Why did my bunny die suddenly?

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

Bunners123

New Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Location
Europe
As the thread name suggests, my Holland Lop died a few hours ago. I've only had him for about 3 days. He was 6 weeks and a few days old.

This morning he woke me up with baby-like crying which made me hop out of bed immediately since I've read how this happens only in serious distress. I found him on his side in his cage, barely responding to my presence, food, water and only cracking his teeth and crying out occasionally. By the time I called the breeder for help (since I was yet to find a vet for him due to how short he was with me and how early in the morning it was), which was about 10-15 minutes after I woke up, he had already passed.

I had also woken up randomly a bit earlier and saw him laying on his stomach from my bed, which was uncharacteristic of him since the only other time he did it was during transport due to being hot and rarely when being petted. I had brushed it off as him finally getting accustomed to his surroundings, but looking back it was probably a sign of something being wrong(sun was up, so it could not have been more than 1-2hours before he died)

The last time I know for certain he ate was about 5 hours before and had water in his last 8 hours. The breeder warned me that he might have stomach issues for a few days and to watch out for those and call him if needed, but he had absolutely none and has pooped a lot in his last 6-8 hours(cleaned his cage less than 12 hours before he died and even saw him poop after) and he also passed urine because the side he was laying on is covered in it. About 10 hours before he passed he was running around the room happily and was keen on being petted and even cuddling and clicking with his teeth like a happy bunny all throughout. He was even letting me pick him up almost at will, offering little resistance apart from his first day around. And he was active around the cage getting on his hind legs and running towards me for petting and pellets right before I went to bed.

He also seemed not to have any leg or spinal injuries after I checked him post-mortem(a med student here, so I know the basics of how joints and bones would behave if broken/sprained). Stomach also seemed mostly like usual, though it was hard to tell with no muscle tone. Apart from the urine smear which he had to have gotten while I was asleep(less than 5 hours before he died), there were no other bodily fluids around. He was also kept in an air-conditioned room which was about 20-25 degrees in temperature at the time with the ACU off, so a heat stroke is out of question. He also did not seemed scared one bit, just in a lot of pain and he was also not really too scared generally apart from his first few hours.

The only negative sign I can remember seeing is him seemingly shivering at times, but I brushed it off since a lot of the times I checked on him, this was coupled with him munching on hay or cleaning himself so I just thought nothing of it and his paws were yellow around the nails since the day I got him which I was not really sure if it were natural or urine soaked(nothing came off during cleaning). Another thing is that the breeder said that he was the first generation of babies to have survived birth/childhood from the particular doe (said that 5 or so litters before failed to live in some way). Other than that things that could have contributed to him dying:

Too hot during transport(even jumped in his water bowl to cool down towards the end)
Licked a skin care product-long after it had dried on the skin(he was surprisingly friendly even from day one)
I used wet wipes to clean his cage in the two corners he liked to urinate in so he might have licked some chemical off the bottom of the cage maybe
Had a minor drop(20-30cm) when I tried to pick him up during his first day over and he got himself free
Eating something off the floor while he was roaming around(he chewed nothing surprisingly and I don't recall seeing him do anything but chin everything in his path)
Being blown at by the ACU while being petted/roaming
Also I could feel some poo-sized clumps in his upper abdomen post-mortem(right under his rib cage) if that is relevent

The breeder suggested that it was probably a freak accident and offered me a replacement bunny since he had a few more babies left. Now I'm wondering if I should take another bunny in or not, and what could have gone so wrong for him to go from active to dead in a matter of hours only a few days in my care
 

2Bunns

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2020
Messages
68
Reaction score
67
Location
Rochester kent
Im sorry for your loss, may i kindly suggest you do not look for reasons as it seems there is nothing you have done wrong. In death we do question ourselves but its to find a form of solace. Nature is cruel but it will do what it must do. May i also suggest that this breeder be given a wide birth. I would not feel confident if a breeder ‘pre-warned me’ of issues that ‘might occur’ it sounds like they knew something. May i suggest a rescue bunny, may be a few years older that needs a home if you wish to fill your home with fur again.
 

Bunners123

New Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Location
Europe
Im sorry for your loss, may i kindly suggest you do not look for reasons as it seems there is nothing you have done wrong. In death we do question ourselves but its to find a form of solace. Nature is cruel but it will do what it must do. May i also suggest that this breeder be given a wide birth. I would not feel confident if a breeder ‘pre-warned me’ of issues that ‘might occur’ it sounds like they knew something. May i suggest a rescue bunny, may be a few years older that needs a home if you wish to fill your home with fur again.
Thank you for your reply, I will call a vet to make sure that there is nothing toxic in the environment for the next bunny and move on I guess. As for adopting a rescue bunny, it really is not possible in my country. The number of breeders for pet bunnies are few and far in between so there is not a lot of them to begin with and shelters in my country are not really there for rescued or abandoned animals, but only for stray control and even then animals are usually re-released onto the street with a chip in their ear or killed off and not cared for. In any case, thanks!
 

JBun

Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
10,575
Reaction score
5,952
Location
Utah, , USA
So the most telling thing you describe is that the previous litters from this mother rabbit, hadn't survived. If the litters died on their own and not due to problems with the does milk or her care of them, not from an obvious enteric disease, but from some unknown reason to the breeder, then the answer could lie there. But without knowing the particular symptoms the previous litters had prior to passing, I wouldn't be able to say if it's what I suspect it could possibly be or not. But even if it's not what I'm thinking, it seems very possible to me that this could be linked to the deaths of the previous litters. That's just too unusual for 5 litters to die in a row.

Or if it didn't have to do with whatever issue was going on with the doe and her litters, it could have been something like an underlying heart problem, or could have been something random like choking on a pellet, which happens more often than you would think.

Unfortunately sometimes there isn't an answer to be found and you just have to try and find comfort in knowing you did your best to try and provide a good home. Even if it was for a short time, the bunny sounds like he was happy during that time.
 

Bunners123

New Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Location
Europe
So the most telling thing you describe is that the previous litters from this mother rabbit, hadn't survived. If the litters died on their own and not due to problems with the does milk or her care of them, not from an obvious enteric disease, but from some unknown reason to the breeder, then the answer could lie there. But without knowing the particular symptoms the previous litters had prior to passing, I wouldn't be able to say if it's what I suspect it could possibly be or not. But even if it's not what I'm thinking, it seems very possible to me that this could be linked to the deaths of the previous litters. That's just too unusual for 5 litters to die in a row.

Or if it didn't have to do with whatever issue was going on with the doe and her litters, it could have been something like an underlying heart problem, or could have been something random like choking on a pellet, which happens more often than you would think.

Unfortunately sometimes there isn't an answer to be found and you just have to try and find comfort in knowing you did your best to try and provide a good home. Even if it was for a short time, the bunny sounds like he was happy during that time.
I have consulted a vet at this point and what he said is that my description of events is almost textbook for bunny heart attack/sudden failure, considering the circumstances and time of death likely spontaneous, and the only other option would be an infectious disease, but that it is extremely unlikely unless it was present before I even got him. I guess the cookie crumbles like that sometimes... Thank you very much for your input!
 

2Bunns

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2020
Messages
68
Reaction score
67
Location
Rochester kent
Im glad you spoke to someone about it, i hope it helped. If i lost either of mine then i would have lost my heart. If you have worries or concerns about where to get another bunny when you are ready, have you looked at the option of bringing one from another country? There are pro’s and con’s and how to travel can be found on the forum. But may be worth looking into so that you can find a quality breeder with healthy kits or adopted.
i will always look at options to adopt as there are so many that people have that want them to go to good homes.
 

CrazyChickenGirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
430
Reaction score
259
Location
Neptune
I’m sooo sorry for your loss. It is wonderful that you did so much to try and help such an amazing little creature! Blinky free little bunny
 

Sissel

RO Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
43
Reaction score
71
Location
Scandinavia
Thank you so much for sharing and for reaching out to us ❤. Oh, Boy that´s so hard.......I´m so sorry for your loss 😥
My heart breaks for you💔 and I just wanted to let you know that you´ll be in my thoughts and prayers!!!!!!!!!
 

Catlyn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
1,753
Reaction score
1,012
Location
Estonia
I'm so sorry for your loss. Having a bunny die all of a sudden is probably the worst thing that could happen, even though it depends on how a person decides to view it.
My first bun was sent over there because an abcess had gone too far, a year later my third bun just decided to up and leave on us, with much the same description you have. ( His history in particular gave me plenty of reason to believe it was a heart failiure-almost fine in the evening and dead by night. ) Still, his death didn't shake me as much because i knew that i had tried my absolute best and despite all my efforts, he'd still gone, yet the first boy's going could've been avoided. Dad's logic went the other way round-he found it a bit easier on the heart to make the decision of letting the bun go reluctant-willingly rather than not seeing it coming at all.
I totally get the shelters being useless for finding bunnies thing, i would be extremely lucky to find two rabbits in all our shelters over the span of one year. Almost all of my buns have come from breeders, one way or another. Two boys straight from the breeder (first boy, and second boy who's the darker on my current profile pic), the third boy from a family that got him from a breeder (whiter one on the pfp), and the last one, finally a girl, was from an accidental litter of a house rabbit owner
As such, i understand going for a breeder's rabbit again. I would be okay with taking a kit from the same breeder, but NOT from the same doe. Five litters lost in a row seems a bit too weird for me. Might be worth asking if the breeder has any kits or younglings from other does, and maybe get a bun that's a bit older, three months would be a safe surviving bet as by then they should be on fully solid diet and moving stress shouldn't mess with their digestion as much. Six weeks is generally still too young, the recommended minimum is two months of age. My bucks were five, four, six months old and the doe was 6 months as well, all boys lived into full adulthood and the girl is still going strong with the remaining sir(second boy).
Again, so sorry for your loss, i feel you. May your next bun live a happy life much longer.
 
Last edited:

SirLawrence

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
481
Reaction score
806
Location
South Carolina, USA
Im sorry for your loss, may i kindly suggest you do not look for reasons as it seems there is nothing you have done wrong. In death we do question ourselves but its to find a form of solace. Nature is cruel but it will do what it must do... May i suggest a rescue bunny, may be a few years older that needs a home if you wish to fill your home with fur again.
I want to echo this. Nature is what nature is. Everything that is born must die.

But, it seems that you're more interested in understanding what happened rather than blaming yourself.

I guess I don't have any advice or anything, I just wanted you to know that I'm sorry for your loss, and we all grieve how we must. If sharing and talking about it on here helps, then we're here for you!
 

Fanny

New Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
India
Mine passed away yesterdayy couldnot fond a reason or anything and i completely understand how you feel hope we get over our loss and i just think few things are not in our hand no matter how good we be
 

Blue eyes

Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
8,372
Reaction score
5,553
Location
Arizona, USA
I'd suspect it has mostly to do with whatever issues that momma rabbit had. However, one thing that jumped out at me was your description of the rabbit having gone into the water bowl during transport to your home. This is not something a rabbit does "to cool down," -- especially at such a young (naive) age. More likely he just happened to end up in there either from being scared during the trip or just exploring. It is extremely dangerous for a rabbit to get completely wet. They are not able to easily regulate their body temperature--most especially at such young age. This is why baths are not recommended. Couple that with the fact that you noticed him shivering on several occasions afterwards and the two together (getting soaked and shivering) makes me suspect that that could have played a contributing role.

I'd second the recommendation to look for a rabbit rescue. If you name your country, someone may know of one. Older (6 months plus) rabbits are recommended over babies for new rabbit owners.
 

Latest posts

Top