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Trying to save a sickly kitten

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by MrMiyata, May 15, 2014.


  1. catcoonz

    catcoonz PetForums VIP

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    Ang2, Thank You for helping on this thread. xxx:)
     
  2. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Hides away from much through humour...

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    You mean Fucithalmic, lovely. Fuciderm is for skin. :)



    OP - I'm sorry to hear about Lemon's rough start and it's amazing what you guys are trying to do for him. I'm keeping everything crossed.

    Re: the photos - I've never seen anything quite like that before and it is difficult to tell from pictures alone, but I would suspect the swollen belly is due to inflamed loops of intestine, and that the 'white' thing we can see is the colon. Cats and kittens with enteritis/colitis will often have a colon distended with gas. That said, constipation is another possibility - is he still constipated? His skin is so thin due to his poor condition that it makes everything appear more prominent.

    He is definitely pooing, right? He does actually have an anus? I know it sounds like a stupid question, but atresia ani (absence of an anus) can happen in young kittens due to a congenital malformation.

    It's so difficult because wee kittens sometimes need supportive measures such as warm water enemas to aid with the treatment of constipation, but these are not really safe or feasible at home. :(

    I agree with what has been said about worms - little guy is likely going to have a heavy roundworm burden, and possibly hookworm. Other parasites such as Giardia are also a possibility in tandem with it.



    Do you know Lemon's weight? Sorry if I've missed it posted somewhere.

    You need a good wormer... fenbendazole (Panacur) probably makes most sense as it is more widely available and comes in a liquid formulation that will make dosing easier. It will definitely be safe to use, even if he has no worms. Fenbendazole is an awesomely safe drug with a very high safety margin, so do it.

    Antibiotics-wise, ideally you'd get your hands on some marbofloxacin. Failing that, amoxicillin-clavulanate. If you can only get tablets, we can split 'em, grind 'em and get 'em in somehow. Injectables, if they are available, can be given to him no question. Sure, giving a needle to a tiny one like him isn't easy and is rather mean, but it's a nonsense that it can't be done.


    In terms of general care, I think most of the advice has already been given.

    Make sure he is at normal body temperature when he feeds; if he's too chilly he won't digest his food properly. Take extreme care with bottle feeding and keep him in sternal (ie on his front) when he feeds. Tube feeding is safer than bottle feeding in terms of avoiding aspiration but takes practice and experience to do it right.

    Ideally you are aiming for a daily weight gain of 10-15 grams. Has Lemon come anywhere close to this so far? Has he been strong with regards to his righting and rooting responses?
     
    catcoonz and Ang2 like this.
  3. Joy84

    Joy84 PetForums VIP

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    I don't have much knowledge but just thought I'll add something I read here somewhere ...
    If he grooms/licks himself you might try smearing food on his paws and he can eat some this way while cleaning himself.
    Also, I'm not sure if it's ok for a tiny kitten but how about some "smelly" food like tinned fish, mushed up really well? Sardines, tuna <I know cats can't have a lot of it, but in this case it's kind of every little helps?>
    I wish you good luck in your fight for Lemon!
    You and your Girlfriend are amazing :thumbup1:
     
  4. Forester

    Forester trained by Dylan

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    Is there any news on little Lemon ?

    I've been thinking about him all day and wondering whether OP has managed to obtain Panacur for him and whether he has been feeding well.

    Hoping that Mr Miyata and Elf have been managing to get some valuable sleep in between caring for little Lemon.

    Praying for good news.
     
  5. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    <snip>

    I know, I know!
     
  6. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Hides away from much through humour...

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    Don't worry, I suspected it was a typo - just didn't want anyone reading this to try and put Fuciderm in their cat's eyes! :eek: :) ;)
     
  7. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    I've once had to use Fucithalmic myself and it jolly well stung.
     
  8. Jiskefet

    Jiskefet Slave to the Hairy Hikers

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    It definitely looks like a swollen colon to me.
    If he is pooing alright, it may be gas..... or worms.

    But it seems like the rest of the belly is swollen too, so I am thinking he might have ascites fluid. Does his belly feel like a balloon filled with water? It may well be caused by malnutrition due to his poor food intake.

    The starving toddlers from Biafra used to look like that....
     
  9. MrMiyata

    MrMiyata PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you everyone here for all your messages of support, advice, help, experience and stories of your own. The advice has been very helpful and it is encouraging to see so many others around the world who also care.

    So, I wish I could reward the support with a happy ending. I'm afraid to say that little Lemon has come to the last of his nine lives. He fought strongly, but the end came rather suddenly. It was actually yesterday, just a few hours after I made the last post here, but I'm sure you can imagine, there has been a bit of grief and things to take care of since then.

    The day or so before I asked here about the latest problems he had seemed to be recovering from his flu-like symptoms and so we once again assumed that he would power through these too, like every other time, with a little of the right help. Although weak and thin, he seemed far more healthy and active than the time he was so ill in the first week that we couldn't even feel breathing and were only able to tell he was alive by occasional tiny sleeping noises and movements. We got him through that with with warmth and periodic drips of milk onto his tongue. After a day of us worrying he suddenly sat up and started mewling, and since then we, (Lemon himself included it seemed) have always believed he could make it through anything.

    I'm going to talk about it a little to let it out, so if you aren't in the mood for the details, skip over to the gap.


    Elf fell asleep that night while nursing and I took over to keep Lemon warm. I didn't use the hot water bottle as I felt he was feeling weak and wanted to watch him carefully. He still didn't want to drink any more milk, even keeping his mouth clamped shut when I tried to get the syringe in there. I figured I'd prepare some of the suggested foods for him and let Elf try in the morning, she is a lot better with him than me.

    I was going to go to bed at about 4, but he had started breathing a little differently, deeply and with a bit of a twitch and I had the feeling I should keep watching him. He lay on my lap and surprisingly was purring for the first time in a few days. Elf woke again at about 6 and sure enough was able to convince him to eat a little, but only a very little. Not long after he suddenly gave a sudden big gasp for breath and stopped. In a few panicked minutes of chest massaging and mouth-to-mouth we were able to keep him going a little longer, but eventually he wasn't even responding to that.



    -------

    I'll leave out the uncool blubbering that followed. It was a very short life, but in just that short time, Lemon touched us both deeply. There's been a lot of grief since then, even our other kitten Mango seems to to have picked up on that. It's hard not to blame myself sometimes and think I could have done more, but I also have to think that, I don't know what that 'more' could have been. I researched how to take care of newborns thoroughly and we did as much of that as we could in the circumstances. Having never done something like this before, maybe I missed some warning signs I should have reacted to earlier. It's also easy to get angry at the vets who wouldn't help, but maybe it is true they didn't have the resources or experience of what to do to help a kitten that young.

    In the end it is comforting to me to think that, although only one month of life, it's 29 days longer than it would have been without us. Most importantly, it seemed to be a happy life. Dispite all that he must have been suffering from different illnesses, Lemon always seemed to want to struggle harder to not give up, if there was any suffering, it was only in body, not in spirit. He never showed signs of being unhappy or was nothing but loving toward us, or rather Elf. I was clearly not the favourite. :p He'd let me hold or feed him at times, but if he could see, hear or smell her, he'd be struggling out of my hand and over any obstacle very adorably to get back to her. That didn't bother me though. It was very sweet, and for me maybe the most rewarding part of his time with us, to see them together and I know that, even more than myself, she would have given literally anything for him to be able to stay with us longer.

    Lemon's legacy will last a long time. Even as we were out yesterday, making preparations for his last resting place, it was already showing. We walked past an open air restaurant with a pregnant cat and immediately got the idea to go in and demand to know what would happen to the kittens or if they would end up in a rubbish pile like the one she found Lemon in (not uncommon around here). Turns out the owners were actually good people who had a male and female cat and would raise the kittens and give or sell them when they were old enough, but she left her number anyway. She did the same to every pet owner we saw on the way back too, making sure people were doing the right thing with any kittens/puppies, offering to take or help find homes for newborns, educating people and chastising those who didn't have their pet fixed but didn't want babies. With any luck, Lemon's little life will have changed at least a little part of the world for the better.


    For those of you who haven't gone to sleep, I'll wrap it up here. It's been helpful to get it out and write it down to organise my thoughts. This has been a unique experience, to find a solitary abandoned kitten that must have been less than a day old and give it alone all the life and love we could has left a deep impression on me, much more than the "Oh no, what are we going to do with this?" reaction to seeing Elf bringing in the dirty, cold, mewling creature that first day. Once again, thank you for everyone who has given their support and thoughts to helping Elf's precious Lemon. She is taking it very hard but I hope she can find some additional solace in the fact that not only has he touched our lives, but many of you too. I wish I could have had a much more uplifting message to post here today. "Lemon cleared his constipation, ate 3 whole steaks and put on 10 kilos of muscle, then saved an orphanage from a runaway train." would have made a much better end to this story.

    Instead, I give you this in closing. When we could finally talk about it, I suggested making a tiny coffin for him and burying it in the garden. Elf didn't even need to think before she countered with her much more poetic idea.

    10 points for whoever can guess what kind of tree this is. Hint: you don't need to be a botany professor to figure it out.


    [​IMG]
    Link to photo


    Please don't die Mango, those trees are big.

    Rest in peace, Lemon.
     
    #49 MrMiyata, May 29, 2014
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  10. catcoonz

    catcoonz PetForums VIP

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    RIP Tiny Baby xxx

    Hugs to you and thank you for trying to save Lemon. x
     
  11. Jellypi3

    Jellypi3 Slave to the devil cats

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    Oh I am sorry to hear this :( RIP little one and run free at the bridge. What you and your girlfriend did was nothing short of heroic, and Lemon will always remember that x
     
  12. MrMiyata

    MrMiyata PetForums Newbie

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    Ok, how do I make all those pictures work? Did it the first time, but nothing since.

    Secondly, since everyone seems to be suspecting parasites were involved, should we take something as a precaution or don't they affect humans? We were pretty careful at keeping everything clean. Does that Panacur work on people too? The other cat is halfway through his shots.
     
  13. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Poor little mite - didn't really stand a chance. :(

    You tried - bless you for that ;)
     
  14. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    Parasites might be involved, but hand-rearing small kittens is fraught with many pitfalls and sadly even in the best hands with the best medical help many kittens don't make it. You did your best in difficult circumstances.

    If you want to help the cats of your area, I feel that encouraging neutering before 6 months is the best thing you can do, to try to reduce the number of kittens born.
     
  15. MrMiyata

    MrMiyata PetForums Newbie

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    It didn't feel much like fluid, though it did feel a bit strained. The lesser appetite was only for the last two days or so, so I'm not sure if that would have done it. A swollen colon would explain why he was straining to poo each time.
     
  16. MrMiyata

    MrMiyata PetForums Newbie

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    That's just what Elf was out doing yesterday, talking to owners of any dogs and cats she saw about being responsible. She even spoke of offering to pay for the operations (they aren't expensive anyway though) but it didn't end up coming to that.
     
  17. jill3

    jill3 PetForums VIP

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    So sorry to hear little Lemon has passed away.
    You did your very best and the Love that you showed for this little one and the commitment was so kind.
    I wish there were more people a round the world like you two.
    Lemon didn't die in vain. You learn't a lot whilst nursing him and one Day that might be put to use again and with a better out come.

    R.I.P Lemon and run free at Rainbow Bridge xx
     
  18. Esemais

    Esemais PetForums Member

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    I'm so sorry to read this, RIP little Lemon. He was lucky to have found you, you tried your absolute best.
     
  19. Forester

    Forester trained by Dylan

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    May you and Elf be blessed for all that you did for little Lemon. You could not have done any more for him or shown him any more love.

    R I P little Lemon, you have touched so many hearts.
     
  20. dagny0823

    dagny0823 PetForums VIP

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    Bless you both and little Lemon. I'm very sorry to be reading this, although it's not completely unexpected. I know it's natural to feel you could have done more, but really you did your very best and I hope that you and Elf can take some comfort in the fact that you gave him a lifetime of love and care in one short month. That experience will not be wasted and I do hope that you will find another little one who needs you as you clearly have a lot of love to give. Lemon just wasn't meant for this world, but he will send you someone when the time is right to love and be loved by.

    Even in this country, and the UK, it seems that vets aren't terribly helpful when it comes to very young kittens. They are born in large litters for a reason, and mother cats can get pregnant multiple times in a season for a reason. They're simply fragile little creatures and without the right circumstances, many just don't make it. Even in optimal conditions, in an experienced breeder's loving home, some won't make it. When we found Kirby and Freja in a ditch, much like your Lemon, but weeks older, two of their littermates were gone, one from cold, one by a car. The vet wasn't much help and talked about losing entire litters that were found this way. It was sad and he just took it what happens. They too struggled and tried to thrive, but in the end, between parasites and whatever else was wrong, they didn't win the fight either. Some of your pictures of Lemon with Elf reminded me of our time with them, and I've shed tears both for you and for my memories. It was a beautiful experience having them, although nearly 3 years on now, it still hurts missing them and remembering holding their tiny bodies and hoping for the best. My heart is with you, even though I've never met you, and I'm sending big virtual hugs as your work through your grief. It does get easier, but you will miss your Lemon forever. His pawprints will never leave your heart, but may there come a time sooner rather than later when that is a comfort for you, and not a raw pain.

    PS the lemon tree is an utterly beautiful idea
     
    Forester likes this.
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