Kitten at death's door from some infection/ ongoing issues and updates

Nilo

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5 month old male street kitten. Unvaccinated. Does not trust humans, never been touched by a human before today.

Has not eaten or drunk water in over 60 hours. No strength to even stand up, for over 2 days.
Vomited white mucous-like or acid-like substance about 10-12 times in the past 18 hours. Stool is tiny and normal, no dysentery.

The vet in the nearby city gave antibiotics and antacid injections 3 hours ago. No improvement yet - other than the vomiting having stopped. Still not even able to lick at water, just puts lips on water and looks like it's barely keeping it's eyes open.
No tests were prescribed or taken. Just an examination of its eyes and head, I was told the condition is pretty bad. Tests are not easily accessible in my country.

What can I do? How to save the kitten?
I want to do my best while there's still time to make a difference.

Should I visit another vet - there's an expensive vet that provides blood tests a couple hours away. Should I go or will they do pretty much the same thing that's already been done? I don't want to stress the kitten unnecessarily further when they're already super stressed.
What do I give them to eat or drink? How do I make them? Or should I just let them be?
 

Caspers Human

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You could try one thing as a last-ditch attempt. A little bit of corn syrup, mixed with water, rubbed on the gums.
Maybe the burst of energy from sugar will give him a chance to drink and eat. I don't know. It sounds like a long shot. A "Hail Mary Pass" if you will.

If you're driving down the road and you know that your car is about to run out of gas. What can you do? You might try to step on the accelerator in order to build some speed that, hopefully, will let you coast into the gas station. But... If you don't play it right... if luck is not on your side... your engine will quit before you make it there and you'll be stranded on the side of the road.

That's an analogy for what I'm suggesting.

The alternative might be to rush the kitten to the vet, start him on IV/Sub-Q fluids, oxygen and forced/IV feeding. Of course, it will be expensive, difficult and might not work. He might not survive, no matter what you do, at this point.

To go back to that analogy, you might want to consider pulling the car off to the side of the road and waiting for a tow truck.

No matter what happens, even if the kitten doesn't make it, he had at least one night to sleep in a warm bed, courtesy of your care.

IHMO, that's something to take a little pride in. 👍

Thoughts and prayers be with you! 🙏
Sending get-well vibes! :vibes:
 
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Nilo

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You could try one thing as a last-ditch attempt. A little bit of corn syrup, mixed with water, rubbed on the gums.
Maybe the burst of energy from sugar will give him a chance to drink and eat. I don't know. It sounds like a long shot. A "Hail Mary Pass" if you will.

If you're driving down the road and you know that your car is about to run out of gas. What can you do? You might try to step on the accelerator in order to build some speed that, hopefully, will let you coast into the gas station. But... If you don't play it right... if luck is not on your side... your engine will quit before you make it there and you'll be stranded on the side of the road.

That's an analogy for what I'm suggesting.

The alternative might be to rush the kitten to the vet, start him on IV/Sub-Q fluids, oxygen and forced/IV feeding. Of course, it will be expensive, difficult and might not work. He might not survive, no matter what you do, at this point.

To go back to that analogy, you might want to consider pulling the car off to the side of the road and waiting for a tow truck.

No matter what happens, even if the kitten doesn't make it, he had at least one night to sleep in a warm bed, courtesy of your care.

IHMO, that's something to take a little pride in. 👍

Thoughts and prayers be with you! 🙏
Sending get-well vibes! :vibes:
Sorry for my late reply. Thank you so much! You have no idea how glad I am to read your response.

He kept peeing on himself uncontrollably and after the first couple times, he even gave up moving away from it. That made me freak out enough to take him to another vet and they gave him RL Sub-Q fluids and an antibiotic and vitamins. They told me to bring him once a day for IV fluids and meds for the next few days. It's far more affordable than I expected, so that's my plan. He's not peeing himself now and he's stopped vomiting, but he still looks scarily weak and immobile. I hope he makes it.

I'll try a variant of your corn syrup tip. We don't have corn syrup here, but I'll find some sugary substance for him.

You mentioned IV feeding. I'm now curious - I was told that the fluids was enough. I'll have to read about this.

Thank you for your wholesome caring reply. I don't know many animal lovers IRL, so I don't have anyone to talk about my cat situation with, so it's really been therapeutic and validating hearing from a fellow carer. Great day to you!
 

Sarthur2

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Small drops of sugar water or honey water every hour or two may help, in addition to the sub-q fluids. Ask the new vet about anti-nausea meds. Also ask when you might offer soft food.

Thank you for helping this poor kitten. Do keep us posted. I hope he continues to improve. The sub-q fluids are vital for his internal organs.
 

Caspers Human

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I guess IV feeding is more of a figure of speech. In hospitals, coma patients and people who are too sick to eat by themselves can be given nutrients by IV to keep them alive until they can get strong enough to eat on their own. It's not "food," per se. It's fluids and nutrition, given intravenously, to sustain the patient. It works the same with animals as humans. Just the makeup of the solutions are different.

The corn syrup is meant to be a "Hail Mary" (A sports analogy: To throw the ball in the air at the last second of the game they say a prayer and hope it goes in the goal) to keep them going long enough so that you can give them other care.
Cats' bodies aren't really designed to burn pure sugar. This is an old-time remedy. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. All you're trying to do is to give them one last burst of energy to give them enough energy to eat or drink on their own.

If you can't find corn syrup you might try honey, maple syrup or something similar. Simple syrup will probably work. (50/50 sugar and water, boiled until it all dissolves then allowed to cool, slowly.) Just so long as it's safe for cats to eat.

If the kitten is too weak to eat solid food on its own, try "Kitten Milk Replacement." You can feed it from a baby bottle or a syringe.
If you can't get Kitten Milk Replacement, try goat milk. Use cow milk only if you can't get anything else.

You can also try mixing some of your regular kitten food in warm water or KMR to make a porridge. You can feed the kitten with a spoon if you have to but don't try to force feed. You might choke the kitten. If you think the kitten needs to be force fed, ask a vet to teach you how. You don't want to hurt the kitten!

Just for information, my experience comes from growing up with animals. My father bred hunting dogs and, over the years, we had a few sickly puppies. All the things I'm talking about come from that experience. Cats are different than dogs, of course, but they are similar enough that many of the old-time tricks still work. We did lose a few puppies but, as I remember, we saved a few, too.

Good to hear that your kitten is doing better. Let's hope he turns the corner, soon!
 

Furballsmom

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Hi! Bless you for helping this little guy!

Do you have a heating pad? You can set it to the lowest setting and also put a folded towel over the heating pad so it's more warmth than heat and place the kitten on that. Give him a way to move off the pad in case it gets overly warm.

Alternatively a sock filled with uncooked rice or beans, and heated in the microwave (test this on your skin) can help keep him warm and give him something to snuggle with. A purr toy, and/or a heartbeat toy can help his emotional state as well.
 
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Nilo

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Thank you, folks! It's been awesome hearing from all of you.

Small drops of sugar water or honey water every hour or two may help, in addition to the sub-q fluids. Ask the new vet about anti-nausea meds. Also ask when you might offer soft food.

Thank you for helping this poor kitten. Do keep us posted. I hope he continues to improve. The sub-q fluids are vital for his internal organs.
I'll up the frequency. Thank you!
Yeah, the first vet gave him something like anti-nausea meds. Should I still ask for more if he's stopped vomiting? He could be nauseatic, and I might not know, I guess I'll ask them.
Thank you for helping me help the kitten!

I guess IV feeding is more of a figure of speech. In hospitals, coma patients and people who are too sick to eat by themselves can be given nutrients by IV to keep them alive until they can get strong enough to eat on their own. It's not "food," per se. It's fluids and nutrition, given intravenously, to sustain the patient. It works the same with animals as humans. Just the makeup of the solutions are different.

The corn syrup is meant to be a "Hail Mary" (A sports analogy: To throw the ball in the air at the last second of the game they say a prayer and hope it goes in the goal) to keep them going long enough so that you can give them other care.
Cats' bodies aren't really designed to burn pure sugar. This is an old-time remedy. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. All you're trying to do is to give them one last burst of energy to give them enough energy to eat or drink on their own.

If you can't find corn syrup you might try honey, maple syrup or something similar. Simple syrup will probably work. (50/50 sugar and water, boiled until it all dissolves then allowed to cool, slowly.) Just so long as it's safe for cats to eat.

If the kitten is too weak to eat solid food on its own, try "Kitten Milk Replacement." You can feed it from a baby bottle or a syringe.
If you can't get Kitten Milk Replacement, try goat milk. Use cow milk only if you can't get anything else.

You can also try mixing some of your regular kitten food in warm water or KMR to make a porridge. You can feed the kitten with a spoon if you have to but don't try to force feed. You might choke the kitten. If you think the kitten needs to be force fed, ask a vet to teach you how. You don't want to hurt the kitten!

Just for information, my experience comes from growing up with animals. My father bred hunting dogs and, over the years, we had a few sickly puppies. All the things I'm talking about come from that experience. Cats are different than dogs, of course, but they are similar enough that many of the old-time tricks still work. We did lose a few puppies but, as I remember, we saved a few, too.

Good to hear that your kitten is doing better. Let's hope he turns the corner, soon!
Yeah, your point is valid. He's not getting any nutrition other than tiny drops I touch on his mouth. I assumed that the RL fluid contains some form of nutrition at the time. But it doesn't. So I'll have to ask the vet what they can provide.

I've been touching kitten formula to his mouth, but I need to up my frequency. He's unable to even lick though, so I haven't tried force feeding him, and the vet told me to wait until he starts licking water on his own.

Thank you!

Hi! Bless you for helping this little guy!

Do you have a heating pad? You can set it to the lowest setting and also put a folded towel over the heating pad so it's more warmth than heat and place the kitten on that. Give him a way to move off the pad in case it gets overly warm.

Alternatively a sock filled with uncooked rice or beans, and heated in the microwave (test this on your skin) can help keep him warm and give him something to snuggle with. A purr toy, and/or a heartbeat toy can help his emotional state as well.
Great idea. I wasn't sure if I should provide more warmth when he already has a fever, and I live close to the equator. I've just provided him soft clothes to snuggle with, at the moment. I'll arrange for the rest. Thank you!

A small, stuffed animal makes a nice place for a kitten to snuggle and stay warm if they will accept it.

More than one of our stuffed toys went to helping sickly pups stay warm! ;)
Yes, I'll try that. Thank you!
 
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Nilo

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We are, so to speak 💞

You said he can't lick or suckle, but Is he able to swallow ?
I'm not sure.
When I said he "can't", I actually meant that he "doesn't".

I haven't noticed him swallowing, but then I wasn't looking specifically either. He definitely hasn't ingested anything including water. Even the drops of maple syrup and formula I give him just stains his mouth outside, and he only rarely sucks his lips. No idea if it's difficult for him or he's pissed with me or the taste.
I could check by force feeding him, but I guess I'll wait a little longer. I want to believe he's improving.

He whines just fine when I take him to the vet or pick him up in my arms depending on his strength at the time, so his throat's probably alright. He hardly made a noise for the last 3 days, but today he whined for a long time at the normal loudness at the vet. Gives me hope that he feels stronger.
 

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After being dehydrated, he may have a sore mouth or perhaps nausea from both the illness and the meds. Not eating or drinking for a long time also causes nausea and reaching. In addition to the syrup, you can try a few drops of unflavored pedialyte in his cheek pouch - at first, just a tiny drop or two, in 15 minute intervals. I also like to encourage him with "comfort grooming" , using soft, tiny "J" strokes about the head and ears - that mimics a mother cat's licks and it's often encouraging. If he is okay with regular handling, you can gently massage his "wrists" on his front paws by using your thumb and index finger. Meanwhile, he might respond to boiled beef broth with only a little pink/Himalayan salt added (or broth with pedialyte) - again, using tiny amounts and long intervals at first. When you go to get rest, he needs dark and quiet so hopefully he can "recharge his batteries " with rest.
Thank you so very, very much for all the TLC that you are giving this young cat - be assured that despite it all, he knows that he matters to someone special (you)! Please tell him that his new TCS family is rooting and praying for him :vibes::heartshape::cheerleader:
And keep up the good work :nurse:
 

Andrea_Lucky

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When I first rescued my kitten, he was very sick, and he got antibiotics, but I think what was also absolutely necessary for him, was that we were able to give him subQ fluids at home 3x per day for about 2 weeks. Perhaps that is something you can discuss with your vet, if you are able to, since its much cheaper and can be done more frequently than going to the vet. My kitten was only about 8 weeks old though, and very docile and weak, so it was easy for us to do (two people). Good luck, I hope your kitten is ok.
 
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Nilo

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Hey, I got him 2 drip sessions today. I met another doctor at the vet who kinda threatened me into giving him some locally made medical syrup, using a syringe. He swallowed it fine. He had some trouble at the beginning, but he was able to swallow a few gulps.
He's too weak to lift his head even, and his eyes are less responsive.

After being dehydrated, he may have a sore mouth or perhaps nausea from both the illness and the meds. Not eating or drinking for a long time also causes nausea and reaching. In addition to the syrup, you can try a few drops of unflavored pedialyte in his cheek pouch - at first, just a tiny drop or two, in 15 minute intervals. I also like to encourage him with "comfort grooming" , using soft, tiny "J" strokes about the head and ears - that mimics a mother cat's licks and it's often encouraging. If he is okay with regular handling, you can gently massage his "wrists" on his front paws by using your thumb and index finger. Meanwhile, he might respond to boiled beef broth with only a little pink/Himalayan salt added (or broth with pedialyte) - again, using tiny amounts and long intervals at first. When you go to get rest, he needs dark and quiet so hopefully he can "recharge his batteries " with rest.
Thank you so very, very much for all the TLC that you are giving this young cat - be assured that despite it all, he knows that he matters to someone special (you)! Please tell him that his new TCS family is rooting and praying for him :vibes::heartshape::cheerleader:
And keep up the good work :nurse:
You're right.
Cheek pouch? You mean with a syringe? Is that not a little difficult and stressful to do frequently? Or is it just me?

Great moves, thank you.
Tbh he's not very comfortable with me handling him. He's wary. He only tolerates me because he's too weak to do otherwise. He does like the head to neck massage sometimes.

I was recommended to wait to force feed him. Do you think I should get him started on a few drops? He does seem too weak.

Thank you for all the assorted tips and the prayers!
Yep, we're lucky to have the TCS fam.

When I first rescued my kitten, he was very sick, and he got antibiotics, but I think what was also absolutely necessary for him, was that we were able to give him subQ fluids at home 3x per day for about 2 weeks. Perhaps that is something you can discuss with your vet, if you are able to, since its much cheaper and can be done more frequently than going to the vet. My kitten was only about 8 weeks old though, and very docile and weak, so it was easy for us to do (two people). Good luck, I hope your kitten is ok.
Wow, that's a brilliant idea that would have never crossed my mind.
It would be impossible to visit the vet that often that long.
Were you able to easily insert the needle and find the right spot?
Did your kitten not eat or drink for 2 weeks? That sounds so scary.
Were you also able to give your kitten injections at home? If not, how often did you have to go get it?
Yep, my kitten's pretty weak too, I think this can be done. Pretty sure the vet would convince me otherwise though, they're pretty capitalistic.
Thank you for the great idea!
 

gemmamiso

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subQ fluids are quite easy to administer. I worked at a vet’s office as a kennel assistant, but sometimes was brought to the front where I preformed technician duties— including administering subQ fluids with no practice and only one instance of oversight by one of the techs. Irresponsible, maybe, but doable, at least.
 

Caspers Human

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I was recommended to wait to force feed him.
Is he able to eat on his own, at all? Back, when I was a kid and my father was raising puppies, if a pup could eat on its own, it should be encouraged to. Force feeding should be done only when the puppy/kitten can't or won't eat on its own.

Tiny spoons full of milk or puppy/kitten formula. Use a baby bottle or a syringe to feed them drop by drop.
When they get strong enough to drink that, move on to a thin porridge of food mixed with warm milk/formula.
As they get stronger, more food and less formula until they can eat regular food on their own.

Force feeding is only done to save a pup/kitten when they can't eat on their own.

Force feeding isn't hard but you have to do it the right way.
It's usually done with a tube and syringe. The tube is pushed in until it goes down the esophagus. The thing you have to watch out for is that the tube doesn't go down the trachea. You want the food to go down to the kitten's stomach, not the windpipe. (That would be bad!)

I was, probably, ten years old when I first saw it done. We had a litter of pups and there was one that was too sickly to eat and we had to force feed it. The vet's assistant came to our house and showed us how to do it. If a kid can learn how to do it (with proper supervision) I don't see why an intelligent adult can't learn. As I said, it's not hard. You just have to do it right.

So. If your kitten is able to eat and drink on his own, encourage him to do so as much as possible.

Force feed only when you have to.

It's good to hear your kitten is doing a little better! Let's hope he KEEPS getting better!

Thoughts and prayers! 🙏

Vibes! :vibes:
 
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