We had a loss this week. One of our bunnies passed in the waiting room of our vet’s office on Monday. Our vet determined that a pea-sized ball of her own hair became lodged between her stomach and intestine and as her tummy filled with gas and stomach fluids the other organs in her tiny chest cavity were crushed, killing her in less than 12 hours. Bunnies eat their own fur while grooming themselves all the time (along with other undigestible fibers like hay and wood that comprise the bulk of their diet) so our vet was surprised and saddened to report this as the cause of her death, calling it a “freak event” and noted that she was otherwise quite healthy. Apparently even if we had gotten her to the vet the night before when we noticed she wasn’t feeling well, they wouldn’t have known what was wrong until they cut her open since hair doesn’t show up on their radiographs.
Brent and I are pretty devastated and the survivor, our Flemish Giant, is coping well but clearly mourning the loss of his lady love. I guess that one of the tradeoffs for how awesome bunnies are as pets is that they can go from happy and healthy to dead in a handful of hours.
It is common for rabbits to stop eating and die when they lose a bonded partner so we’ve been watching him closely. I can’t begin to imagine the trauma of going from spending 23+ hours a day with your favorite person to watching your best friend die in front of you and spending 5-6 hours a day with 2 ridiculous looking earless bipedal giants. He’s coping pretty well and has even started to assert his dominance with me and Brent. I took this as a sign that he’d accepted the loss of his ladyfriend whom we often called “the Overlady” because she was without a doubt the alpha.
Now I’m looking for a ladyfriend for our bereft husbunn and I’m realizing how big the rabbit problem really is here in South Florida. I looked first at the local shelters and found a couple dozen rabbits locally, another 2 dozen in nearby Fort Lauderdale, and several dozen in Palm Beach. Considering how many people live in South Florida, it didn’t seem so bad. Then I started perusing Craig’s List, eBay and other private ads. The sheer number of unwanted and found bunnies broke my heart all over again because we can only rescue one. The worst part was the sheer number of people selling baby bunnies and other answering listings for unwanted bunnies and relisting them with exorbitant ‘rehousing’ fees. I wonder if humans are just wired to exploit anything that can’t fight back.
This is Christie, signing off.