Yesterday we received an email with the sad news that Amelia died after going home a week ago.
She was our foster bunny that we took on shortly after Pop’s demise and the sad truth is I never warmed to her. I don’t know why: she was the softest rabbit (a rex) and unlike either Owen or Pops, she would sit in your lap for a long time without her bunny brain twitching. Of course, it was never clear if she lay still in contentment or anxiety. While we took her on to lend a hand to our pal Margot who had too many rabbits and not enough cages, for the last several months it was clear to me that we just weren’t handling or stimulating her enough, so the day came when she finally went back to Margot’s. The idea being that she’d be given the space to meet a couple other rabbits and perhaps come back to us part of bonded pair. This would make her more stimulated and as an extra benefit would mean more poop for the garden.
Alas, this was not to be the case. Rabbits when introduced will often fight as they are territorial. There was some tussling, which in turn lead to Amelia limping, then being incontinent and a trip to the vet, where she was put down. At least that’s how Margot’s email reads. But the deal is that Amelia had a limp now and again here, which I assumed was perhaps “sore hock” from being a small rabbit in a wire hutch. So while I asked Margot about that limp months and months ago, and then kept an eye on Amelia (and much of the time she seemed fine) and her feet, I never once thought it might be her back. When Margot came to get Amelia, I forgot to mention it.
It seems most likely that Amelia had a tender back. According the vet, “I decided to take one x-ray of her spine for my own knowledge, and it appeared that she had subluxed one of her lumbar vertibrae causing spinal cord compression.” I guess the lesson learned from her death is never, ever overlook the slightest thing in your rabbit that seems unusual. They are so oddly hearty and fragile, which I guess makes sense as low as they are on the food chain. They just break your heart over and over, these rabbits.
I don’t know if we’re going to get another rabbit when we’re back from Japan. It’s hard to imagine not having a rabbit, but having two rabbits die within a year? That’s not a great average around Gardnovsky Gardens.