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Very sick kitten.

Species: Cat
Breed: from a ferral colony
Age: Less than 3 mon
Thursday 4/21 daughter rescued kitten from tomcat in my mom's backyard. Kitten seemed to be about 4 weeks old and had a swollen eyelid and her “shade” was not working right, and her eyeball was foggy and almost looked pitted. No puncture marks that we could see. Daughter tried to give it back to the mom cat but the mom cat ignored the kitten and we took it home. I put eye ointment that I had on hand in her eye and the lid swelling went down. Fed kitten formula, iams kitten chow soaked in formula and baby food. Kitten learned to lap from a bowl after about 5 days.
Friday 4/28 kitten was sneezing so I took her to the vet. The vet said she was 4 weeks old, 9 ounces, and gave her a shot of Naxcel, and gave us some Terramycin eye ointment (he said it could be clamydia in her eye) and also gave us some Biomox to give the kitten for 10 days. He said she looked good and would be okay.
Kitten responded to treatment and gained weight and began to learn to lap from a bowl/plate.
We saw the kittens' siblings and they were HUGE compared to her – at least two inches longer and much fatter.
Friday 5/6 took kitten back to vet for recheck. Kitten gained 8 ounces. I mentioned that she hadn't been eating as much as usual that morning but he didn't really say anything about that. I did not give her her second dose of antibiotics that night.
Saturday 5/7 kitten ate about 50% of what she would usually eat. Sleeping a lot too. I looked in her ears and she had a lot of ear mites so I cleaned out her ears and put mite drops in them. She also vomited about 3 times this day. Yellow/yellow/neon dark green. No antibiotics given.
Sunday 5/8 Kitten not eating at all, we start to give her formula and pedialyte. Started back with antibiotics.
Monday 5/9 Took kitten back to vet, kitten weighted 9.5 ounces and very lethargic. I told vet about ear mites. He looked in one of her ears and took a swab and got some stuff out and said she had ear mites. (Thank you, doc. Didn't I just tell you that?) Vet took temp; no fever, no diarrhea. Said it might be a virus. Gave her subcutaneous fluids with B12 in it and an injection of Naxcel. Said we should re-evaluate in 24 hours. Vet was angry at me because I was angry at him for not checking her ears last Friday and not listening to me when I told him she wasn't eating like normal.
Tuesday 5/10 kitten not doing well but we chose not to go to the vet. One bout of diarrhea.
Wednesday 5/11 Asked husband to take kitten to vet and have her euthanized. She was skin and bones by now and clearly not going to live. Husband asked vet (other vet on duty) if there was any hope and the vet said her lungs were clear and her heart was strong and he gave her some sugar water and she perked up a little bit. Sent hubby home with more sugar water, some brown high calorie stuff to give her. We attended to her the entire day but by the night I could tell she was on her way out. Lots of diarrhea, swollen belly, gas, cold to the touch, sick smell, eyes staring. I couldn't force feed her anymore.
Thursday 5/12 She died this morning at 7am. It was horrible and tragic and sad.
Question: Do you think she was ill to begin with? She never seemed as perky as a “normal” kitten, although she did play with one of our cats a little bit. She always seemed more interested in sleeping than playing.
Question: the cat who took her under his wings had been sick about 3 months ago with Idon'tknowwhat. He had vomiting and diarrhea and a big fever, but he pulled through. Do you think that he shed some germs from when he was sick before and she contracted from him? I would sometimes catch him eating out of her dish.
Question: Do you think it's my fault that she died because I didn't give her the antibiotics on Friday or Saturday?
Thank you for your time,
Nancy


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear of your poor kitten's ordeal. From what you have written it sounds like this little one may have been born with some serious issues. Of course no one can say for sure what happened, but I'll give you a few of my thoughts.

First of all, when you mentioned that the kitten was rejected by her mom this started some warning bells for me. Often momma cats are good at knowing when something is wrong with a baby. If they know that the kitten is unlikely to survive they will conserve their milk supplies for the healthy kittens.

It's also unusual that this little one was smaller than her siblings. It's possible that she had something called a liver shunt which could have affected her growth. This is a serious condition.

It is also possible that she picked up a virus either from the cat you mentioned or elsewhere. If she had a virus such as feline leukemia or FIV this would greatly affect her immune system.

I can say with certainty that she did not die because you missed some antibiotics. There was definitely something much more serious going on.

We'll never know what happened, but I don't think anyone could have saved her. Thank you for taking such good care of her in her short little life. It looks like you did all of the right things.

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you Dr. Marie, I do appreciate your input. I would have asked my vet all of these questions but he was so defensive and angry and he didn't seem interested in listening.

The mom cat rejected the kitten after the tom cat had gotten a hold of her - probably at 4 weeks of age. Do mom cats reject their kittens at later ages? I assumed it was at birth or shortly thereafter.

The worst part is that she seemed so healthy, for about two of the three weeks we had her. But she did sleep a lot and played infrequently.

Do you think I should get my other cat tested? The one who is healthy now, but was sick a few months ago, to see if he might have infected her?

Thank you for your advice and your kind response. We are heartbroken here - even though she was with us for such a short time.

Nancy


Customer reply:

Thank you Dr. Marie, I do appreciate your input. I would have asked my vet all of these questions but he was so defensive and angry and he didn't seem interested in listening.

The mom cat rejected the kitten after the tom cat had gotten a hold of her - probably at 4 weeks of age. Do mom cats reject their kittens at later ages? I assumed it was at birth or shortly thereafter.

The worst part is that she seemed so healthy, for about two of the three weeks we had her. But she did sleep a lot and played infrequently.

Do you think I should get my other cat tested? The one who is healthy now, but was sick a few months ago, to see if he might have infected her?

Thank you for your advice and your kind response. We are heartbroken here - even though she was with us for such a short time.

Nancy


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's hard to say whether mom would reject a kitten at 4 weeks but I think they can, especially if something is wrong with the kitten.

I think it's not a bad idea to have a feline leukemia and FIV test done on your cats, mostly to put your mind at ease. Unfortunately if they are positive for either of these viruses we don't have a cure. But it is important to know if they have them. If so, then we have to be really vigilant about treating any illnesses such as infections aggressively.



Customer reply:

Thank you Dr. Marie!!

N


Customer reply:

Dr. Marie,
I am sorry to keep bothering you but I am just so very upset and sad about our kitten who died. I appreciate your words that there wasn't anything else I could have done, but I am plagued with guilt; especially about her final hours. Mainly I am wondering if it was painful for her to die. I placed her in her favorite spot on Wednesday night about midnight and when I checked on her about an hour and a half later she had moved onto the tile floor and was cold and twitching a little bit. I softly stroked her head and told her that I loved her but I left her there because I didn't want to upset her by moving her back to where I first put her. She was there until about 5am. (I checked on her about every hour.) At 5am when I checked on her she let out a sort of meow/cry and I gently picked her up and she was wet; fluids coming out of her mouth and nose and bottom. She was very cold and I warmed some towels in the dryer and held her softly and talked softly to her. Her eyes were sunken in and she didn't respond, she was too weak. I would gently wipe the fluid from her mouth and nose. I held her for an hour and then placed her on my bed and kept checking on her and by 7am I could tell that she was gone. I keep going over and over it in my mind; did I hurt her more by moving her? Holding her? Should I have picked her up earlier? I know I can't change anything and I know she knew she was loved, but I hope I didn't hurt her more.

I am disappointed with the vet for not putting her down on Tuesday, for giving me false hope. I would much rather remember her as she was on Tuesday (which was still so very sad) than my final picture of her from Thursday morning. I know it's only been a day and a half and I know I need time, but I just can't seem to make peace with the fact that she was sick; she seemed so healthy for awhile and went downhill so fast.

N



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I know it's hard to see a kitten die, especially when you have done so much to try and help her. From what you have described, it sounds like her death was not painful.

It's hard for me to comment on the situation with the vet not putting her down. It sounds like the vet really did think that she had a chance of pulling through. He definitely did not want her to suffer and advised what he thought was best. I've had cases where with hindsight I would have done things differently.

This is a very sad case, but again it sounds like this little one was quite ill. It was no one's fault that she passed away.



Customer reply:

Thank you Dr. Marie.


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.