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Foster mom needs info - please !

JulieH
February 23rd, 2006, 08:34 PM
Hello,

I am in Montreal and am currently fostering for the Laval SPCA. I love, love, love fostering. I adore falling asleep with 5 kittens sleeping on my bed, crawling over my head and snuggling into my neck. I love coming up with names for the new arrivals and watching them settle into "home" life with the rest of our cats. A home is not complete without a pet - or several !

So 2 1/2 weeks ago, the SPCA called and asked if I had room to foster a very pregnant momma cat. I said sure (I always have room !). She was kept separate from the rest of the kittens (I had 4 at that point, plus my 2 adults). Unfortunately (that's an understatement), she got sick and the SPCA vet said it might be a bunchof different thongs, including panleuk and she would be euthanised (she was very sick). I disinfected her room with bleach and figured everything was fine.

When they called back a few days later and asked if I could foster a mom and her 3 kittens, I said sure and into a different room she went.

Turns out everything was *not* fine. Hugely, tragically NOT fine. My most beautiful, black, 10 week old, fluffiest, nicest foster kitten "Bear" got sick too. It hit so hard and so fast that within a day she was obviously not going to make it. The vet disgnosed the dreaded panleuk. Bear was euthanised on Monday. Bear and her litter mates lived with us in the house. The virus could be anywhere at this point...

I am now on "death watch" for the other kittens I have (her 3 littermates). Somehow, they don't have symptoms yet but I know it's only a matter of time. How could they not catch it ? Add to that the new Mom and her 3 kittens (3 weeks old now). I'm paranoid ! Everytime one lies down, I poke at it to make sure it's just sleeping and not actually sick...

Long story short (too late...). If by some miracle, the cats don't show any symptoms after the incubation period of 7-10 days - what can I do to keep them safe ??? I have washed all the floors and food bowls with bleach and/or Vircon. I have sprayed Vircon on all obvious surfaces (sofa, chairs, etc).

Can the little kits be vaccinated ASAP ? How bout the 3 week olds ?? How long after vaccination does it take for enough antibodiess to be produced so they would be protected ?? How on earth do you disinfect and ENTIRE house so it's safe for more foster kitties ? (I considered closing all doors and window and filling it with bleach through the chimney (sp?)

I'm so sad for the kittens... and for myself... I love fotering but unless I can get a vaccinated pregnant mom cat or kittens I may have to stop for a very long while until the virus is inactivated... I've heard up to a year (I'll go nuts not fostering for that long !!)

Help !! Please !!
Julie

Lucky Rescue
February 23rd, 2006, 08:52 PM
When they called back a few days later and asked if I could foster a mom and her 3 kittens

I"m not understanding why the SPCA asked you to foster a second mother cat and litter when they knew you had this highly contagious and often fatal disease in your home??:eek:

The virus is a parvo virus, very stable and able to survive a long time outside the body. It spreads by contact with bodily secretions, so you must make sure that you thoroughly wash your hands and never let the cats close enough to allow infection to spread.

Here's an article that might help you:
http://www.2ndchance.info/panleukopenia.htm

catsnatcher-CDN
February 23rd, 2006, 09:02 PM
Perhaps you may have to limit yourself to vaccinated cats for a while, just to be sure.

Sorry to hear about your horrible experience...must've been a very tough week :sad:

CyberKitten
February 23rd, 2006, 09:27 PM
I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I am aty a loss to understand why the SPCA asked you to foster an ill cat when they knew you were also fostering kittens. Did you have them in a special room on another floor far from the other ones. (Though I know, kits will be kits, sigh!)

Three weeks is WAY too early for vaccination and at that age they whave the immunity their mother gave them. Are these bottle babies though? Did they not have a mama - I am confused about where the mama of Bear and her sibs? Was she with you or were you hand rearing them? If their mama was feeding them, at 3 weeks, they have her immunity until they are old enough (abouy 6 wks depending on their weight and other issues, and they already have compromised immunity so you may have to wait. Ideally, the kittens should not even be in your home!! Not with that vcirus floraong around - is there somewhere else you can keep them? Or the SPCA = that may be their best chance unless they have already been infected.

In the meantime, you need to compltely disinfect your home .

You said panluk? You mean Cat Leukemia or feline panleukopenia (distemper). If it was distemper, then your kittens atre especially at VERY HIGH RISK and for theiir own safety should be moved asap!!! I had a friend once foster some feral kittens I had handraised from my grandmother's feral colony - she was not as experienced as we were and allowed in an unknown cat (my fault I suppose tho I did tell her to keep them in a room away from any other cats but she brought in the cat and she claimed someone else allowed him in - it's water under the bridge now- and thru the efforts of a very fine vet at what then constituted the vet college in PEI (It was in its infancy, all but one survived but they never returned to that place again I can tell you - I brought them home, to a seperate room tho one vet adopted one - he felt if the little one had fought so hard to live, he wanted it! - and they were part meezer!!!) So, I came home with the two of them and they stayed in yet another home - a neighbour who had no animals, no animal viruses or bacteria and was kind enouh to let me use one of her rooms) (I felt like I was making my round, prep for my later lifestyle, lol).

The kittens need not come into contact with the other cats - just the fact your were cleaning fecal waste and may not have washed your hands properly (We do a test every yr at the hospital and even tho we use the surgical method of hand washing, we still find bacteria or viruses under our hands - and even wearing gloves , while certainly 98% way of ensuring no contact, gloves can have tiny cracks not even visible to the naked eye but they can attack a small kitten in no time!). Other body secretions are also infectious - if the infected cat kissed you and the kittens paw felt your face, any bodily waste or blood or anything the other cat may have touched on you, including your clothes. That's why when dealing with this illness - good vet hospitals will insist their workers change clothes, booties, gloves, everything - just like when people are in isolation post a bone marrow transplant (any transplant) or in treating someone with a highly contagious illness. So if you wore the same clothing when you picked up the kittens, you could easily though unknowingly have transferred the dedaly virus to them. And if one kitten has it - and they live together, the chances are very high that the others will develop it/ I hope they have been to a vet or have been seen by a vet already!

Tiny kittens are so fragile that this illness is almost a death sentence for them - I myself do not know how the ones I had survived (It was a miracle really!) And since thee panleukopenia virus is so stable - meaning it lasts for a long time and is hard to kill, it is resistant to many chemicals and may remain infectious at room temperature for as long as one year. Short of raising those kittens and other cats who may have come in contact with it, in total isolation, it is nearly impossible to prevent exposure.

So, can you find someone else to take these kittens tho really - if it were me, I'd have them at a vet where they can be observed. But the viris is in the air, on clothes, and the clothes you wore when treating the cats with it prob should be destroyed- if you plan to foster again. I hate to sound so dire but really you will have to use as much javex as you have and go thru your home and even then, I don't know. In the case of the friend, after the kittens left, her family moved out and they had their home fumigated.

Panleukopenia can also kill important cells in a cat and even more so in a tiny kitten so that mean they are more suspectible to other illness which means they will have to wait prob eveb past the 6 week perriod for their vaccinations now.

The first signs to look for are loss of appetite, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, dehydration, not wanting to eat - another thing cats HAVE to do, esp kits!! They do not haveour reserves. While the disease can last for 304 days after 1st infection and fever, death can come in hours! The signs are varied though - according to my vet, depending on the cat (ie some have moe vomiting than explosive diarrhea (I can never spell that, sigh)

I assume a vet has seen them?? (I asked that didn't I- sorry!)

There is no cure for this disease - no antibiotics that can help (it IS a virus after all! and no anti-viral meds) which is why cats are vaccinated for it. It is too late for the kittens to be vaccinated for it now and if you do vaccinate them at 3 wks (no vet will do that anyway and will prob not even at 6 wks now)

Older cats usually can survive which is why we were so amazed the kits we had made it - it went against everything we (I mean the vets and my grandmother - I was just a kid really (14 or 15) and not that knowledagble at that time) wre so astonished the kits survived. Antiboitics can of course help if secondary bacterial infection oocur mind you.

If the kits you have have it, and when they come home from the vet you will have to keep them extremey warm and give them lots of TLC, supportive care, encourage them to eat!! Kits or cats with this disease according to some vets seem to loose the will to live - usually by losing the will to eat but if there is someone they truly love (another cat or human(, it is imortant they be around that person (if that person is in islation garb!!)

I can't believe the SPCA gave you a sick cat - did they not take her to a vet first? That is so outragous that I want to scream!!!!! What a tragedy!!!!! Anf to then not tell give you directions - but they may not have known themselves (Jobs at SPCA places tend not to pay well and are often filled with people who mean well but lack knowledge tho they gain it fast on the job if they do not have it. Rescue organizations usually have people who started the org because of their love of cats so they typically have more knowledge but now I am just thinking out loud as to how this happaned! I just can't beleive it!!!

Plaese find these kittens a vet if they have not seen one already and make sure they do not have the illness. Even if they do not, you will have yo disfect every place abnd everything the cats who died touched inc clothing, furniture, walls, plants, foors, food bowls EVERYTHING!!!!!

Good luck!! I'll say a prayer!! OMG!!! :grouphug:

JulieH
February 24th, 2006, 08:39 AM
I am aty a loss to understand why the SPCA asked you to foster an ill cat when they knew you were also fostering kittens.

The SPCA is overloaded with cats/kittens that need fostering. They'll send them anywhere. When they sent the pregnant cat to me, she was fine. She had been seen by a vet and had a clean bill of health. EXCEPT that, unbeknown to us all, she was incubating panleukopenia. She develloped it 7 days after arriving at my house.


Three weeks is WAY too early for vaccination and at that age they whave the immunity their mother gave them. Are these bottle babies though? Did they not have a mama - I am confused about where the mama of Bear and her sibs? Was she with you or were you hand rearing them? If their mama was feeding them, at 3 weeks, they have her immunity until they are old enough (abouy 6 wks depending on their weight and other issues, and they already have compromised immunity so you may have to wait.


Sorry, theyre' so many kittens flaoting around in my story that I've gotten you all confused ! Here's a timeline to sort things out (the dates are approx)

Feb 1: Bear and her 3 sibs came to my house and so did Souza (the pregnant mom who ended up dying). They were being kept separate. Bears gang was 8 weeks old and came without a mom. The Laval SPCA wants the kits to be at least 4 months before adoption (why ???).

Feb 7: Souza gets really sick. The vet says it might be a bunch of things, maybe panleukopenia. She did not have the "classic symptoms" though so he wasn't sure. They do not autopsy to find out exactly.

Feb 10: the SPCA called to see if I would take Mrs Norris and her 3 kittens (3 weeks old). I did tell them about Souza and her possible panleuk but they weren't worried about it as long as I kept them separate and disinfected all the gear.

Feb 14: Bear gets sick. Vet said Panleuk this time for sure. Classic symptoms this time.

Feb 15th: me in a panic !!!

(sorry - the dates are all wrong but you get the general idea)

Ideally, the kittens should not even be in your home!! Not with that virus floraong around - is there somewhere else you can keep them? Or the SPCA = that may be their best chance unless they have already been infected.

If I return them to the SPCA, they will be euthanised immediately. They are having problems right now with rhino and panleuk so if I bring in kittens that *may* have it, they won't take any chances and will put them "to sleep"

In the meantime, you need to compltely disinfect your home .

I've been trying but honestly, how do you disinfect an entire house ? Every nook and cranny ? Every carpet fiber ? Every article of clothing that may have been worn in the last 2 weeks ?


And if one kitten has it - and they live together, the chances are very high that the others will develop it/ I hope they have been to a vet or have been seen by a vet already! So, can you find someone else to take these kittens tho really - if it were me, I'd have them at a vet where they can be observed.

No, they haven't seen a vet. I called the SPCA since they do belong to them and they said there's no point in bringing them in as they are no showing symptoms right now. They can't treat them if they don't "have anything". Right now, it's just watch and wait and pray...

In the case of the friend, after the kittens left, her family moved out and they had their home fumigated.

I did think of fumigation. Did it work ? From what I know of the virus, it is only killed by bleach and Vircon (which i have been using). What chemicals do fumigators use that would kill it ?

Older cats usually can survive which is why we were so amazed the kits we had made it - it went against everything we (I mean the vets and my grandmother - I was just a kid really (14 or 15) and not that knowledagble at that time) wre so astonished the kits survived. Antiboitics can of course help if secondary bacterial infection oocur mind you.

How old were the kits ? What treatment did they get ? I heard from my vet that kittens almost never recover on their own. They need intensive supportive treatment, intravenus meds and "food"...

We're on "incubation day 5". The SPCA won't do anything to help. They have so many healthy cats to deal with that the sick ones (or potentially sick ones) - especially the ones like mine who are in foster care and are not yet adopted get left out and end up euthanised. Their moto seems to be "You can't save 'em all, at least save the healthy ones". And I agree UNTIL one of mine ends up on the "sick" list...

A question on maternal antibodies: If a mom was never vaccinated (as with most strays) do they pass on maternal antibodies for these diseases to their kittens ? How can they pass on antibodies for something they don't have antibodies for ?

Also... If my older cats (Bear's sibs - about 10 weeks now) DO NOT get sick during the incubation period, can I get them vaccinated then ? I mean, if they did not by some miracle, catch it yet then vaccinating them now will give them a fighting chance. If they did catch it and are incubating it when they get vaccinated, then vaccinating won't chance the course of things - they will get sick and die. Right ?

Also, here...

http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/health/vaccination-protocol-catteries.html

they suggest that if the cats are at risk, they can be vaccinated as early as 2 weeks but best to wait until they are 4 weeks, then repeat every 3-4 weeks until age 12 weeks. Anyone heard of doing this ? Will this save Mrs Norris's kittens ?

Honestly, I have no place to put these kittens or Mrs Norris and her litter. The SPCA, as I mentionned earlier, will euthanise them. I've been through all my friends in my head and ruled them all out due to allergies, presence of pets in their house and various reasons (like: disliking cats). If I had another place to put them, I would ! I suppose boarding at the vet is an idea but I am fostering them - they are not mine - and the expense would be my own. If it were MY cat, then I'd do it in a heartbeat but these kittens will go on to be adopted and I don't have a limitless cash supply to help out strays...much to my dismay...

Thanks for all your replies, they are very helpfull ! Keep 'em coming and keep your fingers crossed !
Julie

Lucky Rescue
February 24th, 2006, 10:09 AM
I suppose boarding at the vet is an idea but I am fostering them

The vet is not going to take in cats who possibly have panleukopenia.

Go to the hardware store and buy a bag of disposible surgical gloves - you can get a whole bag quite cheaply.

Keep this newest mom and kits strictly isolated - in a bathroom if possible, since that is easy to keep clean! Keep the gloves just inside the room they are in, and put them on when you go in the room. Discard them when you leave. IF you have an old smock or apron, put that on too and leave it in the room when you exit.

The point is to not let any bodily secrections of infected kittens - saliva, feces, urine - go from one cat to another. This virus doesn't float around in the air, it must be transmitted by contact with infected secretions.

That's about the best that can be done now. The new mom and kits may be fine. The kittens can be vaccinated at 8 weeks.

Try not to panic, and don't be spraying all kinds of aerosols around the kittens. They have very delicate respiratory systems. Just be a little extra vigilent about the gloves,smock and clean hands.

JulieH
February 24th, 2006, 12:33 PM
Good idea on the gloves and smock... Gotta go shopping... I'm hoping that this mom was vaccinated at some point and that'll help with the worst of it. If I have to pay myself to get them vaccinated, I'll do that.

I talked to the SPCA again this morning (the must be serioulsy tired of hearing from me) and I'm still shaking my head at their vaccination protocol: if the cat gets adopted (any cat or kitten) they wait 1 MONTH before doing the first vaccination. Then 1 month later, you get your booster shot done (on your own - at your own vet) then 2 weeks after that, they will sterilize them (if you're lucky enough to get an appointement that early). That seems an awful long time to be completely unvaccinated and an unnecessary amount of time wasted before sterilization - you've had the cat for at least 2 1/2 month before it gets spayed/neutered !! You'd better hope no one accidentally brings in a virus and that the cat stays in at all times since it is completely vulnerable to disease and unwanted pregnancies !!!

Once all this panic is over and my house is safe again, I'm going to look to foster elsewhere - somewhere less "big business & red tape" and who uses more logic... Any suggestions in the Montreal area ?

Thanks
Julie

Lucky Rescue
February 24th, 2006, 01:28 PM
The SPCA doesn't vaccinate or spay/neuter any animals, or even treat them for illness, since it's not profitable to spend money on animals they are going to kill.

All cats are adopted out intact and if the new owner doesn't want to s/n and if the animal has a litter, no one cares.

I'm sure you also know that when you foster a mom cat and kittens, then bring them back there, the usual protocol is to kill the mother immediately?

There are rescue groups who would love to have a committed foster home like yours. And at least you would know that the cats you have cared for so lovingly will not die.

What part of Montreal are you in?

Inverness
February 24th, 2006, 01:28 PM
Once all this panic is over and my house is safe again, I'm going to look to foster elsewhere - somewhere less "big business & red tape" and who uses more logic... Any suggestions in the Montreal area ?

Thanks
Julie

I can't imagine Lucky not jumping on this occasion here ! ;)

Lucky Rescue
February 24th, 2006, 01:31 PM
Yes,we would jump on it, depending on where Julie is. Since all of our adoption events are held in Hudson/st.Lazare, we would love to have a foster home in that area!:)

However, due to the distemper in Julie's home, she needs to hold off bringing any more cats home. In the meantime, there are other things to do to help out rescues.:)

JulieH
February 26th, 2006, 01:55 PM
I'm in Boisbriand. Not terribly close to Hudson I'm afraid... However, if you need help, you can certainly give me a call once my present crowd has thinned out a bit (right now, I'm full with 2 of my own and 6 fosters).

I have been in contact with Steri-Animal which is slightly closer to me... Do you know of any rescues around the Laval area ?

Not to contradict you or anything but the 2 times I've brought mom's back with their kittens (to the SPCA) they were put up for adoption and not euthanised straight away. I mean, they'd be no different than any abandonned animal... And as a bonus, you've got a great personality background on them since they been living with a family who can tell you about their behavior. It seems they would be more "desirable" that way ?

That being said, I do have a mom here right now (Mrs. Norris) who might have trouble finding a premanant family when she goes back. She is pretty agressive: she bites, scratches and growls. Mean little thing really but she keeps me on my toes ! It's real fun putting ointement in her eyes twice a day for conjunctivitis...:rolleyes:

Day 7 of incubation and so far (touch wood) all's well. The appetites and playfullness are good. I just watched Nayla steal a green pepper from my daughter pizza plate. I took it away from her but she would have eaten it !Who ever heard of a cat eating green pepper ?

Keep your fingers crossed for us all !
Julie

CyberKitten
February 26th, 2006, 02:00 PM
Sorry _ I did not see your question earlier I tend to read New Posts and they change quickly). The kittens we had survived who knows why - there is NO medication you can give a cat with this terrible disease - just supportive amd excellent medical care!!! That is what we did and we were also VERY lucky - they must have had good genes too.

Glad to hear yours are doing OK so far!!!!!

I'll worry about Mrs. Norris - someone is an HP fan I gather. :) She mayhave been semi feral or is really scared about something. A no kill rescue might take her as a special needs cat????

Lucky Rescue
February 26th, 2006, 02:16 PM
Glad to hear your kitties are doing well!!:)

I do have a mom here right now (Mrs. Norris) who might have trouble finding a premanant family when she goes back. She is pretty agressive: she bites, scratches and growls. Mean little thing really but she keeps me on my toes ! It's real fun putting ointement in her eyes twice a day for conjunctivitis

If you take her back there, she will be killed.

Just out of interest, take a look at their site and tell me if you see any cats or dogs over two years old....
http://www.ultra.ca/spca/index.html#chats