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My little man
My little man  
Hello,
I am so sad in writing you this letter. My 7 month old dwarf rabbit died under anaesthetic a few days ago. A few months prior to that he recovered from a VERY aggressive case of Ecuniculi. 2 vets wanted to "let him go", but I wasn't ready to give up so I searched for an exotic specialist. After 2 months of just rolling uncontrollably in his cage, he was showing signs of improvement. He was diagnosed of it at only 6 weeks old. All in all, it took 3 months, a lot of different medications and a whole lot of love and attention, before he was back to being a rabbit, still tilted, but nonetheless happy and perfect in his imperfect way.
He recovered beautifully, and he lived with his twin sister throughout his illness. I think that helped.
At 7 months of age he started showing signs of aggression and being territorial, spraying, all the normal things intact rabbits do, and of course, he shared the same cage with his sister.
I made an appointment to see the same rabbit savvy vet that saved his life. I wanted someone that knew his history. I asked him whether the risks are higher because he had Ecuniculi, the answer was slightly, but only because of the stress so he would operate on him first to minimise that, and he castrated Ecuniculi rabbits before without problems. The second question was about his size ( I have attached a picture of him, very small breed of rabbit ), vet said that does not matter if the testicles are present, which after some digging around, they were.
I handed him the food I brought with me so he can eat straight after the op, his favourite blanket and a heat pad. His sister was there with him as well, I wanted to neuter them both so they can recover together and won't have to be separated. I thought about everything.
I signed the papers and put on a brave face as the last words I heard were, "he will be fine, we do this all the time".
This vet is about an hour away from where I live so it was quiet a drive and my Tilt did look a bit stressed out because of the journey.
I went and sat in my car and called my parter to say that it's all done and now I will just have to wait. I was scared.
40 minutes into the conversation, I see the vets number pop up on my phone. My heart dropped and I instantly felt sick. My Tilt died, he said that his heart slowed down as soon as he was given the anaesthetic, after which he was administered a shot of adrenaline which brought him back, but as he was stitching him up, he had a heart attack.
It all felt like a bad dream, the only thing I remember saying was don't operate on her too, I don't want to lose 2 rabbits.
I went to get him and he was wrapped up in a blanket, looking as he was still alive, his belly was very bloated, I am still unsure as to why ??
Again I just listened to the vet speaking, whilst I was sobbing out of control and crying without being able to speak or ask anything. He kept saying "We use the safest of anaesthetics".
I came back and done a lot of research and the % of rabbits that die under anaesthetic is less than 1%. And then the questions started arising. Was he overdosed on the anaesthetic, was the long journey too stressful, did they give him too much adrenaline, was he monitored properly, was he too small to go through this, was he damaged from all the medications he was under whilst being ill, was he just a weak bunny, was the story even true, why was his belly so swollen and hard, could this have been preventable, are there some anaesthetics safer than others?
If anyone could help me with these questions I would be so grateful, as I don't feel strong enough to ring up the vet in question yet, also when time comes it will feel right, what are the right things to ask and how should I ask them?
I am so sorry about my lengthy email, my Tilt was the most loved house bunny in the whole world and after everything he's been through I can't believe it was his time.
Thank you in advance.
J

Answer
hi jessica sorry for your loss nut i suspect the rabbit got the Ecuniculi from its parents.
i'm sure the vet acted in the best interests of the rabbit but i think the stress of having Ecuniculi and its age went against it .
please keep a check on its sister as she could have got the Ecuniculi from her brother but hopefully not.
dave.

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Dave Lawrence

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I can answer questions about breeding and showing rabbits. I have been breeding Black Rex rabbits for the past 10 years and have won numerous prizes for showing them. Ive also done a fair amount of judging.

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