Rabbits/Lionhead Bunny


Darling Cllover
Darling Cllover  
QUESTION: 2 weeks ago my 8 year old Lionhead  bunny Clover, had a runny eye, and stopped eating and drinking by himself, therefore I started syringe feeding Critical Care, and giving water from the water feeder.
The Vet felt he had a sinus infection, so Baytril for 3 weeks, and Metroclopromide.He was however eating parsley, and appeared to be hungry but didn't eat by himself. Then I noticed he was moving his mouth constantly, but nothing was in it, so again I took him to the Vet,(who I have seen before for my other rabbits, so she was no novice)she looked in his mouth and assured me everything was fine, and even commented how perfect his teeth.
Still I was concerned about the movements he was still making with his mouth, and called again, being told, it could be the meds,making his mouth dry, or perhaps he is in pain, so I was given Banamine....
A couple of days later, as I was letting him take the antibiotic, as he loved it, his mouth suddenly started bleeding a lot....There was blood all down his chin, so I wasn't sure if it was under his chin or mouth, I called the Vet, and asked could I see her, and as the bleeding had stopped by then, she gave me an appointment for the next day, saying it could have been an abscess that had burst.
The next day back again, she looked in his mouth and told me she had found a bur like a needle, going under his tongue,that she told me needed to be sanded down, and that his tongue was very sore. She told me to leave Clover there, and she would do the procedure after her appointments. 3 hours later, I visited again to see how Clover was doing, she told me Clover was next. He was excited to see me, hungry and wanted parsley, which I had,but he was about to have gas.
The Vet told me she would call me to collect him, after the procedure.
She called and before I saw Clover she showed me that a chunk of tongue was missing, where he had caught it, with the burr.Then she handed him to me, in a burrito, and I sat and help him, while my husband paid the bill etc. It was about 45 mins later when we arrived home.
However Clover wasn't moving, he was awake, but nothing. I very carefully laid him on the bed supporting him, and he couldn't walk, in fact he only moved his top half of his body. I instantly knew something was drastically wrong.
I called the Vet, and as she was closing the Vets office, she came to the house, and told me he was paralyzed from the waist down, and his breathing was erratic. She wanted to put him down. I refused, and wanted to see how he was in the morning, in case meds wore off or something. I stayed up with him all night, till the early morning, giving him some water, and a yoghurt drop crushed, he took some parsley, but he couldn't move and tried but rolled, and I had to keep him in the pet carrier, propped either side with towels rolled up.I knew it was over, and I can't tell you how heartbroken I am.
I took him for an x-Ray, he just layed there, and didn't move. The X-Ray showed no broken back, it shoed a knobbly bit lower back but she told me that wasn't a break. She told me the only thing it could have been was a blood clot that paralyzed him. And I had to hold him while we killed him.
Is this possible, how can this be possible.? A blood clot from his mouth... I have made a few calls since, as I am not even sure he had a sinus infection now. but no one returned my calls. I am not only heartbroken but so very confused...as to how and what caused this, and If I don't understand how can I learn and avoid this in the future to my other bunnies. Please could you help, with your opinion and advice.....Also if Vats that call themselves Bunny Vets get it wrong,I need to educate myself for the future.
Thank you....


I am sitting here with my jaw dropped open at this story... this is probably one of the most traumatic pet stories I've read and I cannot begin to apologize for what you've been through. I'm sure you're devastated, so I'll try and give you the information that I can on this in the hope it brings some solace. Clover is beautiful.

First thing first, this rabbit savvy vet should probably have done a thorough check of not just the eyes and sinuses, but also the mouth as those areas are all affected by each other in a bunny, and teeth issues can manifest as many things. As soon as I read the symptoms with the chewing action I knew exactly what that was, so I'm surprised your vet maintained this stance throughout several weeks. Did she do blood work before she put Clover under? I'm concerned that the bun was already so weak from not eating well that the anesthesia may have been too much to bounce back from, especially since Clover was an older bun. The blood clot may have traveled through Clover and gotten lodged where you saw it (that's how we have heart attacks as humans sometimes), or it could be that Clover's levels weren't stable to support going under for the work.

I hope this answers some of your questions Gina, but please feel free to reach out.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for your fast response...
No, no blood work was done apparently before the procedure.........You are right, I told my husband, little Clover never really came out of anaesthetic.
Surely being weak from syringe feeding etc, should have been of concern.
Though it had only been for a couple of weeks.I told the Vet, it's as though he is hungry, but can't eat, I told her time and time again, he is moving his mouth, but nothing is in it, he is obviously having mouth problems.This should have been addressed immediately.
I can't believe I allowed all of this, I will never forgive myself.
Maybe if I had gone elsewhere for a 2nd opinon, Clover would be alive today.
I allowed him to suffer, he deserved more.I let him down, when he needed me the most.


Don't beat yourself up over this. You did the absolute best that you could under the circumstances. You could "what if" yourself till you're blue in the face. There will always be something else that you could have done, but harping on it won't help you move forward from this. Take it as a learning lesson... something to know for next time. I had a similar situation where, in the end, I realized that I could have made different choices that would have resulted in different circumstances. That's life though... learning. Clover knows your love, that's all that matters.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Christine Whetstone


I am not an expert on wild rabbits, only domesticated rabbits. I can answer questions regarding habitats, behavior, diet, health, pairing/bonding - pretty much anything having to do with owning a rabbit.


I've owned indoor rabbits for the last 10 years. During that time I've gained experience in areas like bonding exercises, understanding behavior, warning signs of sick bunnies, how to handle more serious illnesses (GI stasis, abscesses, eye problems, etc.) and more. It's rare that I come across an inquiry that I do not already know the answer to.

House Rabbit Society, supporter of local rabbit rescues


Personal experience beats the pants off of a degree, in my opinion.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.