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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20620
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Lion head rabbit purchased two days ago suffers direhora and

Resolved Question:

Lion head rabbit purchased two days ago suffers direhora and is very lifeless and was sleeping in her water bowl.

i have just been advised the rabbit passed away. The pet store told my daughter it was because she fed her spinach, is this correct?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about yourdaughter's situation, and wanted to help.

While we do have to feed spinach in moderation, there is no way she could have fed Ruby enough spinach in 2 days to cause severe diarrhea, collapse and sudden death. The reason we have to be cautious with spinach is just because it contains too much calcium which can lead to urinary crystals and bladder stones. Of course introducing large amounts of water containing veggies could induce loose stools, but this rabbit sounds to have been collapsed and poorly. And that isn't what we'd expect if she had just overdone the watery veggies.

Instead, I'd be more suspicious that this rabbit was already brewing an infectious process (ie viral, bacterial, etc). Often incubation times for infectious diarrhea bugs is 7-14 days. (So, this would have had to been lurking longer then she had Ruby). Furthermore, with the stress of all the recent life change, this poor wee bunny may have had increased stress hormone levels leading to immune system dampening, which would allow those infectious agents an even better chance of gaining a foothold and causing disease.

Overall, there is no way that your daughter could have fed (especially by just offering the spinach as part of a balanced diet and not force feeding the spinach) too much spinach to induce this sudden deterioration in 48 hours. Instead, it is most likely that this poor wee one was already brewing a GI bug that capitalized on the stress of rehoming. Therefore, the pet store is not correct here (since OD's of spinach would give us bladder signs and nutritional diarrhea not such severe signs and collapse so quickly) and if there is any debate on this then you could request they have a local rabbit vet perform an autopsy to confirm this.

Please take care,
Dr. B.

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