our buns for a few years now, she's one of the leading rabbit experts in the UK and a gold RWAF vet. I have 100% complete trust in her and the whole team. They have been truly incredible over the years. Their knowledge is second to none and they have been incredibly kind. The only consolation in all of this is that I know with absolute certainty that he could not have been in better hands.

There is a chance he may have been a carrier of EC as we have/have had other confirmed EC positive rabbits in the house. But was not displaying any symptoms at the time. He had a really bad time when he was about 2yrs old when he became severely thin and had stasis, 2 days after we lost our poor Maple to strongly suspected EC (lost use of her back legs, became incontinent, stasis etc and passed overnight at the hospital). Where we used to live we were never offered testing for EC so no tests were done back then to confirm.
Snowflake also had EC and one of our other girls Jazzie has repeat episodes with incredibly high numbers when she has an active infection. She's just been restested yesterday as she's losing weight again (8% since last seen in March) though is otherwise well in herself. She's been put on a month of panacur while we await results. But we do keep a very strict disinfecting protocol with her because we know she could be contagious at any time.

It's really tragic to hear about that poor doe. And oh wow Bunny Buddy, that is truly horrific. I am so incredibly sorry for what you went through. I can't even imagine :cry:
I’m so very sorry:cry: I am sure none of this was your fault and you were doing the best you could for him. Sending hugs xx

Binky free at the bridge beautiful bunny xx
So sorry you are having such a rough time.

I would definitely get some legal advice on the housing situation (eg Citizens Advice). You can't usually be kicked out of a home, especially one you have equity in. You can't be made to sign it over to anyone, either.
I’m so sorry you have lost Cody and are having such a difficult time. Please do not blame yourself about Cody. You did your best for him.
I am so sorry for your losses. Losing our beloved pets unexpectedly can often leave us questioning everything. What if....?? You gave your bunny friends wonderful lives and as others said vet would not have done surgery if your bunny's stress was not under control.
We all know people who do not realize bunnies are part of our families so they lack compassion.
Please accept my condolances on the loss of your mom, honey, snowflake, and cody.
What a heartbreaking loss but so not your fault, in any way. You're clearly devoted to your bunnies. I'm sorry :(

Sweet dreams Cody xx
So very sorry for your losses and your present position regarding your home.

I too lost a bunny completely unexpectedly and it is so heartbreaking.


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