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Off-balance kitten and specific treatments and diagnoses

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello, I'm new to this forum and I have a few immediate problems with one of my new kittens. Our family's cat gave birth to 4 (or 5) kittens, and well now one of them is falling ill. See, he's losing his balance, and has lost his appetite for any solids; he'd only suckle and that's it. He can't stand up or anything and can't move in a straight line.

I assume it's likely something to do with his ears. It's either an ear infection of some sort or an infestation of ear mites. Our little Blob (that's his name, we assume he was the one who came out first, who wasn't even breathing at first and was at such bad shape we thought it was a miscarriage; hours later we think it lived, hence the name) was doing really fine until now, and we're pretty worried we might lose him. He spends his days playing alone in dirty places, and he has big ears. Are these things normal for kittens? Ands should I isolate him?

I'm asking for any advice (when it comes to any form of medication), any help narrowing the diagnosis, or anything to help the kitten out through the experience. I'll see if we can send Blob to a vet ASAP, if he can't fight it off. and yes, I cleaned his ears.

BTW Blob is a 7 week old kitten, likely the first of his litter of 4 (or 5, if that other kitten we thought was dead wasn't actually him), an orange tabby cat with big ears.

Many thanks to anyone who can help
Joey A., Philippines
post #2 of 12
What exactly do you mean by big ears?If he was the first oe born and there was complications it may be some kind of brain damage!I would definatly get him to a vet ASAP just to be sure he is ok.....Good luck and I will keep your Little Blob in my prayes!!
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Blob's ears are proportionally bigger than his head, and are slightly bigger than all his siblings. His ears are also undoubtedly the dirtiest owing to his weird play habits, which is why I assume this is likely an infection of sorts.

What troubles me about the brain-damage idea is why he only got this now when he was completely normal the first seven weeks, and was way ahead of his brother and sisters during the first week. Although I'm not quite sure of who exactly was first to come out (we all think it was him, but I have doubts; for all we know the first born actually died and Blob came out soon after), if by chance it was him, he would have been nearly asphyxiated until mommy came and licked him to life (that's what we think happened; we didn't witness the birth ourselves).

I'll get him checked as soon as I can; unfortunately I have a short budget since I'm at the middle of fixing my saltwater tank; this is an emergency, though so I guess that can wait- If it is an infection (which is actually what I'm hoping), I don't want it spreading to the other kittens.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
BTW, thanks for the message and for that emergency heads-up; I never thought it might be brain damage.
post #5 of 12
When Whiskers had kittens in 1979 all where fine then Mittens acted just like that and he could not use his back legs anymore and he died.
It was brain damage.
post #6 of 12
Joey, it's possible it could be a neurological problem, but hopefully it's an ear infection that is causing these symptoms. Also, I don't think that your kitten's big ears necessarily have anything to do with his balance - it just makes him unique!

My eldest cat suddenly developed balance problems, was even falling over at times. It was truly frightening. We were lucky enough to be able to bring her to a neurologist. We feared the worst (possible brain tumor) but it turned out to be a middle ear infection. Many vets would not have diagnosed that, because there were no obvious symptoms such as head shaking, or ear scratching. Because it was the middle ear, signs of inflammation wouldn't be seen during a typical exam.

The neurologist prescribed Zeniquin, an antibiotic. My girl was on it for a year (some cats are on it indefinitely, depending on the severity of infection).
We stopped it after consulting with our regular vet and the neurologist, and my kitty's fine, though she still gets a little off balance sometimes if she looks up while trying to walk.

I hope you can find a vet who'll be able to accurately diagnose your kitten's condition. In the meantime, I'd try to keep him out of those dirty places - you don't need him getting into something that might make him sick on top of the problem he already has.

PS - Is there any way that you can get your mom cat spayed? Seems you've got your hands full with 5 cats - more will certainly put lots of pressure on your budget. Mom cat will also be happier and healthier if she's spayed.
post #7 of 12
Was Momma cat vaccinated for panleukopenia? There are a couple of things that can cause neurological imbalances in kittens. Cerebellar hypoplasia is the most common.

this is a video of another little kitten with it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLlL24shW7E

and the Wiki definition of it

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebel...sia_(non-human)


If this is indeed what is wrong with Blob he can live a long, happy, healthy life. He will just be a little different.
post #8 of 12
I agree with the others that it might be a neurological problem. I think a trip to the vet ASAP is in order.

Sending vibes your way in the mean time

Keep us posted?
post #9 of 12
You ~must~ see your vet for a proper diagnosis, but if I had to guess, this sounds a whole lot like a very common disorder called Vestibular Disease that can frequently appear just "all of a sudden" in a kitten . The symptoms are just as you have described and you may or may not notice all of them - the head tilts to one side, eyes dart back and forth, walking is off balance (usually toward the side the head tilts). It is a truly disturbing thing to see in a baby like that. Once you've seen your vet (and if he tells you that the baby does have Vestibular Disease) my breeder friend recently cared for a kitten with this condition and I can get a list together for you to help the baby be more comfortable doing things like eating, drinking and potty'ing. It's not known how Vestibular Disease actually begins, but the good news is that it usually self-resolves in 2 to 6 weeks.

That all now being said, it is extremely important to have a vet do a complete exam and work up with blood panels, possibly X-rays and/or other tests to rule out any other possibilities which may or may not indicate a brain disorder, injury, poisoning, ear infections and more. Once this is done and all other possibilities are ruled out, then making the baby comfortable and taking precautions against possibly falling from furniture or stairs while suffering this vestibular disturbance is the next step.

Please go to the vet and let us know what they say?
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I certainly hope I could find a competent vet; our cats are strays, and they're not normally sent to the vet in this country, which may weird out the good doctor. Also, business has been slow for mom and she doesn't have that much as of yet. I'd pay for it myself, but I have to convince mom first if it's for the best.

The big ears are cute; that and a bunch of other cute features make him look just like his daddy (we own 7 cats, not just 5; dad, mom, auntie Terry, and the quartet). We never had a whole litter (Momma Ross and her sister both had previous single-kitten births; they both died) before and this is why I'm pretty rattled. Although we're getting them adopted eventually, fact is, we'd be crushed if even one of them died.

And yes, I do plan on getting Ross spayed. I always have. We just wanted to have a litter first so we can experience the joy of seeing kittens grow up. We'll let the ladies have at least one or two successful litters adopted out before we spay them.

Admittedly my mom's more than willing to spend money on cute cat clothes, she never once thought of sending them to get shots (we wait annually for our city's free rabies inoculations). And surprisingly none of our cats so far has died of illness -- they get run over by incoming cars or get whisked away by studs and never return.

As much as I'd want to send the entire litter to a vet for check ups, I don't often have the time or money as I'm in college and it's costing my parents a tap. Rest assured, I will try to get Blob to the vet ASAP.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittymonsters View Post
Was Momma cat vaccinated for panleukopenia? There are a couple of things that can cause neurological imbalances in kittens. Cerebellar hypoplasia is the most common.

this is a video of another little kitten with it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLlL24shW7E

and the Wiki definition of it

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebel...sia_(non-human)


If this is indeed what is wrong with Blob he can live a long, happy, healthy life. He will just be a little different.
Oh boy... for one thing the cat in the video looks a lot like Blobbers, only fatter, and when he grew up he looked somewhat like Blob's dad. Of all possible cases this seems likely, because when he was a young kitten I picked Blob up from a basket and somehow dropped him (the fall was gentle, I swear, and he fell inside the basket). Then again, erstwhile vestibular illness isn't ruled out yet, and so is infection. A trip to the vet may confirm this. Until then, keep your fingers crossed.

And no, we haven't vaccinated the cats for anything; I'm not sure if the vets here in the Philippines have that, since I hear next to nothing of it here.

PS: Blob and his same-colored brother Shorty are doing well. Blob's still shaky but he doesn't quite fall over anymore and he seems to get his balance. He's eating well too. I'm still worried that if it is an infection, it might spread to his siblings; Shorty might soon get it, since they're inseparable.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeabuy1000 View Post
And yes, I do plan on getting Ross spayed. I always have. We just wanted to have a litter first so we can experience the joy of seeing kittens grow up. We'll let the ladies have at least one or two successful litters adopted out before we spay them.

Admittedly my mom's more than willing to spend money on cute cat clothes, she never once thought of sending them to get shots (we wait annually for our city's free rabies inoculations). And surprisingly none of our cats so far has died of illness -- they get run over by incoming cars or get whisked away by studs and never return.

Joey, since you've already "experiened the joy of seeing kittens grow up", I sincerely hope that you *do not* "let the ladies have at least one or two successful litters adopted out before we spay them".

Sadly, there is a cat overpopulation problem in the Philippines. You're a person who obviously loves and cares about cats. Please do not add to the tragedy of too many cats by allowing your females to have litters.

www.caraphil.org
http://www.animaladvocates.multiply....otos/album/153

Cats do not need to have a litter before being spayed - in fact, it's preferable that they are spayed before going into heat, and no later than 6 months of age in order to prevent mammary cancer.

There is also no way to ensure that the people to whom you give kittens will be responsible enough to have those kittens neutered. If they don't, think of the amount of unwanted kittens that will now be produced from the kitten you've given them. The cycle just continues unless people spay/neuter and do not allow their cats to breed.

Please make spay/neutering a priority for every cat you bring into your home.
If you can't spay/neuter right away, make sure to keep them indoors.

I'm sad to hear that you've had cats run over by cars. But I doubt that some of your cats are getting "whisked away by studs never to return". They are probably getting killed by cars also, or by roaming dogs or even falling victim to cruel people who poison or try to hurt them. Please consider keeping your cats indoors for their safety. Cats can live very happy lives inside with a bit of effort from the people who love them.

BTW, glad to hear Blob's doing better.
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