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Kitten vomitting and lethargic

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Help !

Here's the timeline on my newest forster. Her name is Cookie and she came to me on the 27th of September with her brother Fudge. They are approx 8 weeks and both weighed about 2 lbs.

They were flea infested and were given Revolution which will treat worms as well. They were strays and came to me for fostering from trh SPCA.

Sept 29th, Cookie seemed a little off. Someone had thrown up yellowish liquid (stomach bile ?) about 2-3 times. I cleaned the litter and did not notice any diarrhea.

Sept 30th. It was definately Cookie who threw up (I saw her). She has stopped eating and is lethargic.
12:00pm:Temp was 104.4. I had to go out and was back at 4pm.
4:00pm: Temp was down to 102.6. She was given 30CC subQ and a homemade mixture of herbs for nausea/stomach upset (all OK for cats)
6:00: Temp 100.9. 5CC pedialyte with more herbal mixture.
7:30pm: 5CC pedialyte, herbal mixture
9:00pm: 30CC subQ, 5CC colloidal silver orally. Temp 101.7
10:30pm: temp 100.9. Very lethargic. No more vomitting all day, no diarrhea, zero appetite, no energy. She might have stomach pain as when picking her up by the middle, she meows - not sure if that means pain ?

Forgot to mention I saw the SPCA vet this morning. He had no idea but offered suggestions like worms, distemper, etc... He suggested euthanasia and just "exchanging" her for a healthy foster kitten. Ummm - no. This isn't a broken toaster where you return for exchange. (although, in his defence I do understand his position: there are so many healthy kittens at the SPCA who will be put to sleep for various reasons, why put so much effort into a sick one).

I have ruled out worms: she and her brother were treated 4 days ago. She would have shown symptoms before now.

I have tentatively ruled out distemper: no diarrhea, fever has gone down. I am just left with extreme lethargy.

Her brother Fudge is doing fine. They are both at work with me right now and Fudge is "mountain climbing" the office chair behind me. Crazy guy ! I brought them in to work so I could keep a better eye on them.

I am at a loss for a diagnosis ! The vet was not much help. I have severly blown my "vet fund for fosters" with the previous gang (hundreds of dollars spent treating a litter with coccidia) so I'm stuck with the SPCA vet (and of course, they don't give/sell medication).

Based on the symptoms above, can anyone suggest anything ? I am at work right now through the night (night shift all week) and will scour the internet once again for a self-diagnosis.

Any help is appreciated !
post #2 of 18
All I can offer is feed kitty glop.. Is Cookie feeding okay>?? Make sure she is hydrated and lots of hugs and vibes
post #3 of 18
You said you used Revolution and that takes care of worms, but did you use any other wormer?
Revolution does not eliminate Tapeworms. A separate wormer has to be administered for that.

ETA: Don't use anything with Piperazine in it as a wormer for cats. Some cats are sensitive to it and could become very sick and/or die.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
I didn't want to push the feeding yet since she was throwing up. I figured if she doesn't throw up tomorrow, I'll start supplementing. I make a glop from Hill's A/D and add various things depending on the symptoms (ex: hydrated bentonite clay and rice pablum for diarrhea).

She is not eating or drinking on her own. I'm doing SubQ fluids every 4 hours and pedialyte every 1-2 hours. I am also trying via enama which she is tolerating OK. Read about it here:


I'll try anything at this point !

Also, I did not give them any other dewormer. I do have the capsules in case of tapeworms. I'm sure tapeworms wouldn't hit this hard - she looks like she's at deaths door !
post #5 of 18
Originally Posted by JulieH View Post
Also, I did not give them any other dewormer. I do have the capsules in case of tapeworms. I'm sure tapeworms wouldn't hit this hard - she looks like she's at deaths door !
You said they were flea infested so she could be anemic from what I've read. Would/could that have anything to do with her present condition?
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
You know, I suppose that could be a cause. I also read that vomitting can be caused by dehydration so the logic could be that she is anemic and that caused the lethargy which caused dehydration and vomitting.

I have (it seems) stopped the vomitting and dehydration but there's not alot I can do about a blood transfusion. If she is anemic, will this "come back on it's own" providing that I keep up with the rehydration treatments ?
post #7 of 18
Originally Posted by JulieH View Post
You know, I suppose that could be a cause. I also read that vomitting can be caused by dehydration so the logic could be that she is anemic and that caused the lethargy which caused dehydration and vomitting.

I have (it seems) stopped the vomitting and dehydration but there's not alot I can do about a blood transfusion. If she is anemic, will this "come back on it's own" providing that I keep up with the rehydration treatments ?
That, I don't know, but I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I will see this and be able to advise you soon.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
update 1:00 am

She moved around a bit. She walked a few steps to the water bowl and stood there with her head hanging over the bowl. Didn't drink. I read this is particular to distemper ... I am so confused !!! No diarrhea, no vomitting since this morning. No fever last time I checked (at 10:30pm). I redid SubQ and pedialyte plus lots of hugs and kisses (and prayers !)
post #9 of 18
Part of this may be a reaction to the Revolution if her immune system was already compromised due to the flea infestation. Now that she's moving around a bit on her own, maybe she will take a little food off your finger or from a syringe to help build her strength back up.

You've kept her well hydrated so she may just not be drinking once getting to the bowl because she doesnt' feel much thirst?

It's sounding to me like you are slowly pulling this baby through her rough times. Hang in there Cookie!

Keep up the good work Julie!
({({({({({({Cookie & Julie})})})})})})
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
I guess she does have the symptoms of a reaction to the Revolution BUT would that not have happened faster ? She was treated w/ Revolution on the 27th ad only started showing symptoms on the 29th. Man I wish I knew what this was !

She looks terrible ! All limp and lifeless, like a little rag doll. Her temp was slightly higher this morning at 0630 when we started the routine. 39.8C (103.6) so she is running a slight fever. I started again w/ all the fluids since I hadn't done them overnight since 0100am.

Keep sending vibes !
post #11 of 18
Sometimes kittens are so tricky. They are susceptible to everything and can get so sick, so fast.

Anytime I hear of a kitten with vomiting, lethargy, and fever- the top thing that comes to mind is infection. Distemper is usually associated with diarrhea although I don't know that I would totally eliminate it as a possibility (was she tested for it?). There are other viruses out there besides distemper that I have seen cause similar symptoms (coronavirus, etc). Infection is especially common in stray and shelter situations and there are so many different viruses out there. Was she vaccinated on the 27th? Vaccine or revolution reaction may present with similar symptoms, but, I agree, the time course is not classic. Were they Felv tested? Something like anemia or parasites may cause similar symptoms but usually they present with more chronic symptoms and less acute.

I think you are doing everything appropriately. Supportive care to get her through this. Fluids are important. I personally have never used pedialyte. I usually force feed sick kittens pretty early in the course of similar illnesses. Sometimes kitties can get stuck in a vicious cycle where they get sick, get weak, lose appetite, get better from infection, but still feel sick from being weak and don't want to eat. Sometimes meat baby food can be easier to tolerate. You can also talk to your vet to see if pepcid is an option. I have used pepcid ac (2.5mg) for adult kitties with tummy troubles. I have never used it on a kitten though and am unsure of dosing.

Good luck. I have been in similar situations before and know how miserable it can be. You are giving her the best shot and hope that she has.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
yet another update (this is like a diary for me !)

At 1030, same listlessness and limpness. She did go to the litter and while it was soft, I don't know if I'd call it "diarrhea" - as I mentionned before, I have been giving enama rehydration so that might certainly account for "loose stool".

Her fever is gone and she's back to 39.1 (102.4). I made a lovely purée of liver (in case it is anemia) and Hill's A/D with water and force fed 5CCs. I was going to do 10CCs but I wanted to see if she kept it down. I'll go check in a minute.

I have to go to bed - working night shifts means I need sleep in the day !
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Does this sound like Coronavirus ? I looked around but couldn't find a "list of symptoms" associated with FCoV or FIP except for the fluid in the belly with the wet form.

Do they always have a fever ? How high ? (Cookies' goes up and down but it's not a high fever and most of the time it's in the normal range). She is definately lethargic and depressed !

She was never tested for anything nor is she vaccinated yet. They do the vax upon adoption. It's not standard for the SPCA to do any advanced testing. It's more of a "cross your fingers and hope for the best" type thing.

Wouldn't it be neat if cats were like newer cars were you plug them into a machine and it checks the "computer" for codes and comes up with a diagnosis... sigh...
post #14 of 18
My kittens had a bacterial infection that caused slightly elevated temperatures, diarreah and lethargy after a time. There was never any vomiting though. The vet put the two kittens, (about 7 and 10 weeks), the new stray, (1 year old), and Yeller, (about 8 years old), all on Zithromax to clear up the infection.

The older cats didn't really present with any symptoms, but the youngest kitten seemed the most effected. She was about 7 weeks at the time. Did the vet check for something like that? Perhaps a short course of antibiotics would be in order.

I so hope you can get little Cookie better soon.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Last - sad- update

Cookie passed away this afternoon at around 4:30. I had a feeling when I saw her at noon (before I had to go to bed) that she wasn't going to make it. I had tried feeding her the rest of the 5CCs of liver mush as she hadn't thrown up the previous portion and at one point she quit swallowing it, just let it sit in her mouth, no struggle. I helped her wash it down with some pedialyte then lay her little ragdoll body on the couch in the "cat room".

When I returned at 4:30, she was lying on the floor in a puddle of something (I'm thinking pee cause her head was not wet), she was cold, her eyes were open and glassy and her mouth was open. She was barely alive. I picked her up in a towel and held her a little while and she finally stopped breathing.

Now I have her brother in the cat room all by himself. Poor baby ! He is doing fine so far. I also have an assortement of other cats around the house (3 fosters upstairs, a previous foster that I am babysitting while his owners are on vacation and my own 3 adults) I really wish I knew what this was !! I've got the Zircon disinfectant out and drenched the room and washed the floor and litter pan with bleach hoping that my others will not be affected (especially the kitten that I am babysitting !!). I am considering asking the neighboors to babysit him as a precaution. My adults are vaccinated so if it is distemper they'll be fine.

If the symptoms soound familiar to anyone, I'd really aprreciate suggestions or wild guesses ! It may help her brother should he develop symptoms.

post #16 of 18
So sorry to hear about Cookie. Hope your others are not affected. Hang in there!
post #17 of 18
I'm so sorry to hear that Julie.
I know you were trying so hard to save poor little Cookie.

I went through a similar thing with a little feral kitten I was trying to save some years back. It is heartbreaking when that happens.

Little Cookie is playing at the Rainbow Bridge now waiting for the wonderful foster mom that she knew briefly to eventually come pick her up. Sometimes, as hard as we try, some are just meant to leave the struggles of this world and move on where it's peaceful and happy all the time.

Bless you for the love you gave Cookie while she was here.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am very sad to report that Fudge, the little brother is now throwing up too.

I am so mad / sad / tired.

I just don't know why ? These are tiny little kittens and all I'm trying to do is help them get a good start in life and now this happens. I am on death watch for the remaining 3 kittens I am fostering. They were not in direct contact with the 2 sick kittens but this virus (at this point, I'm assuming it is Panleukopenia) is very sneaky and very hard to kill. I know, I had to deal with it once before.

If the other kitten come down with it, then I know the virus is in the entire house. If not, then it's just my newly remodelled "cat room" - these were the first kittens in my new cat room, sad eh ?

I hate panleukopenia
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