Lost Bunny to GI Stasis or Blockage

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beans142

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I know this belongs in the Rainbow Bridge section, but I need to help myself feel better by telling what happened here and having others respond with their experience.

I feel totally devastated that I lost my bunny Morty, one of a bonded pair of neutered males adopted, to apparent GI stasis. Or possibly a blockage. What really has me so upset is that I was fully aware of all the details of this situation. I have simethicone, Reglan and critical care in the house. These two bunnies had at least two or three episodes a year of apparent stasis (not eating, lethargy). I did my homework and knew everything that had to be done to try and nurse bunny through this at home. Each time, it worked. Not this time. During one previous episode, I did have bunny to the vet, learned about the disease, got sub-q fluids and Reglan, and the next day bunny was recovered!

This time, bunny wasn't eating Tuesday morning. Tuesday night I gave simethicone and long manual tummy massages. Wednesday night, he was eating again! But I failed to notice that he didn't eat much and not with his usual gusto. I did not check him out like I should, feel his belly, etc.

Thursday morning, not eating. I started Reglan, more simethicone and very long sessions of tummy massage with a electric massager that I've used before. No results. By Thursday afternoon, I noticed that what I was massaging felt like a big mango shaped area right behind his ribcage and it wasn't responding to anything I was doing. Also, the area between his hind legs was totally flat. I started thinking blockage but somehow just figured if I kept massaging, this is what I was supposed to do. Tried syringing Critical Care but he wasn't swallowing it.

Early on, I remember his stomach making really loud gurgling sounds...but I forgot that this was ABNORMAL and initially thought, "oh good, his stomach is working"...

By the time I realized it was a crisis, it was after midnight Thursday evening. I debated trusting the local emergency vet but decided against it. Morty died at 5 a.m.

I am beside myself with grief. Would anyone with any experience with treating stasis please tell me their story so I can learn. I will never forgive myself for not getting him to the vet first thing Thursday morning. However, I now wonder whether even at that point it would have been too late? Would sub-q fluids have even worked at that point? I would have declined any suggested surgery since I've read it's rarely successful.

Why didn't all my efforts save my bunny? He was my "heart" rabbit, so full of life and character. His "brother" is nothing like him, very shy and retiring. The two girls are sweet and fun but they don't have Morty's personality.

I appreciate being able to share this here and am looking for advice; I will never forgive myself because I feel I let him down. :(
 

Bunny parents

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I'm truly sorry for your loss. Although, I've never had such expirience, but I'm sure people here with help you get through this. Please don't be so hard on yourself. I know it's hard to do. Morty was happy and had a beautiful life with you.
Vircia.
 

EileenH

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I am so sorry that you lost Morty. I can share some of my GI stasis experience with you, if it helps any.

My heart bunny, Gulliver, was a big-time stasis bunny. Every 3 months or so he would have an episode; eventually I learned how to handle it at home. I lost him in February, not to stasis but to lymphoma, but I had a couple of stasis scares that I realize I was lucky getting out of.

The only way you will know if it was a blockage is to have a necropsy. My vet is big into showing her clients real-life scenarios. She showed me one day how one tiny (and I mean tiny - perhaps half the size of a pencil eraser?) hairball caused a blockage in one her clients rabbits. I don't know how you feel about having a necropsy done, but it could bring you peace to either confirm it or rule it out.

Back to stasis: one night Gulliver went into what I thought was stasis, but a really bad bout. This time I felt his stomach very bloated and he was extraordinarily painful. I went about my stasis routine and in the middle of the night, it passed and he got better. When I told my vet the next time she told me that if he really bloated, I just got a Hail Mary pass, that bloat is really dangerous and even at the vet they lose some to it.

You sound like you have a good stasis kit; the only other thing I would add is ask your vet if you could have a bottle of Metacam on hand; that is a pain medication. Pain is a big reason why rabbits stop eating and that can help them.

However, I do believe if he had a blockage you did everything you could do and sometimes we just can't pull them through.

I hope that this helps a little bit..
 

tonyshuman

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I am so sorry. It actually sounds like he had recovered from the stasis but got bloat--an accumulation of gas in the stomach. I say this because you said it was right under his ribcage. Bloat cannot be treated with simethicone, and massages actually make it worse. A number of things can cause bloat, and it was probably related to changes in his gut from the slowdown and stasis before, but you didn't know that he was suffering from that. I am so sorry you lost him. I truly think bloat was the cause and you may want to have a necropsy done to help. You couldn't have known that was what was going on unless you were familiar with where rabbit internal organs are. A vet might have been able to help, but to be honest I don't know what they can do for bloat. You were doing the very best you could with the knowledge that you had. It is certainly not any fault of yours that he passed. In the future, you may be able to recognize bloat as opposed to gas/stasis, based on the location of what is hard. I really cannot stress enough that it sounds like you are very well prepared to deal with stasis--something came along, though, that just wasn't stasis, and instead was something you hadn't seen before. I am so sorry you lost your Morty.
:bunnyangel:
 

beans142

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I just wanted to stop back here and thank everyone for their responses. I'm still trying to get over losing Morty...I want everyone to understand it's not just his loss but the fact that I feel I made mistakes. That's the part that's still troubling me over a week later. But it was very comforting to be able to come here and hear from other rabbit lovers. Thanks so much.
 

Nancy McClelland

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We're so sorry you lost Morty. We lost one bunny to stasis and gas and that was in spite of doing everything mentioned and three trips to the vet. Sometimes it's just not to be.
 

kirst3buns

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I too have lost a bunny due to probable GI stasis. Penny had GI stasis issues every few months and we had done all the things you mentioned - reglan, simethicone, sub-q fluids, critical care, etc. and got her through each one. The last time she had it, she didn't recover even with all that care. I took her to the emergency vet pretty quickly and they ended up keeping her overnight. We had x-rays done and she didn't even seem that gassy, no bloat, nothing that they could tell so we continued with trying to get her to eat normally and medications. She passed away within a day. Initially, I felt like you. I wondered what I might have missed or what else I might have done and I didn't request a necropsy so I wondered. Now I have just accepted that I did to everything I could do.

I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds to me like you did everything you could for Morty.
 

gmas rabbit

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We lost a bunny at Xmas a year ago to what I though was a blockage. When we took him to the vet he had suddenly quit eating and pooing and seemed in pain. We had rabbits before that presented the same way with a fur ball blockage. The vet xrayed him and found a cancer the size of a baseball in his gut. I never felt it before this incidence even though I groomed and pet him everyday. He didn't appear sick or stressed before this. It suddenly blocked everything off. I beat myself up for a long time for being so stupid. Sometimes you have no controll over what happens, but the fact you loved him so much will make you feel guilty and beat yourself up for a long time. Take comfort in the fact he was your "heart"rabbit, and you gave him an incredible life. I am very sorry for your loss.
 

MNBunnyMom

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I am so sorry for your loss. I hope with each day you are finding peace.

I have two bunnies and they both have had GI stasis. Actually one of them is going through a bout of it right now. He ate this morning, but when we got home from work, he wouldn't eat any greens. I've given him doses of left over meds that we have and a few tablespoons critical care. I'm really debating on whether or not to bring him in. :/ I of course would have been to the vet hours ago, but my husband thinks we can take care of this at home.. (Makes it even harder)

I'll let you know what happens.

MN Bunny Mom.
 

Ree

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I lost my fur baby Chocolate 3 weeks ago, I put up a post on this site detailing my grief and journey with him .. it’s heart breaking as we I know I would have done anything for him just like you. I think we just need time to grieve and down the track time will tell us we did our absolute best :)
 
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