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Gunky eyes in kittens.

Species: Cat
Breed: Mixed Tabby
Age: Less than 3 mon
Hello,

We have four newborn kittens--19 days old. One died 2 days ago--we thought it was the runt of the litter--there had been no signs of a problem and the others looked hearty and healthy.

They have now over the last day, however, developed a dark brownish/amber discharge around the eyes, nose, and mouth, sometimes even making it difficult to open an eye. Following cat owner advice online, we've been cleaning the discharge off with a wet washcloth--it doesn't seem to be reappearing.

They seem a little tired, but they are friendly. The mother is nursing and cleaning them regularly. And they show no signs of diarhea, but one of them licked the washcloth voraciously so we're wondering if they could be a little dehydrated in the mix.

Are they sick and do they need medicine and/or water?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It sounds like your kittens are fighting some type of upper respiratory virus. While some cats can get through an upper respiratory virus on their own, I get concerned when young kittens like this are unwell.

If you are seeing enough eye discharge that the eyes are difficult to open, then there is likely a bacterial infection along with the virus. If this is the case, then simply cleaning the eyes will not be enough. These guys will need to get an antibiotic ointment from the vet.

Do you have kitchen scales or something similar that you could use to weigh the kittens? It is important that they are gaining a small amount of weight every day. If they are not gaining weight then this means that they are not nursing enough and this definitely would have me concerned.

However, I think it really would be a good idea to have a vet look at these guys, especially because one died. They may need oral antibiotics as well if they are really unwell.

I hope they do ok!

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.

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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.