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Upper Respiratory Infection & Coccida Parasite

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm new to this site and new to owning a cat. My husband and kids wanted a cat so we adopted one from the Humane Society. We've had him for three weeks. Within a week this kitten (approx 1 year) was extremely sick with a severe URI, he also tested positive for Coccida parasite. He had blood running out his nose, he was sneezing green boogers, he lost a pound in a matter of days, and he wouldn't eat or drink. He spent several days at the vet. He has been on several antibiotics - Zithromax, Clavamox and now Baytril, all for URI. He was on Albon until two days ago, stool check came back negative. He’s doing much better, but he’s still sneezing some with and without blood. Diarrhea is my concern now. The vet took him off Clavamox and put him on Baytril. I stopped the Clavamox two days ago, and he still has diarrhea. I just gave him his first dose of Baytril now, so I know it’s not from that. He’s been eating a lot (approx 7 oz per day) since he started eating again; now I’m wondering if it’s the food (Science Diet)?

We’ve had a dog for 14.5 years (since passed away) and currently have a indoor rabbit; I’ve never had this much sickness in one pet in 14.5 years let alone 3 weeks. Help!
post #2 of 12
HI, and welcome to TCS!

I understand what you're going through. URI's are extremely common in rescue cats- they have been under a lot of stress being at the shelter and having so many people handle them... and then being adopted and having to adjust to another new environment. Lilly got a terrible URI when I adopted her last year (many of the same symptoms you describe) and had a round of Clavamox.

Coccidia is a common parasite that affects kittens and puppies, but not usually adult animals whose systems can usually handle it. My new kitten, Leo, has coccidia right now. We adopted him Memorial Day weekend, and he started having problems this week (really loose stool, losing weight). He got a fecal exam Friday, and is now on Ditrim.

If your kitty is still having diarrhea, but isn't showing any parasites in its stool, you might ask about Reglan- it's a "catch all" intestine-clearing medicine, and does a good job of taking care of loose stool that they can't find a parasite for (some parasites are too small to be seen, even under the vet microscope).

You are right to be concerned about the diarrhea- it's extremely important for young kittens to stay hydrated. Call your vet if it doesn't appear to be getting enough fluids and food. Science Diet isn't the best food, but there's a huge debate about what is. You can search for threads about food brands and get lots of opinions. I feed my two Nutro.

I know you've had a rough few weeks with your kitty, but (unfortunately) all of these issues are pretty common in rescue kittens. You're already showing you're a wonderful meowmy to this baby by taking such good care of it! The good news is that all of these issues are pretty treatable, and then you'll have the wonderful healthy pet you were hoping for! Good luck!
post #3 of 12
Welcome, welcome!!

This sounds exactly like what we went through with Hannah when we got her in November, so don't feel like it's just your cat who's been through this. Time, along with the meds is the answer to the URI. It took Hannah a full 6 weeks to be totally over her URI. I'm really surprised we didn't lose her sometime that first week we had her.

For the diarhea, you might try giving your cat about a teaspoon of plain, unflavored yogurt. Be sure to keep him hydrated. You may also need to get some plain Pedialyte or make your own. There's a recipe here on the forums for it if you do a search.

Hope your little one is better soon!!

post #4 of 12
It took a combination of Baytril and medranizole to clear monoclonal parasites from my two boys, and it was six weeks before they were normal. So it can be a long haul. Good luck with him, I hope it sorts itself out soon.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone that replied.
post #6 of 12

URI and coccidia are common in cats who have had a rough time. Their immune systems are run down by poor nutrition and stress and they're susceptible to these kinds of things. He'll be fine in the long run but sometimes it's hard to believe that when it takes so long for them to feel better!

One antibiotic that is worth trying for the URI is doxycycline. It is useful against many microorganisms, including mycoplasma which are a fairly common cause of URI and are not susceptible to most other antibiotics. One option that might be worth exploring is a nasal smear with culture and sensitivity testing to find out exactly what is going on. By identifying the organisms specifically responsible for his illness, it makes it much easier for the doctor to choose to proper medication to make him feel better quickly.

As for his tummy, Coccidia can be extremely difficult to clear up. He needs to be on Albon for a minimum of 3 weeks even if his stool tests come back negative. The reason for this is that Albon only keeps coccidia from reproducing, it doesn't actually kill the organism. So as long as a few organisms are still alive, the infection can come back again pretty quickly. He should also be dewormed again, ideally with Drontal. It's also worthwhile supplementing him with probiotics such as Bene-Bac or Healthy Breath & Body, to help keep his healthy gut flora in balance while he is on so many antimicrobial drugs.

For his URI, another thing you might try is a product called Enisyl. It is a paste that contains L-lysine, which is an amino acid that is effective in treating feline herpes virus infections. Herpes is a very common cause of viral URI, which may be the problem underlying the more severe URI you're seeing. It's not likely to be a miracle cure but it definitely won't hurt and if he does have herpes, it will help keep him healthy once the antibiotics have taken care of the non-viral infection.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Very informative. Thanks.
post #8 of 12
When my cats had their URI, we gave them Enisyl. I think it really helps boost the immune system. Hannah, the really sick one, loved to lick it off my finger. Callie, my older stubborn cat, hated the stuff!!

post #9 of 12
Can I chime in? I'm fostering two kittens who also have coccidia; they've been on Albon for 4 days, and their diarrhea is getting worse, not better.

Tristan, I hope you don't mind if I ask questions within your thread, since we are experiencing similar problems...

I read in a thread from 2005 that you can give your kitten unsweetened, unprocessed pumpkin or apple pectin to help with the symptoms of diarrhea while they are being treated for the cause - is this true? I work all day, and their diarrhea is so severe that I worry about not being able to rehydrate them for such a long period. Plus, the diarrhea makes them "loose" with their choice of where to go (sorry about the pun!). I'm hoping that if their symptoms improve, they will be better about using the litter box instead of their new favorite spots on my rug.
post #10 of 12
As SemiFeral said:

"He needs to be on Albon for a minimum of 3 weeks even if his stool tests come back negative. The reason for this is that Albon only keeps coccidia from reproducing, it doesn't actually kill the organism. So as long as a few organisms are still alive, the infection can come back again pretty quickly."

At the rescue group I volunteer at, they use Albon, and I think it takes a long time to start working.

You might ask your vet or the group you're fostering for if they could use a different medication that would work faster. My baby is on Ditrim, and after 3-4 days, his stool was definitely starting to firm up (not perfect yet, but much better). The down side to it is that it's bitter, and cats can start "foaming" at the mouth in reaction to things that taste bitter. So, not pleasant to give, but it's definitely working.

I've read about pumpkin on here, but haven't ever tried it. I would ask a vet before I used it, personally.

Good luck with your foster babies!
post #11 of 12
The canned pumpkin (not the pie filling type) won't hurt your baby and could be a help. Try mixing a tablespoon in with his food.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

I called my Vet again and she stated that Coccida can burrow into the lining of the small intestine and actually damage it.

She changed his food to Purina EN GatroENteric Feline Formula. She added two more meds for diarrhea. He's currently on the following:

Baytril - Upper Respiratory Infection
Albon - Coccida
Tylosin - Diarrhea
Metronidazole - Diarrhea

Within 24 hours his stools are more solid, he's no longer dripping diarrhea out of the litter.

I've read that yogurt and pumpkin (Not Pumpkin Filling) was good in several posts. She stated that yogurt does have good bacteria in it, but only two types, so I should stop giving it. Pumpkin on the other hand was good to give, one teaspoon per day.

Hope this helps.
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