GI Stasis and sudden death in a young rabbit

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by sarahmerri, Nov 8, 2018.

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  1. Nov 8, 2018 #1

    sarahmerri

    sarahmerri

    sarahmerri

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here but have been reading for a long time. I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this but in need of some support and guidance as don't feel we've got many answers from the vet and am wracked with guilt that we caused our poor bun's death in some way.

    Theo was a 17 month old french lop. He was not neutered as we were worried about the risk of anaesthetic. We'd built him a custom made shed and spent several hours each day with him. He ate a diet of nuggets, timothy hay, kale and treats such as herb drops and carrots. He was vaccinated against myxi/rhd1 - the vet said he didn't get rhd2 as there had been no cases in our area and was considered low risk as was only ever in our garden - we didn't wear shoes from outdoors into the garden as we had separate shoes for this.

    Last Saturday night he became unwell around 8pm and died at 2.30am. Before this he was completely well - on friday morning I'd texted my partner telling him Theo was having the time of his life as he was sprinting around the garden, binkying and exploring everywhere. I just don't understand what happened. If anyone can shed any light on what they think might have happened below I'd be very grateful as we are literally devastated. The vet thinks what happened at the end may be paddling as the brain was deprived of oxygen but we don't understand why this noise happened twice and he appeared fine inbetween. Also don't understand what could have caused him to deteriorate and die so quickly.

    Saturday night
    7pm
    Seemed well, hopped around the lounge, ate a bit of paper.

    8pm
    Was sat in the kitchen hunched up. Refused his favourite herb drops when offered (normally he goes crazy for them). Followed me outside when I went to check the droppings in his hutch but then just sat in the grass hunched up. Didn't want water or any kale offered. Respiratory rate was increased. Tummy felt soft. Whilst we were checking his teeth he passed 3 normal-ish looking stools (maybe a bit smaller than normal).

    8.40pm
    Contacted the emergency vets - they advised to bring straight down. We were there by 9pm. The vet examined him, his temperature was normal, chest was clear and tummy soft. Nothing to see in his mouth, ears or eyes. She thought most likely a gut stasis and gave us metoclopramide, ranitidine and recovery sachets. She gave him an injection of meloxicam whilst we were there.

    10pm
    Returned home. He nibbled on bits of kale but seemed to be struggling to swallow. He'd been for a wee on the towel in his carrier on the way back. We gave ranitidine and metoclopramide. He continued to sit hunched up. We debated whether to put him outside in his usual hutch but it was cold and there were fireworks (close to bonfire night in the UK) so decided to keep him inside in his indoor hutch - he'd been in there before over winter when it had been icy.

    12.30am
    Still sat hunched up and was now grinding teeth. Was trying to give the recovery fluid but he was struggling to take and was mostly dripping down his chin. He tried to eat kale/hay but was just biting and not swallowing. He kept shifting positions slightly as though he was uncomfortable. He'd only passed a few very small stools since we'd got home. I phoned the vets back and spoke to the nurse - she said we needed to try harder to give the recovery fluid and that bringing him back would likely only cause more stress.

    1.15am
    He was still much the same and was still struggling to get recovery into him. He was grinding his teeth less so I decided to sleep - he was only a few metres away.

    2.10am
    Woken my a loud banging as though he was kicking or running around the cage. My partner got up to check on him and he was just sat still again by the time he got to him. He stroked him and he appeared settled so he got back into bed.

    2.30am
    The same loud noise but this time we heard the water bowl being kicked. My partner was with him in seconds. He was laid on his side kicking as though he was trying to run. He lifted him out the cage to allow him to run but he immediately fell on his side and continued to kick. A few moments later he went limp with his eyes open. I held him and massaged with a towel but it was clear he'd passed.
     
  2. Nov 8, 2018 #2

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

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    I am so sorry to hear this. I have no idea on what could have happened, and I wish I did. Try to focus on the good times you had with him and not the end. He was very lucky to have you as an owner
     
  3. Nov 8, 2018 #3

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

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    Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, it just happens. Without a necropsy there is no definitive answer and he'd still be gone. We've had a couple that were fine in the morning and gone in the evening with no signs of anything being wrong. So sorry for your loss--we know how big a hole it leaves in our hearts.
     
  4. Nov 8, 2018 #4

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    For a sudden death like that it's not going to simply be due to GI stasis which is generally a more prolonged illness over several days. Bloat could cause sudden death, as could heart issues or RHD 2, and a few other health issues, but without a necropsy there is no way to know for sure what the definitive cause is. My biggest concern would be if RHD 2 is the cause.

    I'm very sorry for the loss of your bun, and I know how upsetting it is to watch them dying and not be able to help them. It sounds like you did all you could to help your bun.
     
  5. Nov 8, 2018 #5

    sarahmerri

    sarahmerri

    sarahmerri

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    Thanks all - I know there'll never be a definitive answer, just wondered if anyone had any similar experiences. We couldn't bear to put him through a post mortem so had him cremated the next day. Worried if RHD could be a cause as we're thinking of getting some rescue buns and I couldn't bear the same thing to happen to them. If we clean with chlorhexidine will that kill any left over virus? I've read up about rhd2 but the vet thought he'd have had signs such as fever or bleeding, so said it was unlikely but I just don't know what else to think.
     
  6. Nov 8, 2018 #6

    Popsicles

    Popsicles

    Popsicles

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    From RHD2 cases I know of there is usually bleeding from the nose and mouth etc, so it’s unlikely but could be possible/rare strain.
    As for disinfecting the environment, it is supoosedly susceptible to household bleach, so that should be enough to kill he virus, and the virus is also studied to survive less than a month if not in organic material, so I would think you’ll be okay. I agree with your vet that where caseloads are low vaccinating isn’t always strictly necessary, but it might be worth considering in the future, as the spread of disease is so sporadic. I wouldn’t feel guilty about your bun, it seems unlikely to be RHD2 to me, and could likely be any number of hidden illnesses. I’m so so sorry for what you went through it must have been very distressing, but thinking on the past won’t help at all. Rescuing a new bunny is always a great way to heal the hole left behind <3
     
  7. Nov 9, 2018 #7

    majorv

    majorv

    majorv

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    Enteritis is a possibility. It can take a rabbit within a day and, unfortunately, rabbits tend to hide early symptoms, sometimes until it’s too late. If you use your rabbit’s belongings with another rabbit, it’s important to disinfect everything.
     
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  8. Nov 10, 2018 #8

    jamesewaller

    jamesewaller

    jamesewaller

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    greatest of condolences,-quite a lengthy explanation,-this is one of the many levels of grieve-we all experience.-the dvm did not take a radiograph-it may have helped diagnose..gi stasis means everything stops-{no poops},-the dvm gave gut mobility,pain,and antacid,and a fluid.{-subQfluids??}-when prey animals have a problem-they hide it-to the point of dying-,because in the wild a predator takes advantage of this weakness,--there is a lot to know about our little fury friends,-keep studying as they are worth it,-sincerely james waller for joseph r cottontail/bdenium rip
     

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