I heard so many true stories that people’s rabbit was fine and died within a couple of hours. And people can’t help wondering what’s the cause of the rabbit’s sudden death.
Why some rabbits that appear perfectly healthy die for no apparent reason? There is always a cause of sudden death. As heartbreaking as it is, the bunny must have suffered from some stress, shock, loneliness or something else.
Little rabbits start eating what their mother eats at around 3 weeks and able to leave their mother at 8 weeks. Most male rabbits (bucks) become sexually mature at around 4 months. This is a good age to have your male neutered. Some suggest only sterilizing male rabbits. Most rabbits stop growing between 18-24 months and a healthy rabbit can live for 9-12 years.
Why Would a Seemingly Healthy Pet Rabbit Suddenly Die?
Cause for Sudden Rabbit Death without symptoms: Fear-related heart attack.
The rabbit may go into shock and die
Rabbits can be very fearful of children, or loud sound. As children running around screaming can cause stress and anxiety for rabbits. Rabbits can die of shock. Rabbits Can Die of Fright! Loud sounds can scare a rabbit to the point of causing a heart attack.
Sometimes when rabbits get too scared and they get heart attacks. It is possible for a rabbit to die of fright. Loud sounds, such as cats, dogs, loud music, or screaming can lead to a heart attack and put a rabbit into shock, causing sudden death.
A companion is necessary for rabbits. If you are not allowed to stay at home with them a lot on a daily basis. Maybe you are not perfectly suitable to raise rabbits.
Small mammals generally have faster heart rates than larger-sized mammals.
Dr. Stewart Colby asserts that “ A rabbit’s heart rate is much faster than that of a dog or cat, and a rabbit’s heart rate can vary due to a number of reasons. A rabbit at rest normally has a heart rate that ranges from 140 to 180 beats per minute. Stress can cause the heart rate to increase, and the rate in a stressed rabbit can be over 300 beats per minute. Cardiac disease is not as easy to detect in rabbits as it is in cats and dogs, partly due to the fast heart rate
Signs of Cardiac Disease in Rabbits
Dr. Susan Brown, who has been an exotic animal veterinarian asserts “
Often there is no previous history of a heart problem, or the disease might be in the very early stages. When cardiac problems occur at the same time as a more noticeable disease, the heart problem might get overlooked. Often a cardiac problem shows obvious clinical signs when the rabbit is stressed by excitement, or anxiety, which causes the heart rate to increase.
“I’m heartbroken. We got our little brown rabbit, Luna […] she was happy, healthy, very sweet and adventurous. She and my Boston Terrier became best friends from day 1, and my husband and I really bonded with her. She was just wonderful. We take her out of her cage to play (supervised) several times a day for an hour or so. [….] Last night we took her out to play, she was happy and adventurous as usual, climbing all over everything, sniffing and licking our dog and us, and cuddling. We had just given her a little shower to clean her fur (water only, as I read soap can be harmful to rabbits) to clean her fur, dried her off and brushed her. She was totally fine and hopping around like normal. My husband shelled an almond and gave it to her [….] An hour later we were getting ready for bed. [….] However, before we went to bed when I checked on her she was dead. My husband said she was already stiff, so maybe she had died shortly after we put her in her cage [….] I read a whole bunch of websites, books, and articles before we got her so I’d know how to take care of her. I think the culprit here was the almond- raw almonds can have traces of cyanide which can be harmful to small animals. I didn’t know this. Unfortunately, there are some people out there who say almonds are a great treat for rabbits. I feel horrible that I lost my bunny and I don’t feel confident getting another. It’s sad that other rabbits might die this way because there’s false information out there […] She had NO symptoms of being sick when we were playing with her, she was just suddenly dead an hour later. Is that normal? I read that this happened to another woman with her kid’s rabbit but it died in 12 hours… (source)
1. Rabbits don’t often show obvious signs when they are ill out of their survival skill.
2. Rabbits should never have showers or baths, even with just water. They are clean animals in their own right. It could be very dangerous for a rabbit to be completely wet. It can be fatal. The rabbits can easily get hypothermia.
3. Almonds are toxic to rabbits.