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Rabbits/Rabbit sick and dead within 2 days

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Question
On Wednesday, i noticed my rabbit had not been eating and had not used the bathroom.Wednesday morning, he was laying in his case, which he never really does, and refused to get up.
Wednesday evening, when i returned home, he looked a little better. i forced him to drink water and take a couple of nibbles of greens.Although lethargic, he was sitting up on his own and running around the room.
Thursday morning, he still wasn't eating very much or using the restroom. He still had the capability of running around the room on his own. Thursday afternoon, my brother went to check on the rabbit since he was under the weather. My brother found him unable to sit up on his own, although attempting to. He had his arms in one side and his legs on the other.
I took him to the pet hospital. the doctor diagnosed him with a neurological problem. Gave him a shot of cortisone and an antibiotic shot with directions to mix 3ccs of gatorade and 3ccs of yogurt and feed him 3x daily.
I returned home from the hospital. I fed the rabbit as instructed. I wrapped him up in a blanket and held him. He twitched a couple of times and then ceased to breathe.

What is your take on what happened to my rabbit? It seems to quick of a onset of symptoms for a neurological disorder to have occurred . Did the doctor misdiagnose my rabbit, therefore possibly giving him unneeded injections, and cause him to die? i'd love to hear your opinion

Answer
Dear Tiffany,

I am sorry about the loss of your bunny.

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.

Please read:

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

which might give some clues.  It is vital to take a bunny's temperature when he shows signs of illness like what you describe, and also to get him to a rabbit-experienced veterinarian right away.  It does not sound as if the vet you saw knew very much about rabbits.  I doubt this was something "neurological" when a very simple explanation could be an untreated infection.

If the body has been kept very cold (not frozen), and it has been less than 24 hours since death, a necropsy may still be possible, if you feel that would give you closure and peace of mind.  You can find an experienced rabbit vet here:

http://www.rabbit.org/vet

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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