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Sick ragdoll kitten

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Esuom, Jan 25, 2019.


  1. Esuom

    Esuom PetForums Newbie

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    Hello,

    I’d be grateful for any advice or suggestions people can offer.

    We bought a ragdoll kitten just before Christmas who is now 15 weeks old.

    He was severely underweight when we bought him. The breeder mentioned he was ‘small’ but when we took him home and weighed him he was only 650g at nine weeks old. We then had issues from day one, poor appetite, bloating and chronic intermittent diarrhoea.

    Various trips back and forth the vet and he had been regularly dewormed using Panacur and switched to RC gastro intestinal high calorie. This didn’t help with the appetite and diarrhoea issues or bloating and he was failing to put on any weight. Stool tests came back negative, he had no temperature and his demeanour was always good. The vet suspected tritrichomonas and attempted blood tests but was unable to obtain anything as he hated the needles and would not keep calm enough (they took him to another room for this so I can’t explain any further about what happened!).

    The next step was probiotics and a six week course of B12 jabs. The probiotics sorted out his diarrhoea instantly and we’ve never had trouble with that since, his stools look normal and healthy. He had his third jab on Wednesday and has been steadily putting on about 120g a week since starting them so is a little over 1 kg now. His demeanour has always been good (never lethargic) but he’s been extra wild and has bundles of extra energy since starting the B12 jabs. Very happy, loving and playful kitty.

    The problem is that he is still bloated - worst after eating which then seems to take forever to settle down if at all. The only times we see him less bloated is first thing in the morning when he hasn’t yet eaten. His appetite is also still very small (1 and 1/3 pouches wet food and 10g free feeding of dry per day). I’m worried because it seems the only reason he is gaining weight is because of the high cal food and not that he’s actually eating enough so it feels like we’re masking the problem...

    The vets have thrown around the idea of wet FIP which I can understand because of the bloating but don’t really agree with - surely he would have died by now if so?

    I’m wondering whether it’s a food intolerance and he should be eating grain free instead? His stomach gurgles a lot in the hours after eating and if you rest your hand on it you can literally feel the air bubbles moving and there are lots of them! (I don’t believe these are parasites as he’s been regularly dewormed by the breeder and by us since day one using Panacur and stronghold). He’s quite gassy I think - although I’m not sure of the normal range for kittens.

    Does anyone have any similar experiences with chronic bloating and/or poor appetites in young kittens?

    The vets have suggested that it may take a few weeks for the B12 to fully restore and for his appetite to improve but that we should see it within the 6 week course. Has anyone else gone through this? If so, when did you observe your kittens appetite to improve?
     
  2. jenny armour

    jenny armour PetForums VIP

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    Are you seeing the same vet each time, if so would another opinion from another vet hep?
     
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Esuom and welcome :)

    It was brave of you to take on a kitten who was severely underweight, and sickly, but very lucky for him that you did so, because under your devoted care his health has evidently improved considerably in the month since you got him :)

    The bloating could certainly be due to an unsuitable diet, as could the gurgling noises and suspected gassiness. As he has been regularly treated for worms it is doubtful, as you say, that he has worms. Has he had stool samples checked by the lab to see if he has an intestinal bacterial infection?

    Dry food is very high in calories and carbs. Cats cannot digest carbs easily and as a result most of the carbs pass through the digestive tract unchanged, causing discomfort in the bowel of any sensitive cat or kitten. So I would start by taking him off all the dry food. Wet food meals left in a timed auto-feeder while you are out will be a better option.

    Which wet foods are you feeding him? He may need a grain free, low carb wet food with no added sugars. I can suggest some suitable foods to try, if you would like me to. :)
     
  4. Esuom

    Esuom PetForums Newbie

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    We’ve seen 3 different vets at the same practice in our 5 visits. I’m not sure what another vet at a different practice may suggest besides maybe prescribing antibiotics to see if they help.. I think I might suggest the grain free approach with them and perhaps ask if they think trying a broad spectrum antibiotic may be worth a go!
     
  5. Esuom

    Esuom PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Chillminx, thanks for your response!

    He had 3 days worth of stool samples sent off to the lab but they came back negative. I think the diarrhoea having stopped since probiotics also suggests that there isn’t a bacterial infection. We’ve switched to an anti-bac litter just in case though!

    Yes I’ve read similar things about dry food being too high in carbs and tbh I have noticed a slight correlation between his dry food consumption and severity of bloating. He’s eating Royal Canin Gastro-Intestinal high calorie at the moment (recommended by vet), both wet pouch and dry, which is supposed to be easy on their system but I don’t think it’s grain free.

    Any foods that you mentioned above that you can recommend would be greatly appreciated!

    My only concern is that his appetite is really poor so we need something extra high in calories to account for that. (I’ve tried high calorie pastes but he hates them). We’re also hoping he’ll be able to get his vaccines sometime in the next two weeks (he’s been too poorly/skinny to have them up until now) so I’m considering waiting until we’re over that hurdle before changing his food. I’m aware vaccinations can sometimes make them poorly for a day or two so don’t want to put too much on him when he still has so little reserves!
     
  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Esuom, I have found the best way to get extra weight on an underweight cat is to feed part of their diet as either home cooked meat (e.g. chicken, turkey, lamb, pork or beef) or as balanced raw meat. That way the cat is getting good quality extra protein to build strong muscles and add healthy weight.

    Have you tried offering your kitten any home cooked meats ?

    Some people choose to feed their cats a raw diet all the time and in the UK there are a number of pet food companies who supply ready prepared raw meat for cats, with the correct ratio of muscle meat, offal and bone, along with added mineral/vitamin supplements so the food is a fully balanced diet.

    But it is OK to feed up to 20% of the cat's total diet as home cooked meat (or raw) without needing to add a mineral/vitamin supplement to it.

    One of my cats was quite skinny when I adopted her as a kitten, and and would only eat one type of wet food (the one she'd been fed at the shelter). She is a very independent little cat, and she stubbornly resisted all my attempts to gently introduce her slowly to a better diet. So, I resorted to hiding spoonfuls of cooked chicken or turkey in her cat food, mixing it in well, and to my delight, she ate it! She soon gained weight on this diet, and she maintains a good weight currently (she is now aged 5). She is not fat, but slim built, and solid with muscle.

    If you can find a wet food that your cat can be relied upon to eat, the way forward may be to add home cooked meat to it, starting with a small amount. (i,e, if he won't eat the home cooked meat on its own)

    A make of food that I find very helpful for cats with sensitive digestions is Animonda Vom Feinsten (AVF) (from Zooplus). There is a Kitten food recipe, but the most well liked IME is the AVF recipe for Neutered Cats.

    Interestingly the nutritional analysis shows that AVF for neutered cats is actually higher in protein (12% on a dry matter basis) than the AVF for Kittens (10% on a dry matter basis). The AVF for neutered cats is a bit low in fats for a growing kitten (growing cats need fats for energy) but you could rectify that by adding a little goose fat to his meals (goose fat is usually well tolerated and you don't need to add much) (Analysis of AVF Kitten food fat content is 7%, and of AVF for Neutered Cats it is 4.4%)

    AVF Kitten food :

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/animonda/kitten/14012

    AVF for neutered cats recipe:

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/animonda/trays/14008

    If you have not ordered from Zooplus before it is worth being aware that the company has a very good policy of refunding for all unopened packets of cat food your cat refuses to eat. Delivery is quick, within 3 or 4 days if you are on the UK mainland. If you are in Europe you can order from Zooplus.com.
     
    Gallifreyangirl likes this.
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