Rabbits/Baby rabbit

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Question
Hi there,
I had a baby wild rabbit that I rescued.  I recently went away for 3nights I left food and water when I returned I was devasted to find she had died. I wanted to find out what could have been the cause of death. I am so sad that she has gone.

Answer
Dear Moira,

I am sorry about the loss of the little bun.

Sadly, there is absolutely no way to confidently ascertain a cause of death without a post-mortem exam, preferably including histopathology of major organ tissues.  The signs you describe are very vague, and could have been due to any of dozens of different things.

If you noticed signs of unusual behavior before he died, then please read:

www.bio.miami.edu/hare/sickbun.html

which might give some clues.  But unless you can provide a lot more specific information, this is the best I can offer.  

If a body has been kept very cold (not frozen), and it has been less than 24 hours since death, a necropsy may give more information.  But at this point, that time has passed.

It is not safe to leave any animal alone for three days, even with food and water available.  You can't notice any sign of illness, and by the time you come home, it will be too late.  

I am sorry.

Sincerely,

Dana

Rabbits

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.


RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.

Experience

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Organizations
Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Publications
Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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