kitten health crisis - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-28-2017, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
Catsnkiddos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 7
kitten health crisis

In July we unexpectedly took in a litter of 3 kittens from someone's yard. They were flea infested, to the extent that I initially thought they were dead. Their gums AND tongues were white. We spent weeks washing them several times a day with dawn and picking off fleas with tweezers. At first we had to bottle feed them (they were pretty young). The vet prescribed Clavamox for all 3 as 2 clearly had upper respiratory infections and wormed them. We took them to the vet right when we first brought them in and they were snap tested for leukemia, immunodeficiency and parvo- all were negative. It took a long time to clear up the upper respiratory and to get them on the right track. Our vet recommended delaying vax until we spayed/neutered which would be when they were healthy.

The kittens have been thriving. They are energetic, curious and growing. I had them scheduled for spay/neuter in about a week. This past Monday, the most energetic and funny male rejected breakfast (they are food fiends) and went to the litter box...then back to my bed. I was concerned and called my vet. He suggested I monitor and if he still seemed off to bring him in the next day. About an hour later the little female seemed to be lethargic as well. By the end of the day, something was clearly seriously wrong. They were not opening their eyes...were laying in one spot...and when I took the male to the litter box he had white diarrhea down me. I rushed them to the only open vet (not my usual vet). She repeated SNAP tests for same big 3 and all were negative. She ran a CBC and gave fluids. The male's temp was 103.9 and the female 105.8. I rushed them to an animal er where they could be admitted. In the 35 minutes it took to drive from one place to another the temps went to male- 106 and female 108. They rushed her into isolation and started immediate fluids. The vet at the first location felt we may have received a false negative for parvo and that the cats had panleukopenia- the ER hospital was sure it was viral but weren't sure of type.

They remained in isolation from Monday through Thursday receiving fluids, abx and antivirals. The first night there the female ate, but it took a full 24 hours before the male ate. They were reported to be ravenous. They continued to have diarrhea, but fevers came down within in 36 hours to normal temperature. At one point the female went below normal, but not enough to warrant anything more than monitoring and by next temp taking was normal range again. One of the ER vets said he felt that with such rapid response it was unlikely to be panleukopenia but was most certainly viral. On Thursday night they finally said I could pick them up. They reported they were bright, energetic and eating. They wanted to repeat bloodwork at discharge and have a pathologist review as the initial blood had been VERY alarming (low white blood cells, low platelets, low red count). I was sent home with metronidazole, clavamox, famciclovir, and a probiotic. I was told to isolate them from other kitties for 14 days. It was deemed fever of unknown origin with a likely viral cause.

They were VERY happy to be home. They stretched and frisked and played. They raced around their isolation room, scratching everything. They attacked my toes all night- essentially they returned to soccer hooligan mischief. They still had diarrhea, but they looked like they were recovering.

Tonight the vet called with the pathology report from discharge bloodwork. The white cells are still way down as are platelets. Most alarming, the female's red blood cell count was at 18% and the male at 20%. They said the blood is not regenerating pointing to an issue with the marrow. They mentioned feline leukemia as a possibility again. They said it could be a very aggressive cancer. They mentioned a few other possibilities, all of which seemed to mean inevitable death very soon.

They are running another test on the blood they still have...and want to do a marrow aspirate immediately. I have to pick up doxycycline (they have to compound it as the kittens are small) and start it in the morning.

Meanwhile they are running about...wrestling with me, climbing me. They seem a bit bored locked in my bed room but in good spirits. They love to play king of the hill climbing the back of the desk chair. The female has always just stayed on the chair seat and gotten her brothers, but she actually climbed to the top- they seem healthier than ever when just looking at behavior. They still have diarrhea...but not non stop. It is not that white liquid from Monday....it is a good color and for the female still very runny, but for the male a little formed. Their noses are wet, eyes bright.

Has anyone ever had something similar with their cats? Did they survive? Was it ever not one of those big three? Is it always a death sentence when they present with this? If your cat had panleukopenia, did they have similar symptoms/manifestations? Was is something maybe my vets have not considered? Could it be a toxin (vet says toxins never have fever, but...). I am hoping to hera broad feedback to help make my conversations with the vet team more productive. I am researching online as well, but would appreciate any input.

Thanks!

Last edited by marie73; 10-29-2017 at 04:30 AM.
Catsnkiddos is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2017, 04:44 PM
Premier Cat
 
catloverami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,137
in my many years of cat breeding and ownership, have never experienced what you are going through and dealing with. I do hope the kitties recover....it does seem strange to me that they have so much energy to play, yet their bloodwork is reported as "very alarming". Just wondering if the lab got the bloodwork mixed up with some other kitties? Do hope you get some answers soon, and all the very best to your kitties and to you.

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
in avatar. "Always in my heart."
catloverami is offline  
post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2017, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
Catsnkiddos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 7
Since the first bloodwork was at one vet and the second at the ER 4 days later (we went from first vet to ER to be admitted) I have to believe that the bloodwork is correct. It seems unlikely 2 vets would get it wrong. I just want the reason they are suggesting for it to be wrong at this point In the last hour Atticus (AKA Catticus the Great) has seemed to be a bit lethargic. I am not sure how much is real (I mean you sleep if you are sick right?!) and how much is my fear that they are just going to succumb at any moment. I have increased their wet food feedings to try to keep hydration up. They were very excited to see the bowls come in just now. I gave the doxcycline (the newly added med) this morning and if anything they seem less perky now. Luna (the little female) is supposed to be the more ill of the two per the Dr, but I feel like it might be Atticus in reality.

Their littermate brother keeps crying for them at the door. This ordeal is crushing.

And that all typed out and Atticus come hopping over, attacks my hand, chortles, hops away and grooms post meal.
Catsnkiddos is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 01:26 AM
Premier Cat
 
spirite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Roanoke, Va
Posts: 8,487
Oh my goodness. I am so sorry for what you're going through. I've never heard of anything like it either. Are they doing ok?

Ok, I am not a vet, and I have no medical training, but this is one of those cases that makes me wonder about overprescribing antibiotics. Four antibiotics, simultaneously, seems a bit like shooting in the dark and hoping something sticks. It also seems like an awful lot to ask of little kittens' bodies. If the vets are pretty sure it's a viral infection, why prescribe metro, clamavox, and doxycycline? I think these are used to treat bacterial infections. ? Famciclovir is for viral infections. Doxycycline is a pretty strong antibiotic, so I wouldn't be surprised if it makes your kitties more lethargic, or if they don't have much appetite while they're on it. At least it won't be for very long, though - and at least it seems like you're not having any difficulty getting them to take the meds.

I would have wondered about a toxin too. Is it possible that they ingested anything toxic?

I'm assuming they took a stool sample for a fecal, and that it came back negative for parasites? There are other tests, PCR and ELISA, that are used to confirm diagnoses of all of those diseases (FelV, FIV, panleukopenia). Blood samples would need to be sent out to specialized labs, but if your vets don't mention them, you might ask about them.

Fingers crossed for your little ones!
spirite is offline  
post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 01:48 PM
Jr. Cat
 
LovingFurballs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Gainesville, Florida
Posts: 59
You have a lot of good questions here. I can totally understand how stressful it is on your part.

First of all, parvovirus is a canine disease. I don't know why your vet would use that term for kittens. The FVRCP shot is a 3-in-1 that includes rhinotracheitis (cold) and panleukopenia (distemper). Because the first vet did not want to vaccinate the kittens until they're old enough to be spayed/neutered and distemper was named as a possibility, it could be (don't take my word for it; I am not a vet) a mistake by the vet to put off giving them FVRCP shots. You did not say how old they were, but the FVRCP shot can be given before the spay and neuter surgeries. Rabies is the one that must be delayed (until age four months) and if was that, they would already be dead.

Another head scratcher is prescriptions for both Clavamox and a probiotic. They are exact opposites. And like spirite said, why would a vet prescribe either if she suspects a viral disease? FLV (I hate typing the e) is caused by a virus. So is distemper. The vets should have given you only one drug no matter what they think it is because if they are suffering side effects, you need to know which drug is causing them. A third opinion is in order here, especially with their lives on the line.

Meows and purrs,
Andrea
LovingFurballs is offline  
post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
Catsnkiddos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 7
Sorry for not coming back- I was waiting for our veterinary appointments and results. The call on that Saturday night was from one of the vets that had been overseeing them while they were in the ER isolation unit (they had one dr during the day another overnight). She really was doom and gloom and insisted that due to the decreasing red cell count they had on regenerative anemia. With that diagnosis she felt there was certainly an underlying disease like leukemia or an aggressive cancer. I just could not understand how such a low blood count was possible- I mean red cells carry oxygen and I would think a lack of oxygen would not lend itself to frisky kittens- which they have been for the most part since being released from the ER (they spent Monday through Thursday on iv fluids, iv antibiotics and iv metronidazole). That vet indicated they would do a PCR test on the remaining blood samples and then schedule a bone marrow aspirate for this past Tuesday.

We picked up the doxy on Sunday morning and administered it immediately. They got a little lethargic.... and I feared hot. I increased can food feedings to every 2 hours to try to hydrate them (though they were drinking) and they seemed to perk up immediately after eating. They continued diarrhea- in fact each time they ate they immediately defecated, sometimes having to stop mid meal to poop then go back to eating. It was super stinky and very runny.

On Monday night i noticed they did not have diarrhea after their 7 pm meal....in fact though they urinated (a lot) and did not defecate until the next day, mid morning. It was still soft, but less stinky. Since then, they have reduced frequency of defecation, but when they do it is still soft and occasionally very stinky. Only once since Monday has it occurred in conjunction with eating.

On Tuesday we saw the critical care specialist who was to do the marrow aspirate. The PCR test had not been executed so there were no results. The doctor did a very thorough exam. Their temps were normal. They had BOTH gained weight. Their gums were healthier looking (not perfect yet, but better), heart rates good...everything where it should be. They were very relaxed, and super friendly. They watched out the windows of the exam room, attacked the cursor on the computer screen, climbed the doctor's leg...were their lovey hooligan selves. They explored, romped, were kitten essentially. The doctor was quite surprised. He told me he did not expect to see such healthy cats based on the blood work and case history. He told me he could not explain what he was seeing. He said Luna's blood work had last shown 16% redblood cell count..and by his exam he felt she was at least a 20-25% level. He decided to repeat the CBC and run the PCR that had not been done. He said based on the results we would do the marrow aspirate...but he thought it would be unlikely.

Last night the Dr called, and said the rbc had increased- it was still very low but was headed in the right direction! He says we must continue the medication regiment and continue to monitor them. We will repeat bloodwork in 2 weeks. I don't understand how we go from leukemia and aggressive cancer on Saturday night to hey, looks good today! I am still worried and waiting for the other shoe to drop...

Kitties have to continue meds- clavamox, metronidazole, famcyclovir, fortiflora and doxycycline. If they show 95% state of being better they can come out of isolation prior to end of meds.....

I am very worried about not knowing the cause. The critical care vet felt that exam/observation held more weight than the bloodwork... which confuses me. I worry about never knowing what it was...or if it is gone...or if it is contagious to my other kitties...or how to prevent it from happening again...
FOr now I am going to try to relax and hope for the best while we finish out the meds.

(BTW metro and fortiflora were supposed to help alleviate the diarrhea...and I was told when I questioned both clavamox and doxy that they each are acting on different things.... The clavamox was supposed to work at any secondary infection that got in due to the virus....the doxy was supposed to help whatever they thought would be shown by the PCR test). FOr what it's worth stool samples and blood tests were negative for parvo, felv, fiv multiple times.

Oh...and along the vax line...they were between 3 and 4 weeks of age when taken in and very very sick....it took months on abx to get them somewhat healthy. They also were slow to grow (below a pound when over 8 weeks). The vet felt that with their health compromised and their risk low (indoor only once I took them, with adult vaccinated cats already in the home that are also indoor only) the vax delay was appropriate and in their best interest.

Last edited by marie73; 11-03-2017 at 02:22 AM.
Catsnkiddos is offline  
post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2017, 06:54 PM
Banned
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 881
Hi Catsnkiddos and welcome to the forum !

Two points:
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovingFurballs View Post
Another head scratcher is prescriptions for both Clavamox and a probiotic. They are exact opposites.
Many antibiotics play havoc on the digestive tract, destroying the beneficial gut bacteria necessary for the usual digestive processes....and, therefore, causing under-digestion and the result is diarrhea.

To help counter this side effect, an appropriate probiotic that's administered at times farthest away from the a/b dose is generally recommended.....and usually does the 'trick'. Here's a reliable reference for you (the fourth paragraph here, starting with "When giving antibiotics, you may need to re-balance the bacteria in the gut with probiotics...): Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Antibiotics and Painkillers

And
Quote:
And...why would a vet prescribe either if she suspects a viral disease?
Without presuming to know this Vet's thinking, it is possible to have both a bacterial and a viral infection concurrent. And, in the presence of any diarrhea, a probiotic is always a valid and safe 'start'.
Stryker is offline  
post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 11:50 AM
Premier Cat
 
catloverami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,137
Hope the kitties continue to improve...I'm not surprised that the vet "could not explain what he was seeing" at kitties' antics and friskiness with low blood counts... I think you can be optimistic with a good result, if they continue being playful and eating well. All the best!

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
in avatar. "Always in my heart."

Last edited by catloverami; 11-04-2017 at 11:52 AM.
catloverami is offline  
post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
Catsnkiddos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 7
They are wild cats per their pre illness standards. We continue the meds and the diarrhea continues but otherwise they are as they were. WILD ones. We love them! The critical care vet, when we had the appointment, said he'd set his whole morning aside for the bone marrow aspirate which he was not going to perform. He said he always sees very sick kitties and asked if he could just spend time with mine. They were such charmers...frisking, petting him, climbing him and purring. We are very luck to pretty much have a house full of friendly, loving cats.

I am cautiously optimistic...I mean this is the way they were when poof on death's door, so I am not sure I will ever let my guard down, but....

Last edited by marie73; 11-12-2017 at 08:21 PM.
Catsnkiddos is offline  
post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 07:43 PM
Premier Cat
 
spirite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Roanoke, Va
Posts: 8,487
It's so great that they're so active and happy! But like you, I'd definitely want to try to figure out the cause. Maybe their RBC will go back to normal, and the vets will never find a cause - it seems like mystery ailments that just resolve their own aren't that uncommon. But will they still do the PCR test so that at least parasites can be definitively ruled in or out?

About the "doom and gloom" outlook from the critical care vet: I think ER vets often have a different outlook because of the types of cases they see. I had a vet who had been an ER vet previously, and I liked him very much, but I did find that he always went immediately to the worst-case scenario. One time he mentioned the possibility of a tumor and it turned out to be something like constipation.

Fingers crossed that they continue to do well! Have you posted pics of the little ones in the Meet My Kitty forum?
spirite is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome