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Rabbits/Death from Blood Clots in Lung


I took my rabbit in to get spayed a few days ago. I picked her up the next morning doctor said everything went well and she was doing great. She was doing alright at home considering she had quite the wound on her tummy. Suddenly she wasnt breathing normally with very short struggled breaths. She stopped breathing soon after that and passed away. My vet guessed it was a blood clot in her lung and pretty much sent me on my way. I want to get another rabbit someday but was this clot something that came about because of her operation or was it probably going to happen either way?

Dear Stephanie,

I am very sorry about the loss of your friend.  For your vet to toss this off so casually is really distressing.  Without a necropsy (which a competent, compassionate vet will often do for no charge if a rabbit died immediately after surgery at his/her hands), there is no way to know exactly what happened, but an embolism is certainly a possibility.

It is also not possible to know whether the embolism came from a pre-existing condition or was a result of surgery, but risk of embolism is always greater after trauma, and that include surgery.

I am very sorry for your loss.  But since this happened several days ago, it is too late for a necropsy, which would be the only way to shed any light on this tragic end.  




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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


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:

Find a rabbit vet at 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.


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.

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

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

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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