KAYTEE TIMOTHY HAY KILLED MY RABBIT
Please. If you love your rabbit, guinea pig, or other small, furry creature stay away from Kaytee.
Kaytee-brand timothy hay caused my rabbit’s premature death.
Before you read any further, please know that these are not the rantings of a crazy lady looking for someone to blame—I take full responsibility for my part in her death; I continuously bought a product I knew might be dangerous because the ‘price was right’—these are the heartfelt words of a mourning pet owner who loved her bunny and is looking for a way to give her justice, as well as prevent future deaths. What happened to my rabbit happened nearly a year ago, but the nagging feeling that something just wasn’t right about it has never gone away.
Though I can’t prove it, I am certain that the 96 oz Kaytee hay it is what caused my rabbit’s blockage, bloat and subsequent death. When I first started buying the hay, three years ago, I didn’t have any problems. My rabbit loved it and it did her a world of good (prior to being my rabbit she had been a stray who survived a full winter on grass and sticks). The hay helped her regain her health.
But a year and half (approx.) after I began buying it, the quality of the hay—Kaytee claims it’s ‘premium’ quality—began to change. I didn’t notice it at first, but over time the hay became more straw-like. It grew harder, sharper, paler (yellower too), and was full of hay dust that would get into my rabbit’s eyes and nose. I didn’t think much of all of this at first (the changes came slowly and my rabbit’s eating habits didn’t change, plus—as a first-time rabbit owner—I was foolish enough to trust in the brand’s reputation), but then I began finding orange pieces of string used to tie the bales of hay mixed in with the Kaytee hay, along with pieces of vegetation that were not timothy hay. The first time I saw a string it was in her cage. My rabbit was happily eating around it; she didn’t think it was food and was purposely not ingesting it. Even so, after that I was VERY careful to sift through the hay before giving it to her to check for strings and questionable greenery.
Fast forward to a month or so before her death. The large bags of Kaytee were out of stock so I switched to a ‘more money for less hay’ bag of Oxbow timothy hay (PLEASE BUY IT INSTEAD. IT IS WORTH IT.). My rabbit LOVED it. She devoured it; she ate twice as much of the Oxbow as she normally did the Kaytee, but at the time I didn’t think much of it (Think, for example: ‘Hey, maybe she likes it so much more because it has NUTRIENTS that she’s been missing!’). But then, just as that bag of Oxbow hay was finishing up Kaytee came back into stock with 96 oz bags on sale. Since my rabbit hadn’t had any (significant) problems with the Kaytee hay I went back to it. I bought two. She was half-way through the first one when everything started to go wrong.
A few weeks later she was in the vet’s office with GI Stasis. Since she had had the condition in the past (when I first brought her out of the ‘wild’ I didn’t know much and let her eat too many pellets) I took her in immediately, at the first signs. After I got her what she needed I took her home, treated her with TLC and Critical Care and in a few days she was well on her way to being in good health again (FYI: GI Stasis is largely preventable and can be cured almost every, single time if it’s caught early enough). My rabbit was happy, playful and back to eating her hay.
So, why then did she become blocked AGAIN, two days later? She was eating Critical Care (packed with nutrients), vegetables (all rabbit-safe) and was getting plenty of exercise. The only variable was Kaytee. And, I can guarantee you that from the time I switched back from Oxbow to Kaytee not one string or weird leaf had entered my rabbit’s body. (I had been relentlessly meticulous ever since finding that first string.)
That leaves the quality of the hay itself. Like I said before, it had been getting drier, sharper, etc over the course of about a year and a half. My theory—because, again, I no longer have the ability to get an autopsy done—is that my rabbit’s GI stasis was caused by a combination of malnutrition (lack of proper nutrients in the hay), indigestion (hard hay pieces), and possible organ damage (sharp, undigested pieces tearing the stomach/intestinal lining)—all caused by Kaytee’s timothy hay. I am not a vet, but I am also not an idiot. I know that a young rabbit’s body does not suddenly fail like hers did for no reason.
My rabbit was robbed of the life she deserved. She spent her first six months largely without companionship while she went day to day fearing predators, seeking shelter from inclement weather and eating food not meant for pet rabbits. I found her a week before Easter 2011, right before we were hit with days of heavy rains that very well may have drowned her. My ‘Easter bunny’ lived happily with me for two years before being killed by the very food meant to sustain her. And now, she’s gone.
No matter how much I love her, how much I miss her or how sorry I am for inadvertently taking part in her premature death, I can’t bring her back. But I can pass on this warning to others.
Please, don’t make the mistake I did. It may cost you a friend.
I’ve also included a link to Kaytee reviews on Amazon. Buyer beware. http://www.amazon.com/Kaytee-Timothy-Hay-96-Ounce-Bags/product-reviews/B0002DK8P2/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0