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Failure to thrive....HELP!!

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
I just brought home four kittens just old enough that their eyes just opened today. I have already had one aspirate. The mother was sick(upper resp) and she began to shun them. I am pretty sure they are failure to thrive (as is my vet). Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help these guys? Anything,...please.
post #2 of 64

This website was prepared specifically to help people such as yourself that want to save the orphaned babies. Keep them warm, that is paramount- there are instructions on the website to make a snugglesack, it works really well for compromised kitties
post #3 of 64
Thread Starter 
Thank you Hissy. I am a foster parent for the local humane society and even though these are definately not my first babies they are the first with failure to thrive. I am really nervous. Mainly because one has already aspirated. Thank you Emergency Vets!!(Animal Planet)
post #4 of 64
When you say failure to thrive, are they ill, small, weak? The key for these kittens is warmth. Use any of the techniques on that website but you will need to keep them warmer than you'd think. Are they showing signs of a URI?

When you say one has already aspirated, do you mean inhaled formula or through tube feeding?

Make sure they aren't dehydrated. There are two ways to check for dehydration:

Pinch test - Gently pull the skin up on the back of the cat's neck and release. If the cat is well hydrated, the skin will snap back into position in a second. If the cat is dehydrated, there will be a 'tent' in the skin that takes longer to go back into place.

Gum test - With clean hands, lift the cats lip and gently press on the gum and release. The gum should turn white for a second and then return to a nice pink colour. If the gum stays pale or is greyish, the cat is dehydrated.

You need to also make sure they aren't hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar). Make up some pedialyte half and half with some boiled, cooled water, warm the mixture slightly and slowly feed this with a syringe. This will raise the blood sugar level slowly and also replace electrolytes.
post #5 of 64
About the little one that aspirated, did he die? How are you feeding them at the moment? Are they refusing to feed? If so, you may need to get the vet or vet tech to show you how to tube-feed the little ones as forcing formula into them using just a syringe or bottle (even gently) can be dangerous.
post #6 of 64
You have gotten some good advice..i hand reared three of my four babies. Jellie and bellie were sick when i got them. good vet care, and alot of work helped them to come along as they are now. I used a snuggle sack to keep them warm, had to wipe their little tushies to make them potty...and i used an eyedropper for food..the site there has alot more techinal information than I could offer.
post #7 of 64
Thread Starter 
They are small, weak and refusing to feed for any significant amount. The one that aspirated did quit breathing twice now i am regreting helping him breath again. He is not doing well. The vet said there is nothing more he could do than i already am. He inhaled formula. One of the others is continuously crying-his tummy is hard and round. The others have relived themselves with warm water/stimulation. I just got off of your website and i need to go get some rice. I have been using a heating pad and i can not get it regulated. No sign of URI
post #8 of 64
It does sound like they will need to be tube-fed. They may also need subcutaneous fluids. The one that has the hard round belly is crying because he is in great pain. Please take him and the others back to the vet for reassesment and treatment. If he cannot relieve the little one's pain quickly, it may be best to let him go.
post #9 of 64
Thread Starter 
I have a call into the vet. The little guy with the hard belly is sleeping on his back, but i am not comfortable with his breathing. The other one that aspirated is barely hanging in. I put two large rice socks in with them (thank you for that advice on your website) As far as tube feeding, i have to check with the shelter director for funds avalibility. I can not do that until tomorrow. I need to get them through the night right now. According to your website these guys are 5 days old.
post #10 of 64
OK, you're going to have a long night. For the one that aspirated, swaddle him in a thin towel with just his head poking out, hold him in both hands, face up with his head furthest from you. Swing your arms downward in a sweeping motion. Be careful to hold him firmly of course. Do this 3-4 times. What you're doing is forcing the fluid from his lungs.

To get them through the night, feed them formula that has been diluted with a further 1/4 of the amount of the boiled, cooled water that you used to make up the formula. Only use a syringe if you have a small one - 5, 3 or even 1ml. Feed very, very slowly and wait until the kitten has swallowed before you give more.

For the one with the very sore tummy, there is not much you can do if you cannot see a vet. It may be FIP. Keep him warm, offer him only the diluted pedialyte drop by drop.
post #11 of 64
I have not much experience in your situation but I'm here supporting you and reading this thread. I know Kimbulu's experience is expert,. We are sending big hugs and all the best vibes in the world to you and your kittens, Fesavdme!

P.S. I just read your update below and I will pray for you! My heart goes out to you, as we lost Freddie, our beloved kitten, from FeLV about a year ago. That is something I do know about.
post #12 of 64
Thread Starter 
The dip you are talking about with the one that aspirated I have done earlier. Should i continue? How often? The one with the sore tummy has not had a stool. I lost a Feleuk+ cat to FIP 3 weeks ago. This looks more like a potty problem though i am not a vet. I honestly pray it is a potty problem. FIP is terrible!!! I have the coffee on....please pray for these guys.
post #13 of 64
Thread Starter 
The one that aspirated just quit breathing. He has gone to a place he can breath fine now.;(
post #14 of 64
Is there someone you can call to help you with this overwhelming responsibility? Any crazy cat lady that you know of or that your vet might know of that can take these little ones off your hands? I know it is a daunting responsibility to take care of orphaned kittens especially if they are health compromised, that is why Tania and I put together Kitten-rescue.com to help when this happens.

It really sounds like you are overwhelmed a bit, and that is understandable. These little ones did not get the much-needed moms milk with her antibodies to help them get through the rough patches. They really sound like they should be tube fed- are you qualified to do this? There is a website that helps with this, has a video feed and everything, I just need to find it
post #15 of 64
here you go= BUT don't attempt this without someone in the room that has done this before and knows what they are doing-


Good luck!
post #16 of 64
Thread Starter 
No unfortunately there isn't anyone. The director asked me to take them because no one else would. I have successfully hand reared kittens as young as 6 days but never with these problems. I have 7 cats of my own and one other foster kitten(9 weeks old-socialization issues) i am sorry if i sound overwhelmed. Like anyone else, i just hate losing babies of any age.
post #17 of 64
it's totally understandable as they are dependant on you to do everything for them, not only feeding, but burping, and pooping them. I do agree with tania that the little one with the hard belly really needs a vet quickly. You could be combatting more than just what happens with orphaned kittens, they could have something genetic or disease-born that they are fighting-
post #18 of 64
Thread Starter 
I agree he needs to see a vet. I called over an hour ago and just put in another call. He is the on call vet, not my own. I just wish he would call back. As far as disease goes..I know mama kitty was neg for FIV & Feleuk. Beyond that, well nothing. Tube feeding i am not qualified for but i am a quick learner. Again i will have to contact my vet tomorrow.
post #19 of 64
Thread Starter 
The vet finally called. They are too young to do anything that i am not already doing. My vet comes in at 6 am so if nothing changes with the baby with the belly I am taking him to see Doc. Thank you for all your advice and support. Everyday you learn one new thing is a day gone unwasted.
post #20 of 64
Originally Posted by fesavdme
The dip you are talking about with the one that aspirated I have done earlier. Should i continue? How often? The one with the sore tummy has not had a stool. I lost a Feleuk+ cat to FIP 3 weeks ago. This looks more like a potty problem though i am not a vet. I honestly pray it is a potty problem. FIP is terrible!!! I have the coffee on....please pray for these guys.
I hand raised 3 orphans from 10 days old. The little one with the hard tummy who hasn't had a bowel movement may need an enema. The vet can do this. Mine had to have several enemas as their bowels wouldn't move at first either.

I made a bed for mine in a small cat carrier lined with fleece (changed at least daily) with a small baby hotwater bottle underneath. I also put in a piece of rabbit fur and a ticktock clock. They all snuggled into the fur seeking the warmth. I kept a very careful check on the temperature making sure it wasn't too hot or getting cool on them, and a put a cover over the outside of the carrier to help keep the warmth in. This may be something that you can use as well - especially overnight.

Hang in there and good luck! We'll be praying for you.

post #21 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quick update. I took the little guy with the sore tummy to the vet at 6 this morning. His temp was at a good 93 degrees but his breathing was poor. To make a long story short the vet was unsure why he was doing so poorly. He sent me home with a tube feeder (and showed me how to first). I knew by this afternoon he was not going to make it. I just lost him a little while ago. Two remain and really only have hopes for one. The other is beginning the poor breathing. I am doing all i can and a little bit of what i did not know how to yesterday. Your prayers and advice are greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!
post #22 of 64
I'll be keeping you and the two little ones in my thoughts...
post #23 of 64
I am sorry they are failing on you. Just do your best, for that is all you can do.
post #24 of 64
Your two little babies and you are in my thoughts!
post #25 of 64
Just saw this, thoughts and prayers for you and the two remaining little ones. Best wishes and hugs too.
post #26 of 64
It's always so hard when you lose little ones, however long they've been with you. Good luck with the remaining two. Unfortunately, sometimes it's just not meant to be. Something that I have found can turn a sick kitten around is Nutri Drops. Just one drop on the tongue once a day can often do wonders.
post #27 of 64
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice Kumbulu. Would Nutrical be o.k.? Thanks to everyone for your support. We still have two. One is still doing better than the other right now. Sorry this is so short, but you wonderful people understand. I will keep you posted. Thanks again.
post #28 of 64
I have also just caught up with this thread - how wonderful you are for trying to save these little ones
my thoughts are with the two that are on their way to the rainbow bridge , the 2 remaining and of course you.

you have a support squad here and we dont mind about short updates - just update us when we can.
Your doing a wonderful job trying to do all you can for these precious babies - you have some good advise and members here on your side
post #29 of 64
Nutrical is a different product but yes, a blob the size of a match-head spread on their tongue twice a day will help.
post #30 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quick update. Unfortunately we are down to one baby left. We lost one early this morning. The last one is bottle feeding and doing it well. His temp is good and his breathing sounds o.k.. He is showing signs of URI though. The vet says there is nothing more he can do, we are doing everything possible. Pray and hope for a miracle. The kitten seems to be fairly strong, for as much as you can tell at this age. Its going on three nights with 2 and a half hours sleep in three intervals. I am truley not sure where i am getting the strength from but i am thankful. I know ya all have calmed me more than once knowing all the prayers and thoughts going out for these little angels. THANK YOU!! I will keep posting as i can.
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