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Rabbits/Daughter was in hospital with bacterial infection and rabbit died suddenly soon after

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Question
My daughter has 2 rabbits, one died suddenly today. She acquired them about a month ago. 1 week ago my 30 year old daughter was in the hospital with not a clear diagnosis but end result was sepsis. High fevers,chills, and infection showing in her blood. She had been scratched by the rabbit a few days before her illness came on. I know this is a hard question to answer, just looking for any other clues to if it could be related. It was a Lionhead rabbit, approx 3 years old. No fleas and had been spayed. Thankyou.

Answer
Dear Mel

I am sorry about the loss of your rabbit.

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 illness your daughter suffered may or may not have been related to the rabbit scratch, but such a result would be rare, except in an immunocompromised person (or if the rabbit had somehow managed to hit a blood vessel.

If you noticed signs of unusual behavior before your bunny 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 is one option possible, as it can sometimes give closure and peace of mind.   You can find an experienced rabbit vet here who may be able to help with this:

www.rabbit.org/vets

to call and find out what your options might be.

I am very sorry for your loss.

Sincerely,

Dana

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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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