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Worried..my new kittens are sick

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I just recently adopted two 8 week old kittens. After recently losing my other cat to cancer I was sad beyond belief....I don't even have words to compare it. So I was suprised when I found myself adopting these little guys. I was given the info of tests they had (FIV/FELV and fecal) both were negative and they had a dewormer. I was told they were also having loose "kitty" stool. I had them for only 24 hours and took them to the emergency vet because I was not comfortable with their symptoms....frequent loose stools and then red, gunky/crusty eyes. After seven hours in the ER it turns out they have coccidiosis and an upper respiratory infection. They were put on three different meds and sent home with a follow up in 48 hours if no improvement. They are doing a little better. I actually took them to my vet today, even though it was before the 48 hour time period, just to be safe. The male poops more but seems more hardy. The female poops less fequently, but when she does she gets weak in her back legs and can't always support herself. She was the runt of the litter. My vet felt this problem with her was due to not being as strong yet and not neccesarily a neurlogical problem. She also takes much longer to eat and often seems to fall asleep while eating. As soon as I talk to her and pet her neck she starts to eat again. I am already so attached to them and hope they will be OK. Has anyone gone through something similiar?
post #2 of 8
I don't have any experience with the coccidia, but as to the URI, virtually all cats/kittens adopted from a shelter are likely to have it. A run of antibiotics is in order, plus possibly (check with your vet and others here) added L-Lysine in their food, since it is often the herpes virus that is infecting them, also.

I hope your kitties are soon doing better. That is very young to be so sick, isn't it?
post #3 of 8
I adopted a kitty at 7 mos who had both. The URI was very severe and we almost lost her. Because their bodies are so tiny and they're trying to fight off the infection, they'll sleep A LOT. Here's what helped our kitty with her URI:

Keep confined in a room with a vaporizer running.
Keep room a bit warmer than you would like. (Kitty body temps are slightly higher than our's.)
Provide lots of warm bedding.
Wash your hands with antibacterial soap after handling.
Feed wet food in small portions. We used Hill's a/d (or something like that) from the vet's until Hannah was on the road to recovery. Warming up the food enhances its smell. Warm it up by either microwaving for 10-15 seconds on low or by putting the bowl in a bit of warm water for 5 minutes. (I use a microwavable bowl and fill it about 1/4" of water in the bottom. Nuke on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave, place food dish in water and let warm for about 5 minutes.)
Leave dry food out for kitty as well.
Provide lots of fresh water.
If congested, put just a dot of baby Vick's on the nose out of reach of the tongue.
Clean the litterbox frequently and provide several of them. (I used aluminum cake pans with low sides.)
Spend lots of time with your little ones. TLC is sometimes the best medicine!

For your littlest one, I'd supplement with KMR and/or Kitten Glop.

Also, sometimes the meds can make their stools softer than normal. Defecating once a day is probably about normal, unless your kitty isn't eating much or is eating a lower quality food.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
The kittens seem to be doing a little better. There poops are firming a bit (they look kind of like soft yarn). They are on an antibiotic as well as an eye ointment for the URI. The URI doesn't seem anywhere near as serious as your kitty was. The coccidia was what really had them so sick. For the coccidia they are on Albon and then a powder which I can't recall the name of, but I believe they said is a probiotic. They are confined to my bedroom with four litter boxes. I clean them out each time they go (which was as frequently as every half hour) and wash the rake and then spray it with a bleach solutuion. The litter boxes now get new litter once a day, but when they were going more frequently I was changing it much more often. I have also had to give them several warm baths because they stepped or sat in the poop. They are now pooping every few hours. When I adopted the kittens she told me the vet was considering putting them on meds for the poop, but she wanted to hold off. This was nine days before I adopted them. It makes me mad because they could have been treated well before they got so sick.

They are both eating Nutro wet and would not eat the prescription diets we tried. I haven't found a dry food they will eat yet. I tried Innova, Nutro Natural and Sience Diet Nature's Best. I did buy a can of KMR for her, but haven't given it to her yet because I was afaid it might make her have loose stools again. I took this week off in hopes of giving them a jump start in getting better so they are getting lots of extra TLC!
post #5 of 8
I'm glad to hear you are going to try the KMR. Being that she was the runt it might do her some good to have a little extra nutrition. Another thing we do for sick kitties at our shelter is to add Chicken baby food (Gerber #2) in with the KMR. It thickens it up a bit and adds even more protine. Just make sure the baby food does not have any onions in it.

Unfortunately as someone already stated a lot of shelter cats have URI's.
I would encourage you to call your vet about how much L-Lysine to add. I know for an adult cat it is 500 mg daily for maintenance & 1000 mg when they have a herpes flare up. I just don't know what the right dose for a baby is.

Sounds like you are doing the right things for them. I hope they are better soon.
post #6 of 8
While a change of diet can cause loose stools, a liquid diet (KMR) is not going to cause more loose stools just because its a liquid. She has diarrhea because the coccidia parasite is damaging the cell wall of the intestines, and if anything, she needs fluid replacement to prevent dehydration.

You can check her hydration level by pinching the back of her neck, gently but firmly and pulling it away from her until taut. Then let go. It should snap back like a rubber band. The slower is falls back into place the more dehydrated she is, and if it doesn't sink back all the way then its significant and she may need subcutaneous hydration.

Don't worry about dry food at the moment, just make sure she's getting calories. All the wet food they can eat 3-5 times a day.

Albon is a standard treatment for coccidia, but because it doesnt actually kill the parasite (nothing will) what it does is prevent them from reproducing - so to fully rid her of the parasite she needs to be on the albon for an appropriate length of time, possibly even after her stool is firm again. Our rescue group's vet who sees a lot of coccidia does a 3 week protocal, 1 week on, 1 off, and then 1 on, usually. Your vet may do it differently but do *not* under treat her. Albon is safe, coccidia is not.

Coccidia is serious in young kittens and can kill them if untreated, but they usually recover fine with prompt attention.
post #7 of 8
Just one thought: You've been changing their food a lot, and any food change can (and usually does) cause stomach upset... plus the stress of illness and a new environment. That could be responsible for some of the intestinal symptoms. I would pick just one food and give it to them exclusively for a few weeks, so they can get used to it.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Emmylou, I have tried a few different brands of dry food however they wouldn't touch them. They came from eating EVO dry so I stayed with that and Sophistacat wet which I was told they wouldn't really eat. I was sent home with the foods and they definitely walked away from the Sophistacat. I tried mixing it with the Nutro and still no go so that is why I gave them straight Nutro wet. Once I gave the Nutro wet he stopped eating the dry and wants nothing to do with any dry food. She would pick at the EVO if she had to, but the other day she choked and now I am afraid to give it to her. I should have worded it better I guess to say that I have tried to give them several different foods (mixed in with the EVO dry) which they wouldn't eat any of. So the only real diet change from before is the switch to Nutro wet and since they wouldn't eat the mix I was more worried about them not eating than I was about the transition from one to the other. Their poops were really bad when I got them so I don't think it was from the change to Nutro.
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