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Discussion Starter #1
Before Rain died, he was a very sick kitten. In fact, he was acting sick the day after I brought him home. His symptoms included:

sneezing, thick green nasal discharge, hacking cough, vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration (from not eating or drinking), going to the litter box and nothing happening, "hovering" over the water dish then walking away, and he swallowed hard.

Now, when I called the Humane Society and told them that my vet explained to me that there was a chance his distemper test was a false negative, because of his symptoms. The woman on the phone promptly stated that it sounded like pneumonia. When I got off the phone, I did some research and his symptoms were similar to a severe URI or distemper and without a positive test result or a necropsy (which I cannot afford), I can't prove that the Humane Society gave me a kitten with distemper.

Not only that, but my former boss had found an article in the local paper regarding an issue with feline distemper at the humane society (published on the day Rain died). Basically, they weren't sterilizing kittens under 5-6 months of age because if their immune systems are weakened they could get the virus. They never told me that was why he was "too young" to be sterilized.

I'm not sure what he died of, but it sure sounds like distemper to me. What do you guys think?

I'm just really frustrated; I spent a lot of money at the vet because they weren't honest with me.
 

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The symptoms of feline distemper are vomiting, not eating, and bloody diarrhea, which all result in dehydration.

*Canine* distemper is an upper respiratory virus, but feline distemper is exactly the same as canine parvo. The symptoms you describe are mostly respiratory; the likeliest scenario is an upper respiratory virus with a secondary bacterial pneumonia. But without a vast amount of tests, it's really impossible to know.

Most shelters will not adopt out sick cats, but they may have felt that he would bounce back quickly in a real home without the stress of the shelter. But it's hard for you to go through this, especially if you then have to worry about your other cats picking up something contagious (though that's unlikely).

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I spoke with the vet about this issue, because I do not currently have any other cats (he was my first) and I mostly called to ask about getting another. My vet suggested a kitten over 6 months of age because of the likelihood of him dying from distemper or pneumonia, and the risk of a young immune system being extremely susceptible to the viruses.

I guess I'm just frustrated now because I really can't afford a necropsy to rule anything out, even though I would really like a young kitten. At the same time, I'm not willing to risk anything, so I know I'll be adopting an older cat (6months or older, depending on what's available through the two Humane Societies nearby).
 
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