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Posts: 4
I’ve been struggling with my own grief and guilt over the last couple of days, as my husband and I made the extremely difficult decision to put our bunny down.
One day I went to feed him and noticed he didn’t move at all (he was normally very active and cheeky). I brought him inside for a couple of hours and noticed his strange behaviour, not eating, and would only walk a few steps before laying down. He looked lethargic and very uncomfortable.

When we took him to the vet, we were told he was suffering from a condition where drastic weather changes caused him to over-groom, and caused a fur blockage in his tummy. Not only this, but he had severe abdominal issues which over a period of hours had severely deteriorated his health.
What makes it worse, is that his condition was indirectly caused by us. We were given poor advice from a previous vet, and there are no regulations for bunny food sold here, which basically means they put any crap in it and market it as ‘healthy’ rabbit and guinea pig food. We were unknowingly damaging his health over the course of a year.
We were told by the vet that he would require hours of treatments, and if that didn’t work he would need an operation. The only other option was to put him down. We were literally given a few minutes to discuss this.

In 2 months we are having a baby, with the craziness of COVID19 I needed to stop working earlier and my husband is our sole provider at the moment. The cost of the treatment and operation were above our budget, and at this moment in time we could not afford to be spending thousands of dollars. This is what lead us to make that horrible decision. Not only this, but I was so distraught at what was happening (and it all happened so suddenly), that I couldn’t say my last goodbye. Due to COVID19 regulations we weren’t allowed to be in the room when they did it, but they offered us the chance to say goodbye. I was already in tears when we made the decision, I couldn’t bring myself to face him, as I felt immense guilt that I was failing him and I was a mess already.

So this is what I’m struggling with now, and I don’t know when it will go away. I feel horrible and the regret/guilt eats away at me everyday. At the very least, I’m beating myself up for not saying goodbye. Was he scared and wondering where we were in his last moments? These thoughts won’t go away and are torturing me. We loved our bunny and we know he’s not in any pain now, but the pain in my heart is truly agonising.

Posts: 1
Hi Gem, I am also struggling with guilt for having to put my dog to sleep.  Did I miss symptoms, could I have tried something else, etc.  But I think when you are sick or in pain like that you're not really conscious of what's going on and who's there.  And I know people that work in vet's offices love animals and are kind to them, during this time especially.  It would have been much worse to leave your bunny in pain, even the treatments might have just drawn it out, and he knows how much you loved him.  I'm so sorry for your loss.  I don't know when the pain will go away either.

Posts: 4
Thank you for your kind words. I’m very sorry for your loss also. It’s comforting knowing I’m not alone in feeling guilty. Its just very hard trying to rationalise the decision especially when it was largely financial. When I read through other posts, a lot of them are from people who had no choice as their pets were very old or their health was far too deteriorated and treatment would not work, which makes me feel all the more terrible.

Posts: 5
Hi Gem,

I totally understand how you are feeling and please don't feel guilty. It's easy for a stranger to say, but you did the best thing - we don't put our furry babies to sleep without it being the laat resort or to stop them from suffering.

Early this morning we had to put my dog to sleep so please take comfort that someone else shares in your pain at not being able to be there or say goodbye in the normal way.

My heart goes out to you at this painful, emotional time. It's so hard to do right now but try to remember all the good times and take some peace at all the joy they brought into your life. All my best x

Posts: 4
I’m so sorry for your loss :( it is extra hard not being be with them when it’s done. It almost feels cruel. And being isolated because of the virus at the moment is making me feel extra lonely. These are the times we could be spending more time with our beloved pets. Sorry I’m being quite negative at the moment just trying to work through all these emotions xx
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