Kitten update--public service announcement - 1370°C
Oct. 1st, 2006
01:28 pm - Kitten update--public service announcement
Saturday, we worked out what was wrong with Veruca and Zephyr.
Backstory: While I was bottle feeding my two, one of our clients found 7 6-week-old, weaned kittens living in an abandoned barn and brought them in. We FeLV and FIV tested them; they were negative, so we started adopting them out. 4 went to employees, one to a friend of an employee, and two to clients. Of those 7, 5 came down sick with the same symptoms that Veruca and Zephyr had, one was well as of Sat, and one we still don't know about. Of the 5 known to be sick, two died. We came up with a new theory and tested one of the two that died just before he passed.
It's one of the things vaccinated for at routine yearly kitty vaccinations. It's a virus related to the canine Parvovirus. It's a very bad thing, but it's treatable. My theory that the kittens dehydrated themselves to death is confirmed.
Last night, my co-worker and i rushed to her house to place an IV catheter in the kitten she'd given to her friend. That one had just come up sick in the last 24 hours. Overnight, he got about 250mL of saline mixed with dextrose and some IV antibiotics. Today, he's eating like mad and seems to be on the mend. Cross your fingers.
I'm guessing Veruca came with the virus (her sibling died very early on, but she didn't show any signs of sickness for weeks, and i chalked it up to bad management on the part of the foster that had them at the time), she gave it to Zephyr because they were housed together, and the people at my clinic transferred it to the other 7 on their hands.
The good: We know what the problem is. We spent Saturday bleaching the clinic. Hydrating, at least for the older ones, seems to help their immune systems fight it off. Adult cats, even un-vaccinated ones, don't ever seem to die from the virus--their immune response is robust enough to kick it even if they get a bit sick.
The bad: No fewer than 4 kittens had to die for us to discover the cause. There's a particularly virulent strain of panleukopenia somewhere in the East Mountains and perhaps in the Abq area in general. If i'd known this before, i think i could have saved Zephyr.
Warning: If you've got a tiny kitten at vaccination age, do get them vaccinated appropriately. If your tiny kitten (from about 0 days to 8 weeks if they're not vaccinated) comes down with, vaguely in this order 1) not eating, 2) lethargy, 3) diarrhea, and sometimes 4) vomiting, do run them to the vet right away. Don't assume it's worms or a change of diet. This bug seems to go from zero to dead in about 24-48 hours, even if the kittens seem to be ok at points in the meantime.