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Critically Ill Kitten

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am currently fostering a mother and her almost 10 week old babies. I have had them for almost 6 weeks and rescued them from a certain death at a high kill shelter. They were starving and had coccidia, tapeworms, earmites, etc when I got them. I have nursed them to health and they were doing great.

I was gone all day and came back to a kitten who was lethargic, purring, and dehydrated. She had vomited multiple times and wouldn't eat. I see pieces of a soft pom toy in her vomit. (I have had 50 kittens play with this type toy without problems in the past!) I am almost certain this is the cause of her illness. She seems uncomfortable when I press her belly. No one else is sick, she was doing great this morning, and is afebrile.

I know she needs to see a vet and probably get surgery. I called my rescue directly immedicately. The rescue that I foster through with does not want her to see the emergency vet due to cost. She said that if she wasn't better in the am, she may see a regular vet (although I doubt get surgery).

I told myself years ago when I started fostering that I could not afford to pay for vet bills out of pocket for my fosters or I couldn't foster like I do now (20-25 kitties/year). I have money so my own cats can have anything they need, but my temporary fosters are fosters. I have complete resources to serve my 2 cats, but not numerous fosters, which is one of the many reasons I foster and don't own more kitties. My own kitty had a 1300 vet bill last year to save his life- he is doing great and I can't think of 1300 dollars better spent.

The rescue I work with almost never pays for expensive diagnostics including vet bills, lab tests, xrays, surgeries, etc, for any of their cats. They get better with medicine and fluids or they die. This philosophy is crushing me.

I know no one can help or tell me anything that I don't already know in this situation. I am just heartbroken and most of my non-kitty loving people don't understand this position. I want to help, but I feel powerless.
post #2 of 20
I know exactly how you feel. So many times in the shelter I worked at I have seen animals who very obviously need more extensive care then they are receiving. It just cannot happen based on most shelters funds. You hate to see it and even admit it, but an unwanted cat with no home, it really is easier to euthanize peacefully then to spend all that money on a cat who might not be adopted. Even if it would be adopted, the fee will never make the shelter enough money to cover it. Not that that is okay but it is tough really. Especially if the shelter is a kill shelter. They are really not going to bother with that stuff.

For things you can do in the future... try to organize fund raisers or something to cover more medical expenses that the shelter might not want to bother with.

Good luck with the kitten and hopefully things will work out. Can you give her some cat lax to coat her intestines and stomach to maybe help easy the toy that is blocking her out? Would be worth a shot at least.

Good luck, I can't imagine how tough it must be to be in your shoes right now. Hopefully the kitten gets better.
post #3 of 20
Have you checked the kittens airway for any fibres in the mouth?
Whats her breathing like is it rapid?
is the kitten sat hunched up?

are you in the UK?
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
Can you give her some cat lax to coat her intestines and stomach to maybe help easy the toy that is blocking her out? Would be worth a shot at least.
Yeah Or a half teaspoon of Olive oil or butter.
just make sure there is nothing stuck in her throut,she could have fibres stuck in her teeth going down her throut.If theres anything you can see try getting it out with fingers or tweezers.

Good luck with the poor baby .
and sending lots of healthy prayers for her.
post #5 of 20
Try http://www.imom.org/ maybe they can help
post #6 of 20
You also may want to try Laxatone, or, the base ingredient of that which is petroleum jelly. Dab some on the paws, and let the kitty clean her paws.
post #7 of 20
How is the little one today?Is there any improvement
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your concern. I had given her some mineral oil last night as well as some syringe water (which she promptly threw up). When I woke up this morning, she was doing much, much better. She is more active, eating, peeing, etc. I think she will be fine. She must have passed whatever was blocking her system.

Thank you all for your support. The way she looked yesterday, I thought she was doomed. My own kitty swallowed string before and couldn't pass it. The only reason he is alive is because of the emergency surgery- and at the time, my vet wasn't even confident he would live, despite catching it early. She isn't even 2 pounds, and I know that kittens can go downhill, so fast.

I know my rescue group leader was hopeful that the mineral oil. would do the trick. I think that this was why my she didn't want to spend the money on an emergency vet bill (it is impossible to get out the door there with a bill under 200!). However, I hate the awkward, helpless position it puts me in. It isn't the first time I have had a foster kitty that needed vet attention, not get it as promptly (or at all) as I would like. Even though I know I can do most treatments, physical exams, fluids, meds, etc at home, it isn't the same as having an experienced vet look over my foster. Vet reassurance, diagnostics, and treatments are important, especially with a tiny kitten that has vomited repeatedly, won't eat, won't move, etc! Thanks again all for your well wishes for Kada!
post #9 of 20
I'm so glad to hear she's feeling better. Keep us up to date on her progress.
post #10 of 20
I just came upon this thread, but I am so so happy to hear your little one is doing better. That's got to be a tough situation to be in.
I'm so happy the baby is better.
post #11 of 20
Aww thats brilliant news
I'm so happy she's ok and what a relief for you ScooMoo....You must have felt so bad but she's on the up now.
post #12 of 20
It might be time to find a new foster program to work with?

I couldn't bear to watch a little one suffering and not be able to take her to the vet... It puts you in a very sad and uncomfortable situation!

I am SO happy to hear the little kitty is back in good health once more.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malakaiii View Post
It might be time to find a new foster program to work with?
I don't think it matters what org you foster for,In my experience they ALL, wether it be
a high kill shelter in the USA or a very well know org in the UK that has a policy that"THEY NEVER PUT A HEALTHY CAT TO SLEEP"(I'm not shouting just highlighting) It doesn't make any difference....they are all the same,unless you have
funds of your own to take a foster to the vet then they will "put off " any vet treatment.
Even if that means the cat dying in your care!!
But unless anybody has been put in that position they will never know what goes on.

This is a thread about a little girl who I fostered,They put me off taking her to the vet
for three days untill I knew she was in a such a bad way and they still tried to say she
was depressed.
They had me drive for an hour there to have her ' assessed' by a volunteer before 'they'
decided I should drive an hour back to take her to the vet.
I didn't tell anybody about this because I was ashamed of a 'rescue' I was
part of..I am ashamed of myself

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86014


.
post #14 of 20
You know, you guys... honestly, while it's something everyone wishes (well, everyone here) they could change.. you're doing good work regardless of the fact that you're losing a rescue or foster sometimes. It's horrid to lose any of them, but you've got to remember how many you're helping. I'm so glad that little kitten is okay, but I do see why rescues can't afford to take every cat to the vet. There are very few vets who will work with you on something...at least in my experience..I have a vet.. he works at Banfield, and he's awesome. Anyway, the point here was .. it's extremely expensive, often more expensive than an MD when a human is sick.. and there are so many animals that need rescued, and so many irresponsible people that they're simply overwhelmed. It is, unfortunately, one of those jobs where you are obviously doing awesome work and helping the world to be a better place by doing it, but .. there's just not enough funding for it. It's impossible to save every single one of them, no matter how heart wrenching it is. Just remember how many more would be out there and such bad condition without you guys to help them.

Although, I am going to make a suggestion, here. You may want to contact a Banfield near you, if there is one. I know the one here works with the rescue groups in the area, and they get all their shots and so forth. My vet is there, and we've had three animals on their "plan". That being said, Joyeux is *not* on the plan yet, but we've had an ongoing constipation issue with her, and we've had her to the vet four or five times..and I think our current bill (grand total for all) for her vet visits is less than $150 (and I added $50 more than I thought it actually was, just to be fair). He's truly concerned about the animal, and he's gifted her meds, and worked it out for a free office visit using coupons, etc. Anyway, he's a great vet, and as a rep of Banfield.. I won't take my kitties to any other, barring emergencies. But, it's something to consider with rescue groups. Banfield is pretty new, so they seem to be more willing to work with their clients and with the animals. I can't speak for how the other Banfield vets are, since I only take mine to see him.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
It is a very tricky situation for both myself and the rescue group. It is easy to say that they would have died anyways and I gave them their only chance- when things don't go well, I try to tell this to myself. On the other hand, some no kill rescue groups have the philosophy, 'Even though they have no home, our rescue is their home and each kitty will have everything it may need for the rest of its life'. Other no kill rescue groups have the philosophy 'I won't euthanize, but I won't go through extraordinary life saving measures either'. The current shelter I work with is definitely in the latter group. If I knew of, or had the resources to start a rescue with the attitude of the former, I would. I share the feelings of many of you guys who have responded. Thanks.

Vet care is very experience where I live. Banfield vets here don't have a great reputation, many vets don't offer rescue discounts, and even with the minimal discount given by certain vets, the cost of a visit is extremely high.

My worst nightmare (which is what I worried about a few nights ago) is that I lose a kitten to something that is treatable. I am the only one who usually sees my fosters and I fear an innocent death on my hands. Again, fortunately my kitten is doing great and will be able to go to a new home soon.
post #16 of 20
I completely understand where you're coming from. And, Banfield doesn't have the best reputation in general, however.. given that I've been to both vets around here who have the gleaming, sterling reputation .. and I've gotten both better care and am working with a vet who actually cares about the animals.. our Banfield is the best thing that's happened to this area. I don't know about the others, but it's definitely worth looking into, I think. Especially if they're willing to work with you.. my vet is great.. he would rather eat the cost of something to help an animal than to charge $300 for a test that costs him virtually nothing so that the animal gets the treatment they need. Other Banfields may not be that way, though. I don't know.

On that point.. I was at the PetSmart today.. and this woman walked up to me out of the blue and asked me how to pill a cat. She told me that she'd had a stray that she took to one of the "stellar" vets around here.. and they wanted to charge her $300 to pill the stray. She said she told them, forget it.. I'll figure it out on my own. So, I helped her, and told her about Banfield here. She didn't have anything good to say about this vet, which is supposed to be one of the top facilities in the DC metro area.

When our dog had to be put down, my vet was willing to come to our home to euthanize him.. he was 16 and it was difficult to transport him. The stellar vet refused. I guess my point on that was simply that it is possible that one vet is better than another.. but if you can't afford to have the vet do the things they want to do or your animal needs done, what good does that do?.. it's my opinion that you're going to get farther and get better results with a vet that is doing the tests, or helping as much as they're able, rather than a vet who is dismissing the case because the client doesn't have the capital to pay $4000 a vet visit.

In any case, I'm so glad that the little one has passed on whatever was blocking. I'm very glad it has a happy ending.
post #17 of 20
You know, you guys... honestly, while it's something everyone wishes (well, everyone here) they could change.. you're doing good work regardless of the fact that you're losing a rescue or foster sometimes. It's horrid to lose any of them, but you've got to remember how many you're helping. I'm so glad that little kitten is okay, but I do see why rescues can't afford to take every cat to the vet.

Very wise words!

I have fostered 100+ kittens since last April, and yes, it is an absolute nightmare when you have lost a foster without going to a vet. (sometimes even when going to a vet.) but you MUST focus on all the little ones that are now alive, safe and being loved in a forever home.

I remember an instance w/a foster that was very sick and I had to make a decision whether to euthanize or not...with tears flowing to the floor at the vets. office, I remember asking him "how do you do this everyday?"....his answer will remain with me forever...he said "this is why they have 4 and 6 and sometimes even 8 to a litter"...as someone who rescues, we throw everything we have against good ole' Mother Nature and sometimes we just don't win.

Glad your little one is okay & keep on doing what your doing...not easy being a foster mom...nor someone who rescues...go grab a kitten and give him a great big kiss on those little kitten lips
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by scoomoo View Post
My worst nightmare (which is what I worried about a few nights ago) is that I lose a kitten to something that is treatable. I am the only one who usually sees my fosters and I fear an innocent death on my hands. Again, fortunately my kitten is doing great and will be able to go to a new home soon.
The work you do must be very hard. And I think it's easy to focus on the bad things that happen, on the one poor innocent kitten that dies. But think of all the kittens you have saved, whose lives would have been lost without you. Yes, if I were you I too would fear an "innocent death on my hands" and I would find the situation absolutely devastating. But there are so many innocent lives you've saved. Innocent lives you've saved due to your own efforts, your own care and your own compassion. And that is something you need to be proud of and focus on.

I'm so glad your little one is healthy, happy and alive. You should be very proud of that too.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of your kind words. Whenever things aren't going well, I try to think that I am giving them the ony shot they would have. If it weren't for me they would be dead. I know this particular litter would have been euthanized at the high kill shelter they were at, or starved/froze outside.

However, I can't help see each kitten as an individual. I have bottle fed, woken up in the middle of the night, medicated, spent countless cash, and endless time to get healthy, happy kittens. With so much invested in each kitten, I can't and don't want to take it lightly. I wish the rescue saw them as I do, but I know they don't. A nameless face to everyone else is a cherished kitten with personality and hope to me.
post #20 of 20
I know exactly how you feel, and it's totally understandable. You get so attached to them.. especially when you've effectively been their mother. When I did rescue, it broke my heart to let them go to a new home, let alone when I'd lose one. Nothing really makes it feel any better. It's times like that especially (as well as every couple of days) that makes me think I should have gone to vetrinary school and spent my life helping animals and helping people to help animals. If I ever strike it rich, I think I'm going to open my own shelter and work with rescue groups, and offer extremely low cost vetrinary care to those who qualify, and to rescue groups. I'd love to be able to offer "at cost" to rescue groups and those working with rescues.

I hate to see animals in this situation.
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