Please help- my two lovely Mini Lop bunnies have both died suddenly!

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Minilopbunnies

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My bunnies are my life and I loved them so much! They had never shown signs of being unhealthy, unhappy or stressed. Their death was immediate and unexpected and I have no clue what could've happened.

Pixie (my girl bunny) died two days ago at 11 months. She was given to me by my Aunt who breeds bunnies. Pixie free roamed my room and always had access to hay. She was very healthy and happy.

Pixie’s death happened when she was outside (it was a lovely day and I thought she might enjoy some sun and grass). Her pen was next to our chickens (we have two silkies), bear in mind that I move the pen around the garden frequently. She could've caught something from them, but they have always been in close proximity so I think it's unlikely.

Her pen has a wooden shelter which she has been stripping the paint off, so that too could be a cause of death. Our neighbour has a cat scarerer too. We've never had wild rabbits come to the garden but have had squirrels and rats.

Pixie seemed to be acting strangely around an hour before her death -she was sitting in a hunched loaf position and didn't come to greet me like she usually does. I didn't think anything was wrong with her as she sometimes gets in grumpy moods!

Her death happened so quickly that I didn't have time to act. She started running into the bars of her pen and throwing herself at the sides, it was really horrible to see and I was worried she would hurt herself. She then rolled onto her side and was breathing really heavily. We quickly removed her from the pen and brought her up to my room in a box. Things quickly went downhill and she died very quickly lying on her side! It all happened in about 10 minutes.

We thought it must be something neurological as her hind legs weren't working correctly, she was spinning in circles, head wonky and one of her ears sticking up. She didn't show signs of illness beforehand.

Parsnip died this morning. He lives outside and is also very happy and healthy. He was a year and two months old.

I went outside to check on the bunnies, morning feed etc. And found him dead lying peacefully stretched out, it shocked me so much! I was still very sad after Pixie’s death. I do not know what happened when he died but he had not eaten much.

Neither bunnies had blood, sticky noses or diarrhoea. I have no idea what killed them and am so sad. Both bunnies are very confident and definitely didn't die from stress. If you have any questions about their death please feel free to ask. I really want to know what killed them and if I could've prevented it, thanks x
 

Minilopbunnies

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You do have to be careful when keeping both rabbits and chickens, as chickens and their feces can carry disease that will make rabbits sick. Also, paint can be toxic, especially if it contains lead.

thank you for the reply. I think it might’ve been the paint. They have had the shelter for around a month. Do you think that could’ve caused such a sudden death though? They have been chewing it for a little while now and haven’t shown any behavioural changes up to now. I am so annoyed with myself!!😔
 

RFR

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I'm really sorry to say, but unless your rabbits were vaccinated against it, this sounds like RHDV2. I'm in the UK and I've recently lost some young rabbits to this horrible disease. Vets are reporting widespread outbreaks. With this variation, symptomless death like you describe is common, as are convulsions caused by bleeding on the brain. I joined up to post this as its very important not to bring new rabbits into your property without taking precautions because the disease can survive many months in the environment. I'm very sorry for your loss. :(
 

Preitler

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Chicken aren't a deadly threat to rabbits. Also, lead paint will not kill instantly, and they would need to ingest some amount. Don't know how it's over there, but I'm pretty sure here lead isn't used in paint for considerable time now.

In sudden cases like this there is the possibility of RHDV2, I would encourage you to cantact a vet about a test so if it is this virus others can be warned.
 

Minilopbunnies

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I'm really sorry to say, but unless your rabbits were vaccinated against it, this sounds like RHDV2. I'm in the UK and I've recently lost some young rabbits to this horrible disease. Vets are reporting widespread outbreaks. With this variation, symptomless death like you describe is common, as are convulsions caused by bleeding on the brain. I joined up to post this as its very important not to bring new rabbits into your property without taking precautions because the disease can survive many months in the environment. I'm very sorry for your loss. :(

Thank you, for the reply. My bunnies weren’t vaccinated, I wish I had done it now! I would hate to get another bunny and give the disease to it, so don’t worry I’ll be waiting a while! How do you think they were given it? If a bunny has it, can they hide their symptoms for a little while? I’m so sorry for your loss as well😔
 

Minilopbunnies

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Chicken aren't a deadly threat to rabbits. Also, lead paint will not kill instantly, and they would need to ingest some amount. Don't know how it's over there, but I'm pretty sure here lead isn't used in paint for considerable time now.

In sudden cases like this there is the possibility of RHDV2, I would encourage you to cantact a vet about a test so if it is this virus others can be warned.

thank you! Just contacted the vet and am waiting for a reply!
 

RFR

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Thank you, for the reply. My bunnies weren’t vaccinated, I wish I had done it now! I would hate to get another bunny and give the disease to it, so don’t worry I’ll be waiting a while! How do you think they were given it? If a bunny has it, can they hide their symptoms for a little while? I’m so sorry for your loss as well😔
Thank you, its heartbreaking isn't it. So the disease can be transported by wildlife such as birds and in various other ways, including through mosquito bites etc. There is a lot of information here: Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD)
 

Emily b

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I'm really sorry to say, but unless your rabbits were vaccinated against it, this sounds like RHDV2. I'm in the UK and I've recently lost some young rabbits to this horrible disease. Vets are reporting widespread outbreaks. With this variation, symptomless death like you describe is common, as are convulsions caused by bleeding on the brain. I joined up to post this as its very important not to bring new rabbits into your property without taking precautions because the disease can survive many months in the environment. I'm very sorry for your loss. :(
my daughter has had a similar experience, we bought a pair of unvaccinated 8 week old mini lops & within 2 days one had died, we thought our little son may have droped it so hurried out & bought another to keep it company, two days later 2nd bunny dead, got advice from the breeder we bought third rabbit from & immediately moved new bunny inside & in a new hutch, it was vaccinated on Monday but sadly died today (Friday).my question is if all the shed & run was properly sprayed with the recommended disinfectant & new bunny’s double jabbed (+1week grace at breeders meaning 3 weeks till back here from 1st jab) would it be safe in the same area?
 

RFR

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So sorry for you and for your daughter Emily. What a sad experience. That second link I posted has the relevant advice on introducing another rabbit. It's probably worth chatting to your vet too. They may be able to give you more definite guidelines.
 

jlbunny

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thank you! Just contacted the vet and am waiting for a reply!
My bunnies are my life and I loved them so much! They had never shown signs of being unhealthy, unhappy or stressed. Their death was immediate and unexpected and I have no clue what could've happened.

Pixie (my girl bunny) died two days ago at 11 months. She was given to me by my Aunt who breeds bunnies. Pixie free roamed my room and always had access to hay. She was very healthy and happy.

Pixie’s death happened when she was outside (it was a lovely day and I thought she might enjoy some sun and grass). Her pen was next to our chickens (we have two silkies), bear in mind that I move the pen around the garden frequently. She could've caught something from them, but they have always been in close proximity so I think it's unlikely.

Her pen has a wooden shelter which she has been stripping the paint off, so that too could be a cause of death. Our neighbour has a cat scarerer too. We've never had wild rabbits come to the garden but have had squirrels and rats.

Pixie seemed to be acting strangely around an hour before her death -she was sitting in a hunched loaf position and didn't come to greet me like she usually does. I didn't think anything was wrong with her as she sometimes gets in grumpy moods!

Her death happened so quickly that I didn't have time to act. She started running into the bars of her pen and throwing herself at the sides, it was really horrible to see and I was worried she would hurt herself. She then rolled onto her side and was breathing really heavily. We quickly removed her from the pen and brought her up to my room in a box. Things quickly went downhill and she died very quickly lying on her side! It all happened in about 10 minutes.

We thought it must be something neurological as her hind legs weren't working correctly, she was spinning in circles, head wonky and one of her ears sticking up. She didn't show signs of illness beforehand.

Parsnip died this morning. He lives outside and is also very happy and healthy. He was a year and two months old.

I went outside to check on the bunnies, morning feed etc. And found him dead lying peacefully stretched out, it shocked me so much! I was still very sad after Pixie’s death. I do not know what happened when he died but he had not eaten much.

Neither bunnies had blood, sticky noses or diarrhoea. I have no idea what killed them and am so sad. Both bunnies are very confident and definitely didn't die from stress. If you have any questions about their death please feel free to ask. I really want to know what killed them and if I could've prevented it, thanks x
I'm so sorry for your bunnies and for you. it's a horrible death for them and painful to watch.
 

Diane R

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my daughter has had a similar experience, we bought a pair of unvaccinated 8 week old mini lops & within 2 days one had died, we thought our little son may have droped it so hurried out & bought another to keep it company, two days later 2nd bunny dead, got advice from the breeder we bought third rabbit from & immediately moved new bunny inside & in a new hutch, it was vaccinated on Monday but sadly died today (Friday).my question is if all the shed & run was properly sprayed with the recommended disinfectant & new bunny’s double jabbed (+1week grace at breeders meaning 3 weeks till back here from 1st jab) would it be safe in the same area?
So incredibly sad. Selling unvaccinated rabbits should be illegal, it certainly is totally immoral. You need to use veterinary grade disinfectant and definitely do not bring another bunny into your house unless the bunny has been vaccinated at least 3 weeks beforehand. The virus can stay in the environment for several months. Please consider adopting neutered, bonded, vaccinated bunnies from a rescue centre.
 

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