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Please Help! Sick kitten (time sensitive!!)

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I posted this in the pregnant cat/kitten care forum also, but then realized it might go better here:
Let me start off by saying that we have a large number of stray cats that hang around our property (people have a bad habit of dumping animals near our house) that we try to take care of, on top of the household pets we have, so I will probably be posting here a lot.
One of the stray mothers (we've been calling her "Gray Mama") had a litter of kittens outside a few weeks ago. We *think* they're about 5-6 weeks old. All but one of them seems to do alright with kitten replacement milk, canned food, and softened solid kitten food. However, one of them has wound up with blocked bowels. We took him to the vet, and the vet gave him an injection of some kind of stool softener, and some fluids. He suggested half a teaspoon of Karo syrup mixed with the replacement milk for a couple of days as well. For a couple of days, the kitten seemed to perk up a little bit, and even started drinking the replacement milk from a dish on his own (we were having to hand-feed him the milk, as obviously he didn't have much of an appetite). Now today he's acting like he feels even worse than he did to begin with. He has used the litter box a couple of times, but didn't manage to pass much, and what he did pass looked like he'd been eating and not digesting dried fruit :/. I'm very concerned at this point, as he's no longer eating on his own, and is losing weight rapidly (it's very difficult to get him to swallow a lot of the milk when hand-feeding him the milk, and I'm afraid to push it too much, because I don't want to choke him or anything). The vet had told us that they didn't like to try to do surgery on young kittens (and he did say that normally that's how they would handle this type of extreme blockage) because they don't handle the anesthesia very well. Are there any other alternatives we can consider before we take the high risk that comes with surgery on such a small kitten? Have any of you encountered a situation like this with any success? We really love this little guy, and I don't want to just give up on him, it just doesn't seem right . I don't feel like he has a lot of time if we don't do something more soon.
post #2 of 20
I wish I had an answer for you. I am sending you good vibes, I hope your kitty gets better. I agree 100% , that you cannot give up. I hope somone from this site has an answer for you soon.
post #3 of 20
I've added a little bit of fish oil to meals when past kittens seemed to be having problems with constipation. You may even have to try a different brand of formula. Are you using a power or canned formula?

I'm not sure if it would be safe for cats, but when lizards get impacted it's suggested to give them a little (let them lick a small amount off your finger) of plain mineral oil, plus light rubbing of their bellies to help get things moving. You could ask the vet about this or if there's anything else you can give just the one kitten to help it.
post #4 of 20
I wish I could help, but I have no idea what to suggest. Hopefully, someone who will know what to recommend will read the thread, and be able to help you out..

Poor baby! I hope he'll be okay..

~KK~
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
I've added a little bit of fish oil to meals when past kittens seemed to be having problems with constipation. You may even have to try a different brand of formula. Are you using a power or canned formula?

I'm not sure if it would be safe for cats, but when lizards get impacted it's suggested to give them a little (let them lick a small amount off your finger) of plain mineral oil, plus light rubbing of their bellies to help get things moving. You could ask the vet about this or if there's anything else you can give just the one kitten to help it.
We have used both powdered and canned. In fact we had some premixed that came in a box (like a juice box) that had electrolytes in it that they seemed to like quite a bit. We mostly use the powdered because then we don't have to worry about open containers in the fridge that may not stay good very long. I wonder if maybe the powdered formula is exacerbating the problem?
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
update: a little while ago, the little guy threw up. the vomit actually smelled like poo. I thought maybe he had actually pooed but he had it on his face/chin,so I realized what had happened. I found this pretty distressing, however, the knotted areas in his abdomen do not seem to be as rigid as they were before. Should I be encouraged, or freaked out? Not that I'm not already pretty freaked out right now .
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by crankydoll View Post
We have used both powdered and canned. In fact we had some premixed that came in a box (like a juice box) that had electrolytes in it that they seemed to like quite a bit. We mostly use the powdered because then we don't have to worry about open containers in the fridge that may not stay good very long. I wonder if maybe the powdered formula is exacerbating the problem?
It could be. My family used to foster human babies, and it seemed they always has a harder time digesting the powdered type of formula. One could only tolerate the ready-to-feed liquid.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by crankydoll View Post
update: a little while ago, the little guy threw up. the vomit actually smelled like poo. I thought maybe he had actually pooed but he had it on his face/chin,so I realized what had happened. I found this pretty distressing, however, the knotted areas in his abdomen do not seem to be as rigid as they were before. Should I be encouraged, or freaked out? Not that I'm not already pretty freaked out right now .
That doesn't sound good. Does his breath smell like that too?
I'm wondering if there's a blockage of some sort or maybe a kink in the intestines. Best to call your vet, now.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
That doesn't sound good. Does his breath smell like that too?
I'm wondering if there's a blockage of some sort or maybe a kink in the intestines. Best to call your vet, now.
We are heading up to the vet as soon as someone gets home with a car :s. My husband is a substitute teacher, and doesn't get home until after 3:30pm. The woman I talked to on the phone at the vet's office suggested a mild laxative they can give us over the counter, but now I'm even more concerned about his trowing up when he's not getting much down in the first place. They're about 5-minutes' drive from me so when I go in to see about the laxative, I'll update them on what all has happened this afternoon and see what they think we should do. I'm wondering if it might not be a better option to leave him in their care for a day or two so he can get IV fluids and such. I don't know how we're going to afford all this (we're so ridiculously broke right now), but I'll hate myself forever if I don't try everything I can. I'm so afraid they'll tell me to just have him put down, because he's so young, and I don't know if I can do it . The little guy's father (a feral stray who started coming around a few months ago, beautiful gray/white tom) got run over by some teenagers speeding down our road the other day, so I feel doubly bad about all this .
I will post an update when we get back from the vet's office.
post #10 of 20
Could be worms, have they been dewormed?
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crankydoll View Post
We are heading up to the vet as soon as someone gets home with a car :s. My husband is a substitute teacher, and doesn't get home until after 3:30pm. The woman I talked to on the phone at the vet's office suggested a mild laxative they can give us over the counter, but now I'm even more concerned about his trowing up when he's not getting much down in the first place. They're about 5-minutes' drive from me so when I go in to see about the laxative, I'll update them on what all has happened this afternoon and see what they think we should do. I'm wondering if it might not be a better option to leave him in their care for a day or two so he can get IV fluids and such. I don't know how we're going to afford all this (we're so ridiculously broke right now), but I'll hate myself forever if I don't try everything I can. I'm so afraid they'll tell me to just have him put down, because he's so young, and I don't know if I can do it . The little guy's father (a feral stray who started coming around a few months ago, beautiful gray/white tom) got run over by some teenagers speeding down our road the other day, so I feel doubly bad about all this .
I will post an update when we get back from the vet's office.

Also, I should probably clarify something. None of these stray kittens ever go back out to the wild after we catch them. Once we catch them, we tame/socialize them (it's remarkably easy for me to tame down feral kittens, I have no idea why) and find them homes locally. We've been trying for some time to put together enough money to get all the strays we can catch fixed, but some of them are just impossible to catch, and it's enormously expensive, as there are very few places within any reasonable driving distance from our home where we can get discount/free spaying/neutering. Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that we're not by choice leaving strays outside (if I had the money and my way we'd build them their own house and keep them all indoors where they could be safe/warm/loved), and definitely not leaving the kittens out to fend for themselves in any way. We do everything we can to get them good homes, and usually do not have any problem finding homes for them.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwright View Post
Could be worms, have they been dewormed?
They have not yet been wormed, because as I said, we're not quite positive of their ages. We *think* they're about 5-6 weeks old, but their mother disappeared for some time so we aren't exactly sure when they were born. The other kittens from the litter seem in perfect health, their gums are a healthy color, they eat well, play/sleep normally, and are already litter trained (all of the kittens from the strays outside seem to be really smart and easy to tame/train).
post #13 of 20
See if you can find a local no kill shelter to help you out with this! They will usually have low cost spay/neuter clinics. Around here it runs about $34 to get a kitty fixed at the local no kill shelter.
post #14 of 20
Take some of the other kittens poop to the vet. If one has worms, they all do, the vet can find the parasites in the kitten poop pretty cheap and easy.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
We had to have the little guy put down . He just wasn't in any shape to handle surgery and still make it, and she said there was no chance of him getting better. She agreed with me that he had probably swallowed a string or something similar, that had wound up in his insides. I feel horribly, horribly guilty now, I've never had to have an animal put down before. I know rationally I probably made the right choice, but I also feel really guilty that I didn't at least have them *try* the surgery.
I just spent about two hours outside trying to catch (with no success so far) one of the older stray females outside, as we have an appointment to get a kitty spayed in the morning (an appointment I was unaware that we had, but hey, I'll take it). I am freezing my rear off, so I am going to have a glass of vino, stop bawling, and go watch for a kitty in the trap.
Thanks everyone for your well-wishes and advice and support. This seems like a really great community .
post #16 of 20
This story was heart wrenching, but it does sound like you made the right choice. It also sounds like you are doing an incredible amount of good in the world, and should not doubt yourself.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by darfanme View Post
This story was heart wrenching, but it does sound like you made the right choice. It also sounds like you are doing an incredible amount of good in the world, and should not doubt yourself.
Thanks. I know I'm trying.
The thing that's really getting under my skin right now is this: On Saturday my husband first brought the kitten in to the vet's office. There are 3 vets who work in that office. The first vet who saw the kitten said he was just constipated, probably because he wasn't handling dry food well yet. At that point the kitten hadn't begun to really lose weight, and still had some energy. Today another vet from the same office saw him, and said that yes, it was probably a string or something he swallowed, and the only way to fix it was surgery, which he was no longer in shape for. Meaning, he'd lost too much weight and was too dehydrated/shocky to handle the surgery. So, it keeps going around in my head that if the first vet had made this diagnosis initially, he would have been in better shape to handle the surgery, and would have had more of a chance of recovery, whereas by today he was left with no chance of recovery regardless of what we did.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by crankydoll View Post
So, it keeps going around in my head that if the first vet had made this diagnosis initially, he would have been in better shape to handle the surgery, and would have had more of a chance of recovery, whereas by today he was left with no chance of recovery regardless of what we did.
Right, so it was the vet's error. Though, it may not even be the vet's fault; things can go rapidly downhill with cats, especially kittens. A lot of us know this from unfortunate experience. It truly sounds like you did everything that you could with the information you were given . . . . and think of all the other kittens/cats that you're saving! And yes, by all means, have some vino!
post #19 of 20
I'm so sorry to hear that you lost the little guy. But I don't think that you should be so hard on yourself: it sounds like you did everything you could, and the little guy was lucky to have you as his meowmy during his short lifespan. You did all that you could. If anyone's "at fault", it's the vet who first looked at him and misdiagnosed what was wrong w/ the little guy....

My heart goes out to you.

RIP, little one.

~KK~
post #20 of 20
Sorry to hear the kitten had to be PTS. Even if the kitten had been healthy, surgery would be really tough on one so young.
Don't blame yourself for not catching it sooner. It's completely possible that the problem was not something the kitten ate, so you can't blame yourself for that either.

Have you checked into spay and neuter coupons? Make sure to ask around the stray and feral section,if you haven't already. Surely they can give you some tips for handling cost and catching the trickier cats.
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