Don’t read the following information if you are queasy or aren’t in the mood to look at rabbit guts. The pictures are graphic.But you’ll learn from them.
The Animal Whisperer awoke to find our big, gray rabbit dead on the floor of the barn.
No apparent cause of death.
He was alive and fine last night.
Dead this morning.
So, I did an autopsy.
The Animal Whisperer theorized it was a spider bite. I wondered if it was mouse poison.
But after further discussion, we realized that he had fed the rabbit a treat of bread yesterday…so had one of our boys…so had I. That’s a lot of bread for a rabbit.
Our new theory became death by bread.
Here come the pictures:
I’m holding the heart. It looks in good condition, not a heart attack. The muscles I can see are normal color, they don’t appear to have been discolored by a spider or snake bite. The teeth don’t have evidence of the bright tourquoisy-green mouse poison.
For the record: I have never done an official farm autopsy before.
But I did determine that a chicken I slaughtered last year never grew to full size because it had fluid in the sack around its heart.
The liver (in my hands above) was in good condition too, the gall bladder looked normal. The kidneys and lungs looked fine too.
But…look at the stomach (the big whitish bag looking thing). And the large intestine (the fat snake-like tube with two flies on it at the right). They are HUGE. The Animal Whisperer does all the rabbit slaughtering around here, so I’ve never seen the insides of a rabbit, but this just doesn’t look right.
Soon after the above picture, I cut into the stomach and large intestine. Out POURED (smelly) greenish lumpy stuff, the consistency of thick split pea soup. And, the jam packed nature of the stomach and large intestine stopped at the connection to the small intestine, which then became a long, skinny tube of mostly air. I didn’t look carefully enough to notice if the large intestine was twisted at the connection to the small intestine, but it was obviously blocked by SO MUCH FOOD.
Apparently, this rabbit had loved the bread we gave him. He appeared to have eaten it all.
We learned our lesson, we must be careful to not overfeed the rabbits.
They cannot throw up. So, even if he could tell he was full, he couldn’t get rid of the food.
The official cause of death was, in my non-professional opinion, having done a rabbit autopsy exactly once:
Death by intestinal blockage caused by overeating.
We are sorry Mr. Rabbit. We hope you are hopping in a meadow somewhere in rabbit heaven.
– The Goat Cheese Lady