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George and Indy
George and Indy  
Hi Cat

I lost George suddenly on Sunday.  George was a white lop approximately 6 years old.  His diet was 15g of Supreme pellets each morning with a good mix of greens, fresh water and a rye Ryvita. He had exercise each morning in the dining room (his bedroom) and kitchen with his friend Indy and a treat and a Weetabix at night. He could not have too many greens at a time or he got runny poops and he really did not like hay nÚ matter what I tried although I had got him onto timothy hay a little.  Recently I had cut out the Ryvita and Weetabix following vet advice but of course George was still hungry so he would have a few pellets instead.  George had successful treatment for a large abscess in June and a minor dental in September.  He and Indy came out again at 6.00pm for evenings and went to bed at 10.30pm.  From memory George had one minor episode of stasis symptoms which quickly resolved.  George was quiet as he was usually lively on Saturday night but he was with Indy and seemed alright.  I got up at 2.30am and coriander and spring greens were given to him.  The night before there were the normal poops on the floor.  At 7.30am George came out but was still quiet.  He drank water but did not eat much and his tummy felt gassy so we gave him Bio Lapis in water to rehydrate, Infacol for the pain and tummy massages that morning.  He ate a good amount of greens and had some water.  He did feel cold.  We booked him in to the vet asap at 1.30pm as he went in his tray and was not passing poops and stopped eating and stopped swallowing the water given by mouth.  I picked him up after 12.00pm for more massage but thought he hsd died.  He was very still and I could not feel a heart but then his nose twitched still.  On his way to the vets I tried to comfort him but he was too agitated and started convulsing so I just sat next to his box and spoke kindly to him but he died as we entered the vets at 1,16pm.  Was this GI stasis or in fact bloat?  Had he not been eating he would have gone straight in but I have got rabbits through stasis before.

I feel terrible that I could not help George.  He was a huge part of our family and Indy was bonded with him for 5 years is grieving by chewing doors etc.  Indy is 11.5 years with osteomyelitis and on treatment for his second abscess, he has regular dentals and a tooth out but George made him very happy so I don't know whether he will adapt.  His back legs are stiffer now and he has fallen on his side twice and cannot right himself once he lay there for some time and his heart was not good.  I think he was panicking that he could not roll over.  I dread going through more loss.  I am reading about Tellington T Touch rabbit massage for comfort so will try that.

Thanks very much.  I do not think I will get any more rabbits.  Their health is so difficult.

Jane

Answer
Hi Jane

Very sorry to here you lost George.

Going off food, even if not entirely, is a sign of pain or discomfort somewhere. Symptoms of bloat and stasis are very similar and can go hand in hand, the same symptoms can be caused by a physical gut blockage. This discomfort could also be caused by dental pain which could cause stasis as a secondary symptom. Did your vet look over him after you arrived? Sometimes they will help even if the poor animal has passed enroute to them.

For Indy, if he's indoors and has lots of human interaction he should slowly get over his loss, offering him a cuddly toy can help. Some rescues will also bond elderly bunnies with their own singles with the understanding that once the elderly bun has passed, the rescue takes back the remaining rabbit to avoid that constant cycle of single bunnies. Yes it is a bit of a bunny loan system! Not all rescues offer this however, but it is becoming more common.

Hope Indy will do better with time.

Cat

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Cat

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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