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Joan, Vet Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 18348
Experience:  Vet Tech for 35+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
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Hello, I just lost a rabbit wed had for a month and a half,

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I just lost a rabbit we'd had for a month and a half, and the cause of death was myserious. I've done some extensive web searching and it could have been dehydration. She always used to drink alot, and we were mildly concerned, but she was due at the vets to be neutered that week so we were going to ask then. She was eating and drinking and passing normal stools right up until her death. She was disorientated and lethargic, and that's how we noticed something was wrong. We'd had a room fan on to keep her cool during the day as it's british summertime, but she'd disappeared into a room without the fan and we hadn't noticed. When we found her my husband encouraged her to eat which she did, and put her water bowl right next to her as she wasn't moving very far and seemed tired. Her ears were hot, so we put a fan on her with a cold towel in front of it and she really liked that and her ears cooled down. We ummhed and ahhed about calling an emergency vet, but she seemed fine, eating, drinking (but not alot), passing stools, she just seemed peaky. We put her in her cage on a blanket and she edged over and sniffed at her water bowl but didn';t drink. She ate a bit of hay then settled down and just dozed. She did get up periodically and circle again and doze. We agreed to wait to see what she was like in the morning as she seemed comfortable and settled. By 3am we heard her lopping about and took it as a good sign, then she went into her house, dug in the straw for a minute or two and stopped. We checked on her a minute later and she was dead. She looked peaceful, in a relaxed position. We're stressed that we didn't do enough for her, we're guessing she dehydrated more easily because of her kidneys? She did go to her water and didn't drink, didn't stand over it dizzily, just peered over and sniffed it like she was thinking about it, then pulled away like she wasn't interested. Any ideas? We were worried that her previous owner hadn't neutered her earlier too, as that can have complications? She was 1 year and 5 months old


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a Vet tech for 30+ years working with Rabbits and other Exotic pets. I will be happy to assist you today. I am so sorry for the loss of Starbuck. I suspect you are correct as dehydration being part of the problem for the loss of Starbuck. Rabbits are very intolerant of heat. They are easily prone to heat strokes and heat exhaustion which can account for the disorientation and lethargy. Once a rabbit gets over heated and dehydrated it is very hard for them to recover without supportive care from a Vet with IV fluids and other treatment. If Starbuck was overheated and dehydrated I suspect the reason for her loss was a Heat Stroke. Without a Necropsy, there would be no way to verify this, but from your explanation that is the most obvious reason for the loss. Please accept my sincerest condolences. If you have further questions I will be happy to continue with you. Joan

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I just wanted to express my condolences again for your loss.