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Kittens with diarrhea

Species: Cat
Breed: TABBY
Age: 3-6 months
We have kept the 5 kittens born to our momma cat. [they will be "fixed" when it is time ]... Mamma got spayed post birth at 10 weeks... The babies did fine till about 13 weeks, then 2 of them started getting diarehha. We thought it was change of going to different food. We gave kittens, kitten chow, and some can food. Also got and gave cat formula milk, for kittens who are weaning...It cleared up for a week or so. Then we had to go out of town for 4 days , left lots of dry food & water for all of them. Came home and Maggie was so weak, and her sides drawn in, she'd lost quite a few ounces while we were gone, Started her on the medicine again. Pet Pecticillin, and she got better, stated gaining weight.
I aslo gave them all a formula cat milk from made from soy ???
Now again, I have 2 kittens who are starting to lose weight again. I have wormed them all about 3 weeks ago too.
The other 3 kittens are doing fine, and so is the mama.
I got and tried to give the 2 vitamins with extra calories in it, but they will not take it....
So any ideas why these 2 keep getting the diarhhea, and lose weight ? They all have been off the cat milk formula for about 3 weeks. They all loved it, can I continue to give it to them ? [They still nurse thier momma ] And what can I give the little kitties to eat so the will gain weight without giving them diarhhea ? Thank you.....

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that these guys are having problems! While I won't be able to tell you for sure what is going on, let me give you a few of my thoughts.

My first concern would definitely be for some type of parasite. It is good that you have dewormed them....but they may need additional deworming. If they have roundworms which are a common parasite, then they need to be dewormed every 10-14 days. If we only deworm them once, then we kill the adult worms but there may have been eggs and larva that have now matured into adults.

It's also possible that they have a parasite that is not killed by over the counter dewormers such as giardia or coccidia. These parasites would need to be diagnosed by your vet by doing some tests on a stool sample. If they have these then they will prescribe medication to help.

I'd stay away from the formula at this point. It's not going to be helpful at all.

It's also possible that they are fighting a virus such as panleukopenia. However, this usually makes kitties extremely sick with diarrhea and usually vomiting.

Another possibility is if mom and the babies have a serious virus such as feline leukemia virus, FIP or FIV. These viruses affect the immune system and make it very difficult for an animal to be healthy. Unfortunately there is no cure for these viruses. Your vet can test for them but it is a little bit pricey.

It's also possible that Maggie is not well because of an infection or an illness in her organs. If she is unwell and then the kittens are nursing off of her they could be getting sick because they are drinking her milk. At 13 weeks the kittens do not need to be nursing any more. It's best to keep them separated from Maggie. This will help Maggie to feel better as well as it takes a lot of energy to produce milk.

My guess is that a change in food is likely not the answer here...I think there is a medical problem going on.

It would really be a great idea if you could take Maggie in for another checkup and also take some of the diarrhea from the kittens in for a check for parasites.

Hope they are well soon!

If you have more questions, feel free to reply. However, I will be going offline in a few minutes' time and won't be able to reply until later today.

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. 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.

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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.