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Kitten coughing, need some insight...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My husband and I adopted a 5 month old kitten last wednesday from one of the animal rescue societies here in Oklahoma. He was very active and playful and sweet and talkative, and we just KNEW that he would make a great addition to our family (we have two other cats). And we will, we've just got to get him BETTER!

See, Charlie has a cough. He crouches down and starts to hack as though he needs to get a hairball up, but nothing ever comes. We took him to the vet last Friday and she gave us a laundry list of ailments (to go with our laundry list of symptoms). His key players are bronchopneumonia, gingivitis, and worms. We had them give him a de-wormer and once he passed them he started eating very healthily, but along with his newfound appetite we noticed that he is drinking a LOT of water. It's hard to tell if he is unusually thirsty because we have only had him for a week and he's been sick the entire time, so we haven't had any "normal" behavior established in regards to his eating and drinking and relieving himself. I give him a full bowl of water in the afternoon and, for the last 3 days, by the next morning it is bone dry. This morning, I found a tooth in his bowl.

The vet put him on Azithromycin for the pneumonia and he's taken that since Friday. Sometimes it seems as though his coughing fits have decreased in frequency, but they have definitely not gone away and he still isn't coughing anything up. I'm beginning to wonder if this medicine is actually helping... There isn't really a method to the coughing (I was wondering if maybe he had asthma, but he doesn't always have a fit after heavy exercise).

We have to take him back to the vet this evening to get his Advantage application that they forgot to give him last week (yeah...) and he also has a follow-up visit next monday. If anyone can think of anything else this might be, please let me know! This is a new-to-us veterinarian and so far, I'm not so happy with her.

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 9
While many of us may wish to be helpful, none of us are doctors, so it would not be at all helpful for us to say, "Oh, it could be ____!" If you have reservations about the doctor, you may want to find another and get a second opinion. Did this doctor run any tests or take any samples at all? I wonder how she diagnosed these ailments unless she took samples/ran tests. Has your kitten had the baseline innoculations? What is his history since he was rescued? I would definitely obtain any and all information available from the rescue organization, as this could be helpful to the vet and to your kitten.

The medicine(s) may be causing increased thirst; look at the insert that came with the medicine(s) for side effects, or go online and Google the medicine for a list of them.

You can buy Advantage at any Petco, PetsMart, or other "pet" supply store, or online at such sites as Drs. Foster & Smith (http://www.DrsFosterSmith.com ) so you may want to buy it that way rather than at the vet, as many vets charge more for meds than these businesses do. GOOD LUCK to little Charlie and to you and thank you for adopting him into your multicat family!
post #3 of 9
As Tarasgirl said, it could be anything. My first thought was either asthma, or possibly the FIP virus. The reason I mention FIP is b/c two of my cats have been diagnosed w/ it, and they have the same coughing/gagging symptoms when they have one of their flare-ups. They are both on Interferon to keep them in remission: so far, it seems to be working okay for them..

Your vet needs to run some tests to determine what's causing the coughing attacks. If you're not satisfied w/ your current vet, get another one. If it IS FIP (the dry form), it can be controlled, and the sooner, the better. I certainly don't mean to scare you, but if it is FIP, it needs to be addressed and taken care of.

I've noticed that Winchester (one of my FIP cats) seems to drink a lot sometimes too. I'm assuming it has something to do w/ the FIP: he seems to drink more when he's having a flare-up. Neither he or Geronimo (the other FIP cat) ever cough anything up either (with the exception of one time w/ Geronimo): but you can hear the congestion in their chests when they're having a flare-up. After the attack eases up, you don't hear anything again.

I hope your kitty will be okay, and it's nothing serious.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for chiming in y'all.

Charlie's feral mother was trapped by their foster mom. He has been with the foster since birth. She works with the rescue agency who has a deal with Petsmart, which is where we fell in love with him.

When my husband contacted her to tell her that Charlie is sick, she said that he had been fine at her house. We remembered that the kitten next door to him (with an open passageway to him) had a runny nose. Perhaps this is where it came from?

On our visit back to the vet today, he got his Advantage application and a new bottle of medicine. The tech explained to us that besides the incident that drove us there (my husband, before thinking, diluted the meds with water to facilitate easier suction into the applicator), apparently Azithromycin must be shaken VERY vigorously in order to keep it from settling. I hadn't been doing this. This makes sense because he was really making progress for the first two days he was on the medications, but then the progress halted.

She did run tests on him last week. We'll try the medicine again, and if by Monday (our follow-up appt.) he isn't doing any better, I'll definately bring up FIP.

My husband was military so we were stationed in Colorado Springs. There we had a PHENOMENAL vet who we still correspond with. She was caring and insightful and just a real blessing. Compared to her, every other vet we've been to here just doesn't stack up. After today's visit though, I'm a little happier with the one we're at now. Let's hope that trend continues!
post #5 of 9
Ask your vet to do an x-ray. My cat Holly Golightly coughed for unknown reasons as well when I rescued her from the street. I was worried it was an indicator of heart disease. So, the doctor took an x-ray and sent it to a specialist. The radiologist was able to rule out heart disease but spotted some stuff in her lungs. The vet ultimately diagnosed her with asthma. She then received shots and is somewhat ok but I need to vacuum daily to control the wheezing. I think the x-ray would be a great help in determing what's going on with your cat internally.
post #6 of 9
silly question what is the kitten eating???
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Will bring up asthma too on Monday if he's not better. Thanks!

He is currently on Royal Canin Kitten formula. I switched him over from the Iams that his foster mom was giving him.
post #8 of 9
Just another thought - what kitty litter are you using? Is it dusty? I personally won't use a clay litter with young kittens.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm using Tidy Cats multiple cat litter.
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