11 Week Old Kitten is Sick with a Virus -- but unsure of which one??

ct970

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Hello!

I recently adopted a kitten from a local animal shelter and he is 11 weeks old. While in the shelter, he seemed perky, playful, and followed us around for attention. Unfortunately he was in an enclosure with about 10 other cats (I should have done my research better, I know..), and there were several kittens in there that had eye problems, like oozing eyes and did not want anyone to come near them. However, I really liked the kitten in there and decided to adopt him. The 1st night at home, he was fine, he was a bit scared but he ate dry food mixed with wet food, that the shelter had him on and he pooped solid. The next morning, things took a turn, he had liquid diarrhea, wouldn't eat much at all and wouldn't drink much, he also had little interest in playing and was very lethargic.

This continued into the next day when he ended up vomiting yellow bile (i'm guessing from not eating) and I broke down and took him to the emergency vet. The emergency vet said he had a temp of 103F and she administered fluids, an injection of metacam and sent us home with metronidazole to give him for 10 days. After the visit to the emergency vet, he began to eat more wet food, he was drinking again, but still had diarrhea and was still not playful and lethargic. The next couple days, there were more improvements, he started eating a lot and drinking regularly, and while he still had diarrhea it was more solid (not pure liquid). He started seeming semi-interested in playing, but wouldn't really play and was still lethargic. He had a vet appointment yesterday to check him out, they concluded that he still had a fever, they took a stool sample, and gave him an injection for tapeworms.

However, my concern is that they said he has a virus and likely picked it up in the shelter but did not say anything about doing anymore testing to figure out what virus it is. They said "maybe a mild cause of Feline Panleukopenia", and I noticed he had received his 1st vaccine FVRCP when he was 10 weeks old upon entering the shelter. I said, is this possible to still have it? And the assistant said that it was if he had been exposed before the vaccine had a chance to provide immunity. He had been in the shelter for 8 days prior to me adopting him. I got home and started researching Feline Panleukopenia, and was hoping for the best since we caught it 1 day after his symptoms started, he was on antibiotics and he was eating/drinking, having a little more solid stools.

However, now I just cannot shake the feeling it may be FIP. The symptoms to the 2 sound very similar and I just cannot discern much between them, and the vet did not say anything about that being a possibility. But I just don't know, it's such a devastating disease and I would hate for it be that and go undiagnosed for too long and I make him suffer more.. I just want answers. I am supposed to collect his stool and take it to them tomorrow so that they can test for Feline Panleukopenia, at least to just know if it is that or not. I hate this for him, I just want him to be happy and healthy and I hate that he ended up being sick. Today he is still lethargic, still semi-interested in toys but won't play, he is eating boiled chicken like crazy as per vet instructions, he is getting plenty of fluids, but he will sleep basically all day except maybe twice a day, he always wants to be in a warm spot and I'm not sure if he still has a fever today or not. I am just so worried about it, it's almost affecting my daily living causing me distress. I do not want to take him back to the shelter because I feel that may do more harm than good especially considering the condition that he was in there, and I also do not want to attempt to bring another cat into this environment when I have no clue what virus he has and do not wanna expose another cat/kitten. I am beside myself on what to do, and spend most of my time just googling stuff instead of stuff I should actually be doing, but I spend my time worrying if he is gonna recover or if he is headed down a bad path.


Any advice, suggestions, anything to offer me a little peace of mind is appreciated!
 

Lulu&Finn

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When I adopted Lulu we had the same issue (not sure on fever though). Diarrhea that went on and on even with treatment. Finally the vet ordered a diarrhea panel to check for things that they normally don't test for in a regular stool check. Sure enough she had a parasite that didn't show up on the regular one. After treatment she has done great. She def has a sensitive stomach but I had the same stressed out feelings you're having. You just want them to be happy and healthy.

I hope your baby turns the corner soon.
 

di and bob

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Distemper would definitely have taken a downturn by now, with FIP I don't think he would be eating and drinking at all. Diarrhea can often be created by stress from being adopted along with a change in diet. Depending on how long you have had him, you might find out what the shelter was feeding and continue that until he is better. A bland diet like boiled chicken is ideal, Walmart instore and other internet sites have Hartz Lickable treats in the stew, in a pouch, which I give all my sick cats and to administer meds with. I recommend it to get him eating. coming from a shelter and being with so many cats he almost likely has feline herpes virus, VERY common in cat litters and crowded shelters. It is NOT transferrable to humans, and is the common cold to cats. My cats have all had it off and on, some more than others, and it has the same symptoms you describe. Don't worry yourself sick by googling different illnesses, the internet almost always leads you to a death sentence, even in your own illnesses. The fever/diarrhea could be caused by vaccinations too. Start concentrating on herpes virus and know it takes at least two weeks to get over. One of my cats gets very sick with it and sleeps all day too. As long as you can get a little food down him (try those treats, sometimes it is ALL my cats will eat while sick) and make sure he is getting plenty of water, he will get better. taking him back to the shelter is almost a sure death sentence, they don't have the time or the will to deal with sick kittens when they have so many. Please give him a chance. If he does have one of those other horrible diseases, he needs you desperately right now, you are a huge comfort to him. Just love him and things will get better, PLEASE keep us informed.....
 

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I agree with the above. Take the stool sample and take him for a temperature check. If he still has fever, ask for an anti-inflammatory for him. Keep doing what you are doing and let’s hope this passes soon, and that the feline culture shows what’s up that can be treated. Keep us posted!
 

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I would not stress too much about it being FIP. While it is possible the kitten was exposed to feline coronavirus as most cats are at some point in their lives, and being in a shelter with lots of cats makes it even more likely, the chance that the kitty has developed the malignant form of feline coronavirus (FIP) is pretty slim. FIP is devastating for sure, but it is pretty rare when you consider most cats have been exposed to the virus (corona) and recover without issue. I have researched FIP to quite an extent. Amazingly there is a cure, but the antiviral drug is not approved to treat cats. You have to go to the black market and pay a fortune. I hope this changes soon.
 
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ct970

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Thank you guys for your input and positive thoughts :)! He has drastically improved since I made this post, he is eating tuna in water and boiled chicken (which I add some water too as well) per the vet's request and he has started coming around to eating a small amount of dry food each day now. He is definitely well hydrated, as shown by his litterbox. I took a stool sample to them, which they were able to rule out Panleuk! They saw some specs in his stool and were unsure if parasites or maybe just some undigested food, just waiting to hear back about that. He has a lot more energy now, he plays a lot with boxes and runs through the house ripping and rolling, his personality has for sure came out! He is not nearly as lethargic, he meows a lot when he is hungry to let me know, and he wants attention a lot more now! He is still on his antibiotic, have about 4 days left on that, and that seems to be helping a lot. He still has some diarrhea but have noticed it is slowly getting more solid. Will update again if anything changes.
 
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ct970

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Especially going from hardly eating/drinking to eating/drinking throughout the entire day in a couple hour intervals to having much more energy/playing and not sleeping nearly as much is amazing, now just to keep it that way!
 
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ct970

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Hi again! Another update.. I changed vets because I simply wasn't happy with the other vet I was using, they didn't seem to want to run any tests to figure out what could be causing his illness.
I took him to the vet Saturday morning, he had fleas, bacteria in his ears, and he tested positive for coccidia. He was no longer running a fever and had lost .3 pounds, weighing 2.3 pounds and needs to get his weight back up. He was put on Albon, flea treatment, and ear drops. He is doing fairly well, considering. His stool is still loose and light brown and foul smelling but the liquid/watery diarrhea seems to have passed. He has been vomiting white foam and whenever I feed him canned food he ends up vomiting that back up, he is eating dry food and has not vomited that up so will try just feeding dry food for a few days and see if he vomits any further. He is drinking well, drinks and pees throughout the day, no issues there. He is still playing at least twice a day for about 15 minutes, some days he will play for hours and some days not, still not to normal kitten level overall but better than not playing at all. Hoping he continues to improve!
 

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The white foam is from the Albon. It’s upsetting his tummy but it should do the trick. Hopefully soon he’ll be back to his normal little self. Good you switched vets. Not all vets have experience with kittens! :)
 
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ct970

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Just wanted to write another update. Unfortunately our little man is very ill. The Albon did not seem to work for him, it wasn't making him feel better at all. He threw up numerous times while on it, most recently 5 times yesterday and had pure liquid diarrhea 4-5 times yesterday, once going outside the litter box. We have taken him off Albon per the vets request. Today he was super lethargic, was only wanting to eat tuna really but did eat some dry food. He got severely anemic/dehydrated his gums were very pale and he was rushed to the vet where they gave him fluids and an anti nausea injection again. The vet seems to think we are definitely dealing with something more serious; like feline panleukopenia or FIP. We did a stool test for Panleukopenia but it was negative, however she said this doesn't completely rule it out. He has been sick now for about 15 days with the exception of maybe 1-2 days where he felt better. We cannot afford extensive hospitalization especially after spending $1600 on his vet bills already; and the vet said if it is FIP it would cost around $2000 more to diagnose and hospitalization would not help much. We are continuing with curative/supportive care right now and focusing on making him happy for as long as we can.
 
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ct970

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Oh forgot to add, we are monitoring him just in case his symptoms were caused from side effects of Albon. But I've noticed his breathing is a little off tonight as well, just going to focus on loving him and being there for him for as long as he is with us.
 

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Seems like you 'dropped by' early this morning.......any changes?
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ct970

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Seems to be more active throughout the night, cries every 2 hours for me to feed him tuna and love on him. He eats well, he just stays dehydrated, gotta work on getting his fluid intake up. He seems alert this morning. His belly does seem to be a little enlarged not sure if that is fluid build up or not pooping for a while. He has a tech vet appointment for get fluids and another anti nausea injection today, but for right now he seems pretty content.
 

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Whew ! That is a relief, because the mood was grim last night.

Do you think he'd take some baby food?
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ct970

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The vet did give me some gastrointestinal food to get him to eat that might help put some more weight on him/give him more nutrients. I went downstairs this morning and he has been eating his dry food quite a bit throughout the night last night, he just wants tuna as a snack I suppose because he cries and when I pay attention he starts running downstairs and runs right to the bowl I put it in lol.
 

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OK - here's what I'm thinking.

If you think you can get him to take small amounts of baby food, then ask the Vet Tech for a half-dozen 5ml syringes (they're cheap, but considering what you've already spent there, they should be free). Just tell her you want to 'assist-feed' him with some baby food. (I found that the 5ml is easy to handle and to control in my hand, that the larger syringes were more cumbersome and could easily squirt too much at a time- but, if you've ever done this and have different experience, then pick up whatever size worked for you.)

There's a natural product called S boulardii - some folks call it a probiotic, but it's actually a yeast. Now, we used to have two members here on TCS who were extremely well-informed on cat health issues and who wrote here extensively about using this to deal with GI issues....including specifically eliminating coccidia in kittens. (It has been shown to have the same effect as antibiotics, and they themselves have used it successfully for this express purpose.) These two have since moved on from here and started their own enterprise "foodfurlife.com"......

I have started to pull some of their old posts and threads for you - I can post them later.

If you have a few minutes, you could read a piece from their own site that speaks to diarrhea in general and then to the use of S boulardii specifically (keep this in the back of your mind: they mention "bland food".....that's where you can substitute the baby food). OK - here's that article: https://www.foodfurlife.com/blog--news/my-cat-has-diarrhea-what-do-i-do#/

* * * Focus particularly when you get about halfway down (""Managing the Diarrhea")...and then really focus when you hit ""Emergency Stop Diarrhea..."


If this might be "worth a try", then pick up a couple of bottles of Gerber's chicken baby food Stage 2. The S boulardii should be available at a health/wellness products store.

I'll stop here and wait to see what you think........
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ct970

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Okay great, thank you! I will definitely go out and get some of those and get him started! That is awesome information.
 
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