Sunday, 18 December 2016


a close up of two bunny front feet, orange legs and chest wit white socks.
Beautiful bunny feet.
(20 February 2016)

It is a very sad morning at my house.
My family and I are waking up to an empty house because darling young bunny Max had an emergency dash to the Animal hospital  overnight.

herbs like sage and thyme are overhanging a raised garden bed. A little bunny face, black and orange with a white blaze, is poking out from the shadows underneath the greenery.
Someone's stalking me!
(20 Feb 2016)
Yesterday was such a happy day.  The weather was sunny and warm (about 25°C) and Max was happily playing in the garden, dashing from one hiding spot to the next, triumphantly reaching his destination and settling down to enjoy the views from under the shrubbery.

From the kitchen window I saw a blur of white fluff streak across the lawn; shortly afterwards he was at the door looking for a playmate to chase him. A very happy, healthy and active bunny.
a 10-12 cm plastic black pot with a plant that used to be tall and leafy. All that is left is a bare stem with a lone leaf, the stem having been neatly lopped at the top.
Gardening, bunny style.
(23 Mar 2016)

We brought Max inside around 4:00 p.m. and laid out his early dinner at 5:00 p.m. because we were going out to a family birthday celebration in the evening. It was such a happy night with lots of love and laughter.  The birthday person had an excellent time and the car journey home was festive.
Baby Max on his first venture into the back yard. He is lying down on the back door ramp, legs stretched out behind him.  He still has his baby features of a head that is much larger than the rest of him, and ears that are larger still!  His little front legs are barely able to be seen underneath his dewlap.
Baby Max resting in the backyard.
(3 January 2016)

A large terracotta pot has a bunny (the same orange colour as the pot) sitting where a plant would normally be growing.  It looks like the bunny is growing out of the pot as if it were a plant.
Found growing in the garden!
(16 Feb 2016)

We arrived home around 10:30 p.m. to discover things were not right:
  • A strange 'wee' on the floor in a strange place (under the kitchen chair)–Max is toilet trained and always uses his litter tray.
  • The hay in the hutch was in disarray. We had never seen such a weird pattern of disorder.
  • Bunny dinner had not been touched.
  • Max was found sitting on the tiles in the shower recess, cold and huddled underneath my shower chair–he NEVER goes in there!
  • We picked him up and took him to his hutch and he looked groggy and he stumbled trying to get into his hutch.
  • Max refused to eat a piece of apple, his favourite treat.

What on earth happened during those 5 hours while we were out? 

A side view of Max, the tri-colour Dutch bunny. He is facing to the right. His right side has an orange rump with a black 'tiger' stripe, his shoulder and right front paw are white, his face is black and orange with a white blaze on his forehead and a white muzzle.  In front of him is a small plush toy rabbit, the same orange colour but half Max's size, facing him. They are sitting indoors by a mesh sliding screen door, looking outside where it is raining.
Stuck inside on a rainy day,
waiting at the door, wanting to play outside
(22 May 2016)

Our minds boggled. Did he get a fright?  We heard fireworks in the neighbourhood the night before.  Did he get spooked again with no one here to comfort him?  As we were leaving for our celebration, our street was filling up with cars as visitors were arriving at a neighbour's house.  Was there a raucous celebration in the street that could have caused Max stress?  Was he tearing around the house and skidding on the floors? Could he have crashed into a chair leg etc. and concussed himself? We were at a loss to know.

When rabbits show signs of illness, they can deteriorate rapidly. We raced him off to the Emergency Vet Hospital immediately.  (I was so tired after a night out–why do these things always happen on a weekend and at night when the regular vet is not available?)

Max was diagnosed with gastro-intestinal stasis (also called 'gut stasis' or 'GI stasis').  This is a serious condition when a rabbit's digestive system slows down or stops completely.  This seemed to be a very sudden development because Max had been passing lots of faeces as normal during the morning and had been playing happily in the garden all day.
The blunt end of a wooden broomstick needle is loaded with rainbow coloured yarnand resting on a white tray. Max bunny has 'photobombed' the photo with his face in the top right hand corner. He looks like he is about to bite the wooden needle (or at least thinking about it).
"This broomstick needle looks good enough to chew!"
(7 May 2016)

Last night was the first time in months that bunny had been left completely alone at home because there is usually at least one person left at home at any time of the week. It is frustrating that Max got sick sometime in the 5 hours when we were not at home. We wondered how long he had been suffering before we found him and we were extremely distressed that we weren't at home to catch Max's illness earlier.

Gut stasis can be triggered by all sorts of things including stress or not enough fibre in the diet.  Max gets free access to hay and straw plus free run of the garden where he eats all sorts of herbs, plus he gets fresh vegetables for dinner and also some dry food pellets so we don't think diet was an issue; besides we had our previous rabbit, Smokey, for a good eight years (his full life span) on the same diet and never had this problem.  Was it stress that caused Max's gut stasis? 
Max is on a floor mat in front of his indoor hutch, chewing on a stick.
Chewing on sticks is good for the teeth.
(31 May 2016)

Apart from the gastric problem, Max was in good general condition with no other discernable problems. Unfortunately gut stasis is a very serious problem for a rabbit to have.  We are glad we went to the vet immediately. The vet was confident that we could get Max on the right track by syringe feeding him at home with a special food mix so we came home with him.

A view of Max from above, lying down with his legs stretched out together behind him and his chin on the rug. He is lying against his plush toy bunny on a quilt on the floor.
Snuggling with "Nibblet"
(31 May 2016)

Max barely ingested any of the critical care food mix and he was looking sicker by the minute so it was straight back to the vet within the hour.  By this stage Max looked so poorly we were worried he might die in my daughter's arms before we got there!

On return to the vet hospital, the nurses were confident he would be fine and perhaps it is just a technique issue with the syringe feeding; they could also administer extra fluid and medication overnight. We left Max at the vet hospital, feeling relieved that the staff were experienced in this problem and that it was treatable.  It was around 1:00 a.m. by then and boy were we exhausted!

"No news is good news!" the nurse cheerfully reassured us so we could sleep without worrying too much.  "We'll ring you if Max looks like he's starting to go downhill."

At 2:00 a.m. the phone rang. We answered it with dread.

Max was suffering a seizure and the staff were performing CPR.  Efforts were unsuccessful.

Max was only 1 year old!  The vet was surprised and said the seizure was totally unexpected because it is uncommon, especially since Max was so young and in such good condition. Max would have been exactly 1 year and 5 months on Christmas Day.

A sideways view of Max standing on the right hand side of the photograph, facing the overhanging nasturtium plant on the left, having a good tast of them.  He still has his soft fluffy baby coat with a white collar around his neck and a black stripe down his left side like a tiger. His ears are very large compared with the size of his head.  He will surely 'grow into' his ears one day!
Baby Max eating nasturtiums
(13 December 2015)

A suitcase lies open on the floor. Rabbit is sitting in the suitcase on top of the contents, inspecting them.
When packing for a long weekend,
it is important to pack the essentials:
towel, beanie, bunny …
(29 September 2016)
So here we are, saying goodbye to our darling little bundle of fun, Max.

In his honour, I will post as many photos as I can find.  Many of them have already been published on Maxxy's own Instagram page: maxxybunny where one can also find video of him.
There are more photographs to be added to this blog entry but it was more important to share today's news first and add photos later. Do enjoy the photos that are here so far and I will do my best to finish the descriptions and add more during the week(s) to come.

The children and I went back to the animal hospital this evening to say formal goodbyes.  The staff were so compassionate and patient.  They were beautiful. It must be so difficult when families lose their pets. I couldn't do that job for all the world as it must be heartbreaking.

Many thanks to the wonderful vets and nurses that have been involved in Max's care.

Darling Max
25 July 2015 — 18 December 2016
Always Remembered

A close-up portrait of Max sitting on the lawn, looking up at the camera.
Max, the Dutch Bunny
"Onze liefste konijntje."
x x x x
(4 September 2016)


Adelaide Animal Emergency and Referral Centre (aaerc), 119 Anzac Highway, Kurralta Park, South Australia:

Cushman, Abi, "GI Stasis in Rabbits: A Deadly Condition", My House Rabbit, website, USA:

Max on Instagram, maxxybunny:

A wheelly cute bunny!
(30 October 2016)
van Praag, Esther, "Seizures and their various causes",, website, Geneva, Switzerland:

Melbourne Rabbit Clinic, "Gastro Intestinal Stasis", Veterinary Referral Hospital
18/151-159 Princes Highway, Hallam, Victoria, Australia:

PetMD LLC., "Seizures (Epilepsy) in Rabbits", petMD, website, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462, USA :

Related Posts on Lupey Loops

"Bunny Was Here", 7 July 2016:

"Pattern and Rhyme Bunny Style", 16 June 2016:

"Messy to the Max", 29 September 2015:

"Smokey", 23 October 2013:

Baby Max sitting amidst flowering rocket in the wild herb garden.
Rocket Max
(3 January 2016)


  1. Oh Jodie! We are thinking of you and yours as you grieve for your furry friend! ❤ RIP Max, such a cheery little bunny xx

    1. Thank you, Michelle. He truly was a cheery little soul - the things he used to do, the stories we could tell! We have been blessed to have had him in our lives, even for such a short time.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. Sincere condolences.

    1. Thank you Lorraine. Your support is most appreciated.

  3. Huge, furry hug from me too. Being so close to Christmas makes it even worse somehow. Animals ARE part of the family!

    1. ...and Max certainly WAS part of our family. It's horrible to lose a family member. It leaves a hole in one's heart. He only had one Christmas with us. I'll be saying special prayers for him on the 25th (the anniversary date of his birthday).

  4. So sorry to hear about your rabbit. My boys had one each eight years ago. One died of heart failure two years old, another escaped and got taken by an eagle. One bunny left, eight years old. So sad loosing a pet. Hugs, Pam in Norway

    1. I'm sorry that you lost your young bunny to heart failure. That must have been unexpected and shocking for you. Losing one to the wild, is also horrific. Big hugs to you, Pam! You have my sympathy. I'm sorry you experienced all of that.

      Eight years is a grand age for a rabbit. I hope your eldest didn't pine too much for the others. Rabbits are beautiful, clever, loving pets.

      Thank you for your hugs and support. It means a lot to know that you understand.

  5. Oh my dear, dear friend. I am so sorry. I was out of town when I got your email and knew it could not be good. Poor darling Max, and poor all of you. What a shock! I am glad that he did not suffer for long, I know that sounds horrible but he was not in pain for long and that helps when I think of what happened. I know he was such an important part of your life and that of your families. I am sending you a hug from across these many miles my friend. I am so sorry.

    1. Thank you foryour support Meredith. Your words are not horrible at all!

      On reflection we suspect that Max might have had a seizure at home while we were out which would explain the disarray in the hutch. Subsequent disorientation woukd explain the strange locations. I'm hoping that he wouldn't have had a sense of time passing while in that state and the vet had given him pain relief so he didn't suffer pain in his final hours.

      It is likely Max had a brain problem laying dormant and it decided to express itself at this time. The GI stasis could have been secondary.

      There were no noises or unusual activity in the street apart from a very quiet gathering at one house so it was not fright.

      There was nothing more we could have done. In his last moments before admitting him, he had been snuggling into my daughters neck, his nose buried under her collar, against her skin. He thought she was 'top bunny'. He knew he was loved.