• Forum/Server Upgrade If you are reading this you have made it to the upgraded forum. Posts made on the old forum after 26th October 2023 have not been transfered. Everything else should be here. If you find any issues please let us know.
  • Please Note - Medical Advice

    Please keep in mind that posts on this forum are from members of the public sharing personal opinions. It is not a replacement for qualified medical advice from a veterinarian. Many illnesses share similar symptoms but require different treatments. A medical exam is necessary for an accurate diagnosis, without which appropriate treatment cannot be given.

    You should always consult your vet before following any suggestions for medication or treatment you have read about. The wrong treatment could make your rabbit worse or mean your vet is unable to give the correct treatment because of drug interactions. Even non prescription drugs can do harm if given inappropriately.

    We are very grateful to members who take time to answer other members questions, but please do be clear in your replies that you are sharing personal experience and not giving instructions on what must be done.

    Urgent Medical Advice: If you need, or think you might need, urgent medical advice you should contact a vet. If it is out of working hours phone your vet's normal number and there should be an answer phone message with instructions on what to do.

What to do for this poor rabbit


Young Bun
Our rabbit is approx 5 1/2. until recently, she has always been healthy. She is by herself after losing 2 partners, as we have decided not to get anymore rabbits. Compared to the other two rabbits we have had, she has not been as friendly and was the passive rabbit, preferring her partners to any human attention, but she has always been really easy to look after and has always loved her food. We wouldn't overly handle her and we let her have free run of the garden and she would run into her hutch when we chucked her pellets in there, so we didn't have to chase her often. She would eat grass all day and would also eat any veg and also hay(as long as in with her bedding). She is litter trained. If we did pick her up to groom her and give her a check over, once caught she would let us without any problems.

A few weeks ago, we noticed she was off her food a little and her poos had become a bit small, so we took her to the vets and we were very surprised when they said she was very impacted and ill. We started medication and she just got really stressed with this and stopped eating. Back to the vets and more medication, fibreplex and recovery food (she spat out the latter). The vet decided that she should start staying with them for the day, so we had a week of dropping her off in the morning and picking her up in the evening so she could be put on a drip as well as force fed. They did xrays and could not find any underlying issues.

We had her home for the weekend and she ate a bit the first day and then just stopped and passed hardly anything. We took her back sat morning and the vet suggested we could take her to "Vets Now" who cover emergency evening and weekend, but it would likely cost £1000 plus they would want money up front. Obviously that wasn't an option. We force fed her as advised, but she was clearly in a lot of pain.So on Monday the wanted her in again every day to start the same regime.We explained that we were worried about managing this again. As well as the stress to the rabbit, it was difficult for us to manage as a family because I am home educating 3 children with special needs, plus I don't drive. I was having to get a cab there with the rabbit and 3 children each day. Though, inconvenient, you do what you can for a pet, but the problem was we would be waiting in the waiting area for up to an hour which was tricky and I am sure all those dogs barking was driving her crazy. The vets are good in that they don't rush appointments, but they really do run 40-60 minutes late each time and its mad in the waiting area. The stress was also really affecting the kids. So we arranged that the rabbit would actually stay at the vets overnight this time as well, even though they do not have staff through the night.

They did xrays again and blood tests and said they just do not know whats causing the problem but don't want to give up. They said they have never had the case, where they have treated the rabbit with success and they have just get impacted again. They started a new gut stimulant called cysapride (which she is still on), which they said has only just been licenced again because of risk of side effects to humans! They said her liver seemed a bit enlarged, likely because of her starving herself but the blood tests came back fine. By Thursday there was an improvement. Friday morning she had passed lots of poo so they stopped the drip and force feeding and we picked her up in the evening. She went downhill again over the weekend. Sunday night I thought she might pass away as she sat in the corner of her downstairs run all night and would not eat at all. In the morning she was sitting there in her pee. So we took her back to teh vets that day (Monday). I expressed my concern that it doesn't seem like this rabbit is going to get better and obviously we cannot keep up the current regime for the rest of her life. It was agreed we would keep her at home this week and bring her back tomorrow (sat) to discuss what to do next. We were reluctant to force feed again because I am sure its caused her more pain as well as stress and it stops her eating completely, so we have just been given the fibreplex and medication. She has grazed as little grass, cabbage and dried dandelian/grass feed. She still wont touch her pellets or her favourite parsley. She may be eating hay, its hard to be sure how much because she only ever eats hat at night and wont eat it out a rack, just her bedding. She has allowed us to handfeed her dandelion and fresh grass through her hutch (which she spend more time in than out even though the door is open) but goes barmy if we come near her anywhere else. She shows no interest in the guinea pigs (who have their own enclosed run on the grass) anymore who she used to kiss through the bars.

Well, to look at her she obviously isn't right but doesn't look like she is desperately ill (i.e going to die imminently). Her poos are small, and today she doesn't look like she has gone much at all. Obviously she is going to get worse.

Behaviour wise, she is obviously very unhappy. She does move around the garden at times, but other times she just sits still. She tends to sit around in the downstairs run of her hutch which is on the patio, so I have put down pet bedding in there to make her more comfy. She has learnt to growl as well as her usual thumping, which I have never heard a rabbit do! A couple of days ago, i went out to her and she had obviously gone a bit mad in the night because her food tray of pellets and dried grass was everywhere and her litter tray out of place and thats never happened before. This evening, I just went to hand feed her some grass and she was grabbing at it like she was really hungry, but then she started growling really loudly and tried to fight me with her paws through the cage! i wont be able to let the children feed her grass anymore.

The vets have asked if anything could be stressing her, perhaps a fox. Well we have always had foxes around the neighbourhood at night so this is possible, but obviously hasn't bothered her before. We are up until late and haven't noticed any. She has had the odd frog visitor - no problems there. I wonder whether a rat could be getting in and that is what caused the scuffle in her hutch and is why she is being aggressive? We certainly haven't seen any signs of one though.

Personally, I have always felt there is something wrong with her mouth/face causing the problem since she got ill. She will eat a bit and then give up and look annoyed and when I have hand fed her grass, her face looks a bit distorted, like she is uncomfortable. But the vets say they cannot find anything. When I tried to feed her some rabbit biscuit style treats I bought to try to temp her, she mouthed them with her gums but then got really angry.They did burr her teeth both weeks she was in, just in case. The xray did show a black line across the root of one tooth and they did say maybe an infection, but only as a 'trying to come up with something' possibility.The blood test didn't show up anything which would indicate an infection.

Clearly she isn't going to cope with constant human intervention. Our last rabbit who died, had to have his teeth burred every 1 or 2 months and had no problems receiving extra human attention and affection and if it wasn't for wanting to put him back with his mate, he would have happily been a house rabbit and would just come in on his own. He was very expensive to keep because the insurance would not cover his teeth, but a lovely little thing.

Has anyone got any advise? We asked the vets about surgery last time she was impacted and they really didn't want to. The only thing we can do, is have her back in the vets next week, though unless the vets agree a deal on the price, we won't be able to afford it as her £2000 pet insurance is nearly all used up.

If she has decided to give up, do we just keep her as comfortable as possible at home, offering food and handfeeding her grass etc in between her small amounts of grazing for as long as she lives rather than restart aggressive force feeding and drips again? Or do we look at putting her to sleep? I feel awful thinking about it as to look at she doesn't look like she is ill enough to consider that yet, but if the vets are saying they have no understanding whats wrong with her, I can't see how paying out hundreds more to have her stay in again next week will do any good. Do we carry on doing what we are doing at home and having regular vet appointments and then consider putting her to sleep if she gets much more worse? If I thought this was a rabbit who could handle more intervention, I would try, but I really don't think she can. I can't bear to think of her hurting either way.
So sorry to hear of your predicament. You must feel so stressed and have alot to cope with, just want to say I admire you for all you have done upto now. Hope someone on here can offer you some advice, sadly I cannot, but wanted you to know I feel for you.
Is she on any painkillers?
Bunnies won't eat if they are in pain.
did they do any skull xrays to see if her roots are causing her pain?
Could you ask on here for a recomended vet in your area that could have a look and offer a second opinion?
Sorry your bun is so poorly. It sounds like she needs to see a specialist rabbit vet. Whereabouts are you? Someone here may be able to suggest one xx

Yes she is on pain relief too.

We are with white cross vets in Derby. We used to use another vet in Derby for a previous rabbit who had continuous burring, but were never happy with them, so changed to white cross when it opened and we were much happier with that rabbits care as well as the staffs attitude. There are a few different vets, and one in particular seems the best and he has mostly been involved in Lavenders care. They have been so keen to keep going, that we felt mean asking if we would need to consider another option soon (i.e put to sleep) but continuing the way we are just doesn't seem right and awful to say, but its up to nearly £2000 so far, so would cost us several hundred pounds a week to keep leaving her there each week for them to start the treatment over again each Monday. I guess if we brought her in and she was shockingly ill, they might suggest putting her to sleep, but she doesn't seem ill enough yet and usually they would suggest bringing the rabbit back each day for treatment. But as she has just got ill again after aggressive treatment both weeks (which they are astounded by), I cannot see how we can keep doing it.

I do partly wish we hadn't started force feeding her as advised after the first vet visit, as she just didn't seem ill until after we started that. I think the treatment has just been too stressful for her and I wonder if she would have picked up on her own if we had just given her medication without the recovery feed at that point.

They have now mentioned a specialist in Birmingham, but I am worried about the cost implications as well as the difficulty getting Lavender there and back.

The second time they did Xrays, my husband said they did several Xrays of her skull, the only thing they could see was the black line on one tooth, but they said they only mentioned it because they are looking at everything. They weren't worried about it and blood tests didn't show any infection.
Post a thread on rabbit chat asking for a recomendrd vet in your area.
Hope they can have some answers for your gilry xxxx
Your vet may be able to send the xrays and blood results to the specialist, so they won't need to repeat some tests. If you take her to the specialist then hopefully you'll know what you're dealing with and can discuss treatment options and the potential costs.

I don't know of any in the Derby or Birmingham area, hopefully someone else can advise xx
Will see what the vet says tomorrow. If she is impacted again which I suspect she is, then I think we will be looking at having her put to sleep soon (would want it to be pre-planned so kids could say goodbye first) unless they can come up with anything other than keeping her in again as it would be week 5. I would be prepared to pay (as long as not ridiculous) for the tests already done to be sent to a specialist to see if they can suggest anything if that could be arranged quickly, but I would not be prepared to pay to keep taking her all the way to Birmingham or to have an operation at this stage etc and I don't want to change vets at this point and am not unsatisfied with their care (other than waiting times). they have been sympathetic about us juggling appointments around the kids etc and kept the rabbit over night last week even though they wouldn't usually do that.

She isn't a young rabbit, so although it seems unfair that she has become ill, I don't want to put a 6yr old rabbit through much more or pay hundreds of pounds out when it doesn't look like she will be able to get better. Feels awful though.

My husband has just brought her in to try syringe feeding her before we leave her for the night. She fought it but got a bit in her. We have to be out very early tomorrow morning for a few hours, so she wont be able to be let out on the grass or be hand fed grass for a while, so we thought we would try to syringe feed her tonight at least.Then we will take her to the vets late morning.

I am wondering whether it would be possible to keep going as we are rather than put her to sleep, ie keep her on medication and try our best to get her eating and moving and keep her comfortable and wait for her to die on her own or whether it wouldn't happen like that and she would just get more and more sick until we had to rush her to the vets to be put out her misery on the spot which would be awful for the rabbit but also for the kids if my husband isn't home and I had to take them all with me. In which case, I am wondering about making that decision sooner rather than later.

When we saw the vet on Monday, they wanted her to stay in for the week again, but we said no as we weren't sure it was in her interest as well as the financial implications. Them my husband carefully mentioned about 'letting nature take its course' but had to be careful as our daughter was there. The vet said, as it was the 4th week, it looked unlikely that more aggressive treatment for another week would be the better option, so we decided to keep her home and push her to exercise and graze by herself. Obviously, my husband can discuss it with the vet properly tomorrow,but I don't know if the vet meant 'keep her home although she could die' or 'put her to sleep if she doesn't pick up'. I guess i would prefer it if the vet suggested putting her to sleep as an option rather than them offering to keep having her in each week. If they told me it was normal to take this long to treat statis, then I would carry on, but they have been clear that its a frustrating mystery, so I feel like I am having to come up with the decision myself.
Hi, So sorry to hear about your rabbit's problems. Do you know who the specialist vet in Birmingham is? Is it Marie Kubiak at Manor Vets? If so, she's my vet and she really is excellent. I travel 45 minutes across Birmingham to see her, and if anyone can work out what's wrong with your rabbit I should think it would be her. I used two other vets before and didn't have any reason really to be unhappy with them, but Manor Vets and Marie especially seem to be in a different league and are no more expensive.

I just wanted to say that I live in north east Birmingham and if there was anything I could do to help you get your rabbit to the specialist vet, if that's what you decided to do, I'd be more than happy to help in any way.
One of may rabbits has pasturella and we have been going through the same agonising dilemma as you over the past couple of months. She will be finishing a 7weeks course of antibiotics and fruesimide this week. The vet says shes also got farmers lung aswell so has been given steroids for that aswell. Though she seemed to be getting better after the last lot of steroids 2 weeks ago I fear she is getting worse again. The vet has suggested getting her a nebuliser face mask thingy but am worried that this will just distress her more. Taking her to the vets is expensive and OH is saying that I cant keep going on financially and I should just let nature take its course and stop treating her.
Your rabbit is obviously unhappy with all the handling and examinations and maybe it is best to leave her quietly. Try and keep giving her metacam for the pain and tempt her with food. Even though you dont want to get another rabbit I was wondering if maybe you could 'borrow' a rabbit from a rescue to see if she picks up and copies the other rabbits with eating etc.