You are here:

Rabbits/my rabbits are dying


I have angora and meat rabbits. The problem I'm having is happening to both kinds. At fist I was feeding almost exclusively pellets with hay as a supplement because thats what the storeys guide to raising rabbits said.  But after i lost one of each kind for no apparent reason, they just quit eating till they died, I did a lot of internet researching and came to the conclusion that if their dying of gi stasis its prob. the pellets and not the hay. So  I gradually took the pellets away and now I feed all the hay they want and supplement with things like apple mint, apple tree limbs and leaves, appricot leaves and limbs, or grass 2 to 3 x's a week. No pellets at all. They've been eating this way for about 2 weeks now.  They all seem to love the hay.  I usually have to give every cage twice a day because they eat it all gone. But I noticed about 4 days ago my beautiful angora buck quit eating.  His fur was pretty thick but was sheared less than two months ago and it wasn't long enough to need shearing. I noticed blood around nose and mouth.  Then this morning I had 2 dead meat rabbits. One with no blood at all and one with blood all over the rear end.  I'm so frustrated.  I've read everything I can read and still don't know what to do.  The hay guy says the hay is orchard mix. Do you think it could be something in the hay?

Hi Billi
Sorry to hear about your bunnies!

Blood around the mouths and rear ends are NOT GI Stasis, I would be concerned about something nasty, contagious and viral here and be getting deceased bunnies tested by your vet ASAP. The symptoms sound like Viral Hemorrhagic Disease, a nasty, contagious and fast spreading disease which is rife in Europe (where there's a vaccine for it) but rare in the USA. If it is that you need to get a vet to diagnose it ASAP.

GI Stasis and bloat means no poop, no appetite, very quiet and unwilling to move, to treat properly they need pain meds and gut stimulant, and have gut blockages ruled out which can be severe enough to need to be operated on. GI Stasis is a bit like, and as serious as, colic in horses. Being in small cages with little exercise can, alone, lead to GI stasis.

Disinfect everything that's been near the sick/dead rabbits, treat it as a contagious disease and keep the healthy ones away from where the sick ones have been housed. Take fecal samples to a good rabbit vet of your living buns, and get post mortem done on the dead ones, blood tests may be needed on a few of the living ones. You need to get this nipped in the bud ASAP or you may risk losing all your rabbits to whatever this is.

Good luck!


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I can answer questions around the welfare of pet rabbits, basic health queries including gut stasis, diet worries, bonding questions and the proper welfare standards around housing rabbits (i.e. no wire floors, no small cages and they should be kept in properly bonded de-sexed pairs in very large enclosures). I cannot answer showing questions nor complex breeding issues as I do not agree with either, seeing the other end of the story in the world of rabbit rescue.


I have two 7 year old rescue rabbits and volunteer for a well established rabbit rescue here in the UK, both physically doing cleaning out etc and I am also their events and awareness co-oordinator, helping educate the general public on proper rabbit keeping, this means I have to ensure all information I give is correct and matches current welfare standards.

I belong to the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) and volunteer for a major rabbit rescue.

I have no formal education on this subject, however read everything I can to keep up to date with current welfare standards and health problems. Both my rabbits have sensitive guts and constantly keep me on my toes.

©2016 All rights reserved.