Help...2 dead lionheads and sick owner
My daughter's bunny stopped eating and drinking for a couple of days and despite our best efforts to keep him hydrated with a dropper he passed away. There were no other signs of illness besides not moving and appearing very weak. My daughter and I cleaned his cage thoroughly and boiled his water bottle and dish.
A week later we bought a new lionhead from the pet store. This bunny seemed healthy when we got him. Two weeks later I checked on him in the morning and he was fine and when I got home at night he was dead in the cage. I don't know if our first bunny had a disease and despite cleaning the cage it spread to the new bunny?
Also after their deaths I have started feeling sick at my stomach and flu type symptoms. Don't know if it's related but I am starting to wonder if the bunnies could have spread an illness to me?? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thank you.***** Karen Sez *****
So sorry about the problems, Cindi. The most likely cause of death for bunny #1 is enterotoxemia - a 'dysbiosis' or upset of the balance of gut bacteria in favor of the bad ones, usually clostridia spp. This is an anaerobic germ, and I highly doubt would be anything that could transmit to you.
How old was bunny #2, the lionhead? I'm guessing that by coincidence it may have contracted the same problem - enterotoxemia. I say by coincidence, because while one might suspect the possibility of transmission, you took pains to clean everything very well, even boiling the feeders etc. Good job.
Because enterotoxemia is frequently brought on by feeding issues, you'd need to examine how you've been feeding the rabbits. If you get another rabbit (and I hope you do), ensure that they get a handful or two of grass hay every day, along with commercial rabbit pellets, and no sweet treats like apples or bananas.
There is one more disease that rabbits frequently get - pasteurellosis. This is called 'snuffles,' is most frequently manifest as a lung infection, and is a bacterium that can
be transmitted to humans. The transmission is rare, and usually occurs in the case of compromised immune systems. The thing is - you've said nothing that would indicate the bunnies were sick with pasteurellosis.
I certainly hope that your own symptoms are indeed a winter-related typical under-the-weather thing. But don't take me for a physician or
a vet, and seek help if you think you need it.