Any help with pregnant doe that died ...

Chick Spring

Hatching
5 Years
Mar 4, 2014
5
0
7
Ham Lake, Minnesota
Hello,
I'm really new at all of this and would appreciate any info you all may have.
We have a doe Californian rabbit that was born last July and we just bred her 16 days ago. She has always had plenty of pellets and water in her cage. She also gets Timothy hay each day. She just started getting a few treats about 2 months ago. We give her a carrot a week and sometimes a bit of broccoli. We watch the bottom of her cage daily to make sure that she doesn't get diarrhea and all has been well. We took her to a friend that has a buck Californian and that went smoothly. She came home and has been fine. Last night my husband gave her some Timothy hay and was scratching her and she was happy.

Today my daughter went out to check on her and she had died! There was a fluid in the bottom of her cage. It was not like water, it was thicker. It was not clear but was "cloudy". There were no visible unborn kits but we think she may have had an issue with the babies. Was she too old to breed at 9 or 10 months old? We are stumped. The feed and Timothy hay are new so no mold. She is in a garage with a steady temp of about 50 degrees, no wind, no rain. We were so excited about her having babies and we cannot figure out what went wrong. I was at work today so I was going to "palpate" tomorrow to see if I could tell if she was pregnant.

Thanks for any help or experience anyone may have.
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,905
655
296
Australia
Sorry, I don't know, but I'd like to learn so hopefully someone will post.

A couple of random thoughts... It would probably help to know how long since she met the buck.

If you're up to it a post mortem can be very helpful, but I understand if you'd rather not. If the fluid came from her mouth, maybe she has a blockage inside somewhere, and if the fluid came from her rear end then maybe she had an infection or disease of either digestive or reproductive systems. Finding out where the fluid came from would help.

Best wishes.
 

Chick Spring

Hatching
5 Years
Mar 4, 2014
5
0
7
Ham Lake, Minnesota
Thank you for your response, Chooks. Since I was working yesterday it was my tender-hearted 9yr old that found our rabbit. When I got home from work last night she cried so I didn't push asking questions. This morning I have been able to gather a bit more information from my other daughter.

My 12yr old is one to observe and see all and is not like the 9yr old. She told me this morning that the rabbit was on her side in the cage and my daughter could see that the rabbit was "open where she was bred" and was messy on the bottom area. It sounds like she had given birth two weeks early (she had been bred about 16 days earlier, her first time). There were no unformed babies in the bottom of the cage. I did inspect her bottom area this morning and felt her abdomen area but did not feel any babies.

We don't believe it was food or sickness because the night before we found her she was still eating and drinking normally. She had been eating some Timothy hay and the next day it was all gone and she had died. There was no diarrhea, no food changes - nothing external.

Now, what to do.... We really liked Mary. She was a great rabbit. She had a really gentle disposition. We will have to see about getting another Cal, we loved her.
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,905
655
296
Australia
Sorry for your loss.

If she did give birth early and they were unable to live she may have eaten them.

There's a few possibilities I can think of:

Maybe her diet was insufficient in something, or she was unable to digest, process or synthesize something nutritional to the extent required for pregnancy. Sometimes feeding them everything right doesn't work because they can't digest it. Some breeds are known to be insufficient in certain areas so if you can find a devotee forum to the breed you have you may find the correct information. Different breeds have different needs too so it's always good to find those with breed-relevant experience to learn from.

Maybe she gave birth early due to some toxin, perhaps molds in the hay or building walls or whatever. Sometimes there are molds in hay you've just bought, even ones you can't see or smell. I've had a few bales of alfalfa that the sheep wouldn't eat and the chooks didn't want in their nests, despite the hay looking fine, but within 24 hours massive clouds of white mold spores were puffing out of the newly bought bales, showing that despite their fresh and healthy appearance molds were already all through the bales and ready to produce spores. Maybe an overload of spores caused a toxic reaction causing abortion and death.

If she aborted she could have gone into septic shock which would have killed her quickly. Whatever the reason, if she birthed early by too great a time period it's an abortion, which would be a sign of something wrong in her environment, diet, or self. Foods that are normally safe are unsafe at random times too, pretty commonly, and it goes for everything. There is no food guaranteed to be safe 100% of the time. I can't count the amount of near-misses I've had with my animals, feeding them food that should have been fine and was freshly bought but was actually contaminated with something or dangerous for some reason... It's not like I'm not very careful about my sources either, I'm strict about how food is kept, handled, produced, etc...

Maybe she was just not physically able to carry a pregnancy for whatever reason. It happens fairly commonly. Plenty of people lose pregnant does. Disease is one thing to look into there, it could have been a separate disease which killed her due to her being overburdened by both pregnancy and disease, or it could have been a nutritional lack or a pregnancy-related disease.

Lots of possibilities but if it helps, I don't think it was your fault.

Best wishes.
 

Chick Spring

Hatching
5 Years
Mar 4, 2014
5
0
7
Ham Lake, Minnesota
Thanks for all of the information. So far the only place that I have seen lots of info is this BYC spot with some rabbit people on here live. So many people (including yourself) have a wealth of experience and it is so wonderful to have access to that. I have never heard of anyone (again, limited experience for me) losing a doe like this. We did get 7 chicks 3 weeks ago and they are in the house thriving! We have had no health issues with them and they are fascinating to watch. They seem to be pretty easy to maintain. We have a nice chicken coop and run waiting for them when they are able to go outside. It is snowing now so it may be a couple weeks yet! Miserably cold and snowy Minnesota winter...may never end!!
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,905
655
296
Australia
I like rabbits, I've had pet rabbits before and would like to again (though they're illegal here)... So I've done some research for both your sake and mine. Here's one site discussing reasons rabbits die suddenly. It says 'no carrots' but plenty of people feed theirs carrots without them dying so don't overly concern yourself with that. It may be a cause, but it's not the most likely one, you would have to judge by your own estimation of the events.

Quote: Quote: Quote:
Quote: EDIT: this bit here might not be relevant if you've already found the right sections...
Quote:
Best wishes.
 
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Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
10 Years
Nov 27, 2009
18,525
8,109
591
Wilmington, NC
The fact that your doe was pregnant may or may not be significant. There is a condition, called "Young Doe Disease,' that should be on the list of suspects any time a doe dies within a couple weeks either side of kindling. I'm trying to remember what I have heard about it - I think it has something to do with protein metabolism, and be related to pregnancy toxemia/preeclampsia. One thought is that the doe's liver isn't keeping up with the production of toxins related to pregnancy and lactation (so maybe it is more like Fatty Liver Disease).

Might the liquid in the cage have been urine? Rabbit urine can range from nearly colorless to brown to bright red/orange, and it is generally cloudy due to a high mineral content.

Sometimes, rabbits just die. Most of the time, there are some hints about the cause of death, but not always. I had several rabbits out of one bloodline that died suddenly and unexpectedly, they were of both sexes; the deaths occurred at different times of year. The only things that I could find in common were that they were related to one particular rabbit (daughter, son, grandson, that kind of thing) and they were all less than a year old when they died. I have wondered about some kind of congenital heart condition.


Sorry about your loss.
 

Chick Spring

Hatching
5 Years
Mar 4, 2014
5
0
7
Ham Lake, Minnesota
Thanks for all the research work you did, Chooks! So appreciate it and will read it today.
Bunnylady, thanks for your post. I wondered about something that was not properly formed or functioning within her that made it impossible for her to be a mother. I know it would not be common but I did wonder. It sounds like you have seen something like that before.

We are going to take a week or so and clean the environment well and then make some calls to see about getting another Cal.... she was a wonderful rabbit!!
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,905
655
296
Australia
The fact that your doe was pregnant may or may not be significant. There is a condition, called "Young Doe Disease,' that should be on the list of suspects any time a doe dies within a couple weeks either side of kindling. I'm trying to remember what I have heard about it - I think it has something to do with protein metabolism, and be related to pregnancy toxemia/preeclampsia. One thought is that the doe's liver isn't keeping up with the production of toxins related to pregnancy and lactation (so maybe it is more like Fatty Liver Disease).

Might the liquid in the cage have been urine? Rabbit urine can range from nearly colorless to brown to bright red/orange, and it is generally cloudy due to a high mineral content.

Sometimes, rabbits just die. Most of the time, there are some hints about the cause of death, but not always. I had several rabbits out of one bloodline that died suddenly and unexpectedly, they were of both sexes; the deaths occurred at different times of year. The only things that I could find in common were that they were related to one particular rabbit (daughter, son, grandson, that kind of thing) and they were all less than a year old when they died. I have wondered about some kind of congenital heart condition.


Sorry about your loss.
X2! I actually also had the same thoughts, but in less detail because of my lack of experience in this area, lol --- but I've also heard about that metabolism disorder, and I did think it might also be a heart attack, but seemed unlikely. Which is a silly thought, when you don't know what it was, anything is possible...

Thanks for all the research work you did, Chooks! So appreciate it and will read it today.
Bunnylady, thanks for your post. I wondered about something that was not properly formed or functioning within her that made it impossible for her to be a mother. I know it would not be common but I did wonder. It sounds like you have seen something like that before.

We are going to take a week or so and clean the environment well and then make some calls to see about getting another Cal.... she was a wonderful rabbit!!
You're very welcome. A few of those sites were very informative for a rabbit newbie like me. All I've ever had was one white rabbit with black markings, which a feral cat managed to disembowel within its cage without the cat actually getting into the cage... That rabbit was in the garage too, no luck... And a feral one I looked after for a while then released. (I know, you're supposed to kill them not release them)...

Best wishes.
 
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