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Rabbits/Bunny died from severe diarrhea

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Question
My 18 months old rabbit which died of severe diarrhea within a few hours. It's a sudden death which I have no idea how and why it happen. During morning when I went for work, he's still fine. Evening time when I came home, he's still fine. I went out for a few hours at night and when I came home, we found him sitting beside huge pooh of wet soil diarrhea. We tried cleaning him up and clean up all the cage.

After cleaning up, we place him back to the clean cage and try feeding him hay and plenty if water. About an hour later, he collapse , squeak and left us. His diet is hay, pellet and cuni nature. Last week we have added in some dried banana chips for small animals. Could the banana chips be the cause of digestive problem? I realized for the past 2 weeks, he's not been eating much hay in his diet. I m really loss in his sudden departure.

Appreciate your advice in this matter please.

Answer
Hi Shane

Sorry to hear about the loss of your bunny.

The most well known cause of diarrhea and sudden death is VHD, or Viral Haemorragic Disease. This is most prevalent in Europe and not so much elsewhere in the world, but can't be ruled out! It kills very quickly and the only way to prevent against it is to vaccinate. The vaccination is not available globally though.

There are other problems that can cause diarrhea like symptoms including coccidiosis - a nasty and highly contagious (among rabbits) parasite, although it shouldn't cause sudden death unless the rabbit is dramatically underweight, it can't be ruled out.

Usually food causing digestive problems goes the other way and causes gut stasis or bloat, where there's no poop at all and the rabbit is very subdued.

Sadly the only way to ever know exactly what took our furry monsters when they leave suddenly, is for the vet to do a post mortem.

Hope I was of some help?
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Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

Education/Credentials
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.

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