New to forum, just lost my bunny

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Bunnyluvr

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Hello all, it is with great sadness that I joined the forum. My little princess
died a few hours ago. I usually do not join forums but have spent countless hours reading them to learn how to care for her and found them to be very usefull so maybe this my way to pay it forward and help someone else. So here is the story. She was one and half years old, spayed and very bonded to me and the husband. We purchased her from a local feed mill. She learned tricks, kisses, high five, go around and even took her on vacation with us. She seemed fine. They last week and half or so she seemed to be a little anxious when we let her out of her cage, (nightly exercise for 2-3 hours) and stopped eating pellets but ate her hay and drank, pooped, peed. The pellets must have changed cause they looked different, she wouldn't eat any others we tried to give her in the past. We thought the anxiousness was all the activity, tree, presents, etc. Last night we heard her food dishes make an un usual sound, checked on her and seemed ok. This morning she did not greet me and I knew something was wrong. Tried all our normal vets and then some to get her in. (Holiday hours). Finally found one, left work and came home about four hours later, but I was too late. Has anyone else experienced anything like this? We miss her so much already and it's only a few hours. I just can't help but think there was something more we could have done. Sorry for rambling, thanks
 

Blue eyes

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Sorry you lost her. She sounds like she was a sweetie.

Did you notice any change in her poos? If she was eating hay and was pottying as usual, the lack of pellets would not likely cause her death. Pellets aren't that critical. Eating (obviously) is critical, but if she was eating hay then there must have been some other cause.

Have you considered having a necropsy? That may be the only way to determine the cause.
 

Bunnyluvr

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Thanks for the reply, it means alot. Consistency was unchanged, noticed that they were a bit lighter in color but chalked that up to not consuming pellets. We dropped her for private cremation but could probably have one done if we called first thing in the morning. It's one of those things we didnt really consider but are now doubting what to do.
 

ShaunaDarling

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i agree a necropsy will tell you what the vet cant just diagnose from the look of her. i am so sorry you lost her so recently :( buns can pass away from fright and anxiety, but it isnt likely that your tree and lights would do this to her being such a social bun. it is possible that she had a disease you had no idea about. it is possible when preforming surgery for spaying/neutering, done incorrectly the animal can develop ovaries/testicular cancer. this is common in intact buns. i am so sorry for your loss. i hope when the time is right, and you are ready, you will venture back into buns. you seem like a wonderful bunny mommy. :)
 

Imbrium

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First of all, my condolences for your loss! I've actually been away from these forums for a few years... which started due to the heart-breaking loss of my beloved Gazzles (in my avatar pic). She wasn't too much older than your bunny when I lost her - it's a very painful experience.

I can't think of anything that stands out from the information you gave... one of the big killers is GI stasis, but if she was still eating hay, that rules it out. As Blue eyes said, shunning pellets (especially if they weren't the "usual" pellets) isn't cause for concern. You mentioned running-around time, during which she could potentially have ingested something... but while poinsettias are poisonous to pets and evergreen trees are poisonous to rabbits, both are only mildly poisonous and small amounts shouldn't cause any trouble beyond an upset tummy (which, yes, can lead to GI stasis; however, that's already been ruled out).

Honestly, rabbits excel at hiding signs of disease/health problems. Many small, exotic animals do. I'm sorry a necropsy was off the table before it could even be suggested, but know that it may not have really provided any answers. I had a sugar glider die at a young age once where the necropsy revealed that she died of liver disease; similar results with a society finch ("enlarged organs") - in both cases, it was considered to be a genetic issue (rather than environmental). Some sort of genetic 'time bomb' issue sounds like the most probable cause for your rabbit's demise - it was simply her time. Please know that even by the standards of folks who have had rabbits for many, many years, you didn't miss any sort of glaring clue that could've tipped you off soon enough to change the course of events. The important thing is how much you loved her and how good you made her life during her time with you.

All-in-all, it sounds like you were a very caring and well-educated bunny slave. I hope you find it in your hearts to bring another bunny into your lives in the future. If you're not ready now, perhaps you will be 2-3 months after Easter - that's when baby rabbits bought as Easter gifts (bleh) tend to hit puberty and end up in shelters when people either can't handle the hormones or find out about the unexpected spay/neuter cost at a vet.
 

Bunnyluvr

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Thank you all so much, I just never knew that you could become so attached to a bunny. After researching countless hours on them I thought I had this all figured out. It was so quick after we saw the first signs. Like I said fine at bed time then not eating in the morning. (Gave her favorite fresh greens for breakfast and again at supper) I swear she knew how to tell time cause she would look for it at those times, very routine. You just think you could have done more. I know she can't be replaced but she set the bunny bar very high for any possible future buns. Just dont know at this time. Even our female cat that she bonded with is sad. (Forgot to mention how they would lay and groom each other. We introduced them early on and she is such a good cat.) We just luv our animals. Thank you all again, and bear with me for a few days.
 

Bunnyluvr

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Quick question, I hope it's not a dumb one. If the cremation did not take place yet can a necropsy still be performed? If I think I'm going to get it done, maybe it will shed some light on things, thanks
 

Imbrium

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Well, the longer you wait after death, the less likely you are to get good results from a necropsy. Whether or not the body has been kept at refrigeration-type (NOT freezing, as that causes cell walls to burst and stuff like that) temperatures plays a big role in how conclusive a necropsy might be at this point. In addition to a necropsy, a histopatholological examination of various tissue samples is often performed, assuming the tissues are still viable (if a histo exam isn't done at the same time as the necropsy, the tissue samples can be preserved in formaldehyde for later examination). If you really want a necropsy done, I would call the cremation place and ask how the body has been stored since it was dropped off and then call your vet to get their opinion on whether it's too late for a necropsy.

Also, big hugs from my three buns, we're so sorry for your loss!
 

Bunnyluvr

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Thanks Imbrium. I am going to call at 8:00 and find out. We figured it was probably time sensitive but don't know much about it. With the holiday hours there's a good chance that it probably won't work out. Never thought the things you mentioned.
 

Imbrium

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Well, if they didn't do same-day cremation then I would think they'd keep the body in refrigerated storage. If the body has been refrigerated, then I believe there's a decent chance it would still be viable for a necropsy tomorrow when your regular vet is open. I'm trying to remember a conversation with my vet from about 4 years ago, but I believe 2-3 days in refrigerated storage is pretty much the window when a necropsy is still possible. Of course, there's really no guarantee that it won't be inconclusive (in my experience, they often only give a general idea of what went wrong - like the vet might see evidence of some sort of organ failure but won't necessarily be able to tell you what caused it).
 

ShaunaDarling

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I'm so sorry the cremation has already been preformed. :( Buns are absolutely incredible at hiding signs of illness. Please don't beat yourself up thinking there may have been something more you could have done. She is at peace now. ❤ Sending love from all four of our buns!
 

JBun

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I'm very sorry that you lost your bun. It sounds like you loved her very much.

One thing that you mention is the food pellets changing prior to when she stopped eating them and feeling unwell. Did this happen to be a newly opened bag? What brand and type of pellet were you feeding? What changes did you see with these food pellets(color, smell, etc)?

Reason I ask is that there have been cases of pellets making rabbits sick and even causing their deaths. When there is something different(or off) about a rabbits food pellets and a rabbit suddenly goes off of the pellets and/or gets sick, these can be indications that something can be wrong with the pellets. This is particularly applicable if it was also a newly opened bag when a rabbit suddenly stops eating the pellets and gets sick. Problems with pellets can be from spoiled hay or grains that were used in the batch being made, from toxins that mistakenly get mixed in, from the vitamin levels being improperly measured when being added in, from the feed bags being stored improperly and getting contaminated.

You didn't happen to see any bloody discharge around the nose/mouth or bottom did you?
 

Bunnyluvr

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Thank you for your reply. My husband gor her pellets at the local feed mill. It's the only pellets we ever used. When he recently picked up a bag we had noticed that the color was a little lighter. We added those to the chicken feed & he got another bag with the same results. There was no odor or mold. We just figured that they had changed their formula slightly and we bought her Mazuri (I think I spelled it right) brand pellets. She didn't want to eat them. She was still eating her hay & greens the day/night before. She didn't have any discharge. The only thing we noticed is that her droppings became lighter a few days earlier. But we chalked that up to more hay in the diet and less pellets. She even had droppings in her litter pan & wet bedding from urine the morning she passed. The was cleaned daily.
 

Blue eyes

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Your last sentence... did you mean the cage was cleaned daily or she was cleaned daily?
 

Bunnyluvr

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Her cage and litter pan. We would never make her wet. We used water to wipe down and and vinegar/water mixture for the pan.
 
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