Sudden death - what was the actual cause?
I recently lost my very loved giant Flemish/Norwegian mix rabbit of 2 plus years. I got a new kitten a couple of weeks ago to become friends with my rabbit. They adored each other. Up until recently, my rabbit (who lived indoors) seemed to be very healthy. What I can't seem to get past is what exactly happened? I am more than heart broken.
The day before he died I noticed he had very sticky boogers blocking his nose so naturally I picked them for him. He also had runny gooping eyes. He had never in the 2 years I had him had this problem. He seemed very lethargic as well. I cleaned his pen and put him away for the night hoping that he'd make it thru the weekend so I could take him to see the vet on Monday. The next morning I woke up to check on him; he was dead!!! Stiff and with his eyes open. Absolutely horrifying for me (still).
What happened? Was it from the kitten? She had used his litterbox once when I didn't notice until I found her feces in his cage. I immediately cleaned it out. Was he poisoned from it? He also had started eating her food, and I've read that it can be too much protein especially for something that isn't supposed to eat meat!!
I just can't seem to get past how and why he died. People tell me because of his breed he wasn't meant to live long anyway. He was 2 or more years and about 20 lbs. Please if anyone has answers I'd love to hear them. It haunts me to think it was from my doing. I just need to know....***** Karen Sez *****
So sorry for the death of your rabbit! I hope you will find the courage to obtain another Flemish or Flemish cross; I am confident that barring any calamities, it should actually be expected to live longer than 5 years.
I cannot tell you exactly why the rabbit died with certainty, but I can tell you what it sounds like to me. Your description sounds exactly like Pasteurellosis that went quickly to pneumonia, which is what killed your rabbit. Don't know if it will help, but it is well known that the vast majority of rabbits carry P. multocida, the germ causing Pasteurellosis, in their respiratory systems naturally, without exhibiting any symptoms. In the case of your rabbit, something triggered a failure of the immune system, enabling the germs to overwhelm the rabbit's health and life.
I don't know if your rabbit would have gotten sick sooner or later, or whether the arrival of the kitten had something to do with the onset of disease. The timing of the onset of symptoms is indeed suspicious, since the rabbit came down with the grave respiratory infection just 2 weeks after the arrival of the kitten.
It is indeed true that the rabbit should not eat cat food, and exposure to cat droppings can't be ideal for a rabbit, but whether or not these situations contributed to the death of the rabbit...I'm just not certain. Plenty of rabbits and cats share living quarters across the nation without sickening the other species.
Perhaps your vet could shed more light on probabilities than I can.
If any rabbit owners or breeders have had similar experiences and can shed more light on this situation, please do!