Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ah, these kittens are going to tbe the death of me. You might not want to read the third paragraph, if sad kitten stories will ruin your day.

Sidney, our last foster, was adopted on Friday within five minutes of her making it to the adoption floor. She had surgery on Thursday and we didn't have space on the floor for her. I had just cleaned a recently vacanted cage and was carrying her out to the floor, when a couple who was leaving saw her and asked if she was available. Poof--she was gone to a new home. That was the good news.

Bad news was that little Britches who was sitting in the back at the shelter the past few days waiting for surgery had gotten sick. She wasn't doing great, so I decided to foster her. (Poor Alan. I keep getting him into these situations.) This time I was more prepared. We gave her fluids before bringing her home. In addition to her doxycycline, I had Karo syrup and experience with forcefeeding. When I got her home, she was already so weak, she could only walk a few inch before having to lay down. I fed her watered down food with an eye dropper--she was able to swallow just fine--and put her down in her cosy bed with her shelter bedding, a towel underneath for extra padding and the stuffed teddy that had been with her all week. She kept creeping out and I'd find her on the linoleum against the cold tub throughout the evening. She continued to deteriorate, so I brought out the Karo syrup to rub a little on her gums. Low blood sugar can kill kittens quickly and the syrup sometimes brings them back. A near death kitten can be up and playing shortly after Karo syrup and time with a heating pad. She perked up a little bit but there wasn't anything more I could do for her but let her rest. She didn't make it through the night.

I'm including another happy ending to balance the last story out. I got a couple calls from a family that had adopted a kitten from us who was lethargic and sick with diarrhea. Their vet was concerned about FIP, which is certainly a scary thing to face since it's fatal, although it is rare. FIP can hit cats at any point in their lives but often appears in kittens. It comes from being exposed to a mutated form of a common feline Corona virus. Only a small percentage of cats exposed to the mutated form develop FIP. The most common symptom which is used to diagnose the FIP is a fluid filled stomach and often the diagnoses isn't confirmed until after the cat dies. (A full stomch in kittens usually means worms or another parasite, so you shouldn't ever panic about FIP until it's checked out by a vet.) Adults can carry the virus and never develop FIP and it can also be brought on in later life by stress. The very hard part of FIP is that there really isn't a definitive test for it and the vaccination for it is still relatively untested. The family made the tough decision to return the kitten to us and we immediately put her in an isolated cage until one of our vets could examine her. At this point, she has regained her energy and playfulness and doesn't appear to have FIP after all. If she'd had Feline Distemper, the other very scary kitten disease, she wouldn't be getting better and would be dead already. I'm hoping she'll okayed to go back to the adoption floor this week and maybe go back to her original adopters.

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