Compassionate Care: Navigating End-of-Life Issues

It’s a topic many of us don’t like to think about, but eventually we all face-end-of life issues. When it comes to our animal companions it can be particularly difficult to navigate our emotions alongside our responsibility to do what’s best for them.  

Age, disability or disease do not necessarily prevent living a satisfying and joyful life. It is only when quality of life is significantly compromised — when there is suffering or when the joy has gone out of life — that’s when end-of-life questions should be examined. 

The Three A’s are the most important:

1. Appetite: does my rabbit still find enjoyment in eating?

2. Affection: does my rabbit still exchange affection with me or with other companions?

3. Attitude: is my rabbit still interested? Does she like to watch, sniff, and listen to the things going on around her? Mental attitude is important.

If the answers to these questions are positive on more days than not, there is quality of life and continued supportive care is recommended. Keep re-evaluating the three A’s regularly to assess how things are going. Address the whole rabbit, not just the disease or symptoms.

As you move through the end-of-life process, here are some other questions to reflect on and address:

  • Is my strategy fair?
  • Is my strategy kind?
  • Is my rabbit comfortable?
  • Can we effectively manage pain?
  • Are there side effects from medication and can those side effects be managed?
  • Has my rabbit given up? Is it only a bad day or is she just ready to go?

The end-of-life is a difficult and painful time for most animal caregivers. Trying to make the right decision for your bunny can be confusing and overwhelming. You are not alone with these feelings and struggles. At the end-of-life there is no perfectly correct answer. What we are left with are the choices we make out of love and compassion.


  • Amy Ramnaraine

    Since 2001 my life has been filled with my own beloved, free-roaming house rabbits. They fueled my desire to help other people and their rabbits live happily and healthfully together. I began as a local educator for the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society (2008 — 2015). I then became a licensed educator for the national House Rabbit Society (2016 — 2023). I have expanded my own rabbit knowledge through many conferences and seminars on rabbit care, behavior, and health. As a rabbit advocate I’ve organized transports, campaigned, fostered, and provided hospice care. As an educator I’ve done my best to create easily accessible information to improve the lives of rabbits and the humans who care for them. My beloved bunnies were: Mouse & Duchess, Captain BlackOak & Pixel, Fluffston, Guinevere, Joy & Magnus.

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