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Title: My Dwarf Rabbit Died And I Dont Know Why

Tanya - October 8, 2004 01:36 AM (GMT)
:( Iam wondering if maybe you can help me...I had a dwarf rabbit, he was 3 years old. Last Wednesday I noticed that he wasn't acting like himself, not eating or drinking, very little movement, had his head down a lot. I hand fed him food and water. The next day he seemed as if he was a little bit better, he was eating a little and drinking. Friday night came along and it looked as if he was having a seizure, the right side of his face tightened up so that his eye would almost close, then he would straighten out like a board and shake. He only did this once...I kept a close eye on him all night hand feeding him water and food, It didn't happen again. Saturday came, he was drinking quite a bit but not really eating much. No more seizure like attacks had happened all day, but he didn't move around much. That evening, he had another attack so I rushed him to the emergency clinic, on the way there he passed away.

Iam so devastated, we loved him so much, I called him my boy. This had happened so quickly, he didn't show any symptoms, has never been around any other animals nor was he on any medications?

Please help me find out what had happened to my boy :(

Robyn - October 8, 2004 03:27 PM (GMT)
As you've discovered, rabbits can get really sick, really fast. They hide that they are sick until they can't. He may have had problems but you couldn't see them. The only way you might learn what killed him would be to have an autopsy done. I had one done on one of my buns once. She was fine one week and stopped eating. The vet said it was a digestive problem. Then, she gasped for air and died just like that. The autopsy showed she had advanced pasteurella tumors in her lungs and other organs. She had been terminal from the day I got her from the wild (a domestic dwarf let go by an irresponsible person a year earlier).

Whenever a bun stops eating for more than two days, it should be taken to the vet ASAP. If a bun does not eat or drink for that long, he/she has to be fed from a syringe with liquidized hay-based pellets and give subcutaneous fluids via lactated ringers administered through the back (I'm doing that now for my poor Izzy who can't easily drink anymore). Death from lack of food in the digestive tract and dehydration comes quickly. Possible reasons for a bun to stop eating include pasteurella, cancer, or more likely, a digestive problem. They can have blockages from hair or food, bacterial enteritis, or many other problems. My buns have had it all! What did your bun have to eat? Did he get hay? If you haven't seen my bun pages at you might want to read them over, if for nothing more than to know other buns have had hard times too. Seizures can be neurological or related to pasteurella or dehydration among other things. Anytime a bun has a seizure, it should see a vet ASAP. Epilepsy is not common; it's usually something much worse.

Your boys death was not your fault. Something was seriously wrong with him. There's a good chance that a vet could not have saved him. I know it's hard, never knowing for sure what happened. Try to remember the good times and know that he knew you loved him and did the best for him.

Tanya - October 10, 2004 01:44 PM (GMT)

Thanks for your reply, we gave him Timothy Hay so I dont think it was a hairball. I had been constantly hand feeding him food and water as soon as I noticed that he wasn't eating or drinking. I check on him every morning before work and as soon as I get home, thats when I noticed that his water and food had not moved since the morning.

We had burried him last Sunday night not thinking to get an autopsy done. Unfortunately I guess I will never know. Everything happened so quickly.

We purchased an 8 week old Netherland Dwarf this past Friday, he is so cute.

At least now I know I have everything I need to know at my fingertips, I can always check on-line, and I also have great people like you that I can ask questions and get a reply.

Unfortunately we were very uneducated on Rabbits when we had snowball. I have been on so many websites since he has passed away trying to find out what had happened, now I am much more educated on what to look for and how to care for them.

Thanks for your help!

Robyn - October 10, 2004 10:59 PM (GMT)
You might also want to feed your new bun papaya tablets to aid digestion and prevent hairballs. I get the ones made by Oxbow. I also feed Oxbow timothy-based pellets and Oxbow hays. Since shipping is a lot from their state of Washington, I now order these for less from

Good luck with your new bun!

Bryon Jones - March 13, 2005 06:30 PM (GMT)
I am a lionhead rabbit breeder and I know to keep my rabbits in tip top shape and as a preventitive measure, I make sure to give parasite removers, a slice of papaya with a little bit of hairball remover on top. If your rabbit tends not to eat and drink for a day or 2, in most cases it is a hairball. I agree with Robyn, if this happens get the rabbit to a vet asap. But try the papaya thing once a month for 3-4 days in a row. It has prevented my long haired rabbits from developing any hairballs.

Terra - March 24, 2005 08:01 PM (GMT)
I just read Robyn's Bunny pages and I think something might be wrong with the location of her cages. Bunnies do not die as frequent as your bunnies do and it sounds as if all of your pets are sick. I have a 10 year old dog, a 7 year old dog, a baby bunny and a 4 year old bunny and none of these pets have been sick a day in their life. They are all indoor/outdoor pets except the baby bunny who has a cage inside. Bunnies cannot live in below freezing temperature. It lowers their immune systems and they are very capable of getting colds. My cat just died of old age- he was 18 years old and he never once visited a vet for being sick. Please look into this before you get anymore pets, I think your animals are sick for a reason...

Robyn - March 26, 2005 12:59 AM (GMT)
I agree that too many of my animals have been sick. Some of it's bad luck. Perhaps it's our water (we're near a landfill but our well is tested often). Rabbits absolutely can live in frigid temperatures. My father used to raise rabbits in sub-zero temperatures in Colorado and many people keep their buns outside. My buns have it pretty good I think. If you look at each rabbit's problem case by case, it's mostly things that were out of my control: breast cancer in an unspayed rabbit (common), pasteurella (common, Ellie was in the wild a year before I found her), and Izzy's problem which we're not sure of why it happened but not because she was outside. The intestinal problems my buns had were perhaps partly my fault for feeding too many yummy veggies instead of mostly pellets but they just love them so much. Except for Izzy, I personally did not get any of the rabbits I've cared for. The baby we have my mother bought on impulse without consulting me. She is still inside until it warms up. None of my buns have ever had actual colds or problems in winter (mostly in summer as they can tolerate cold more than heat). Most of my animals have lived at least as long if not longer than the average person who has that species. I do admit things tend to go wrong for me and those I touch but I don't know what to do about that. I don't get more animals; my mother does. We had a dog live to 18; I think that's pretty old! Izzy is an 8-year-old bun. Tootsy, a cat, lived to 17 (he was diabetic and indoors; not sure how that's my fault; I kept him alive the last 3 years with twice daily insulin injections and subcutaneous fluids spending $10,000). I devote all my time, money, and energy on my animals so it does offend me when someone says I don't care for them right or made them sick. If that were true, I would kill myself right now. I have 17 animals (not including those associated with my tanks and ponds) right now. Of those, three animals are in bad shape, even dying but they're all old. A few others have problems but most are healthy, for now until the bad luck and whatever powers are trying to destroy me and those I love come into play.

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