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.
Last edited by marie73; 10-29-2017 at 04:30 AM.