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Need help in post-mortem diagnosis of kitten

October 1st, 2006, 11:20 PM

One of my new little fosters passed away this afternoon after only a few days at my house. I've been scouring the net trying to figure out what happened and how this may affect the other cats in the house. I was thinking of giving you a run down and hoping that someone can help me come up with a diagnosis of sorts.

As a second option, does anyone know where to get a necropsy done in Montreal ? My vet said there was a place in Boucherville but I can't imagine I'd have to go that far - there's got to be someone in Montreal ? Or the Laurentians as I am north of Laval.

Here goes, her name was Cookie, approx 8 weeks old. Her brother Fudge is still doing fine (thought upset by being isolated alone now that his playmate is gone)

Cookie and Fudge arrived on Sept 27th. They looked fine. Cookie weighed in at 750grams, Fudge at 850g. They have not been tested for anything or vaccinated (fostering for the Laval SPCA). They are being kept in the cat room for 10 days just in case. They were flea infested and were treated with Revolution and some spray stuff at the SPCA (not sure what it was)

Sept 29th, Cookie seemed a little off. Someone had thrown up yellowish liquid (stomach bile ?) about 2-3 times. I cleaned the litter and did not notice any diarrhea.

Sept 30th. It was definately Cookie who threw up (I saw her). She has stopped eating and is lethargic. Several more throw-up spots on the floor. This is when I started treating her. Weight was down to 700g. (loss of 50g)
12:00pm:Temp was 104.4. I had to go out and was back at 4pm.
4:00pm: Temp was down to 102.6. She was given 30CC subQ and a homemade mixture of herbs for nausea/stomach upset (all OK for cats)
6:00: Temp 100.9. 5CC pedialyte with more herbal mixture.
7:30pm: 5CC pedialyte, herbal mixture
9:00pm: 30CC subQ, 5CC colloidal silver orally. Temp 101.7
10:30pm: temp 100.9. Very lethargic. No more vomitting all day, no diarrhea, zero appetite, no energy. She might have stomach pain as when picking her up by the middle, she meows - not sure if that means pain ?

Oct 01 , 0100am: She moved around a bit. She walked a few steps to the water bowl and stood there with her head hanging over the bowl. Didn't drink. I read this is particular to distemper ... No diarrhea, no vomitting since this morning, no fever.
30CC SubQ and 5CC of pedialyte plus lots of hugs and kisses (and prayers !)
All limp and lifeless, like a little rag doll.

0630am: Her temp was slightly higher 39.8C (103.6) so she was running a low fever. I started again w/ all the fluids since I hadn't done them overnight since 0100am

1030am, same listlessness and limpness. She did go to the litter and while it was soft, I don't know if I'd call it "diarrhea"
Temp back to 39.1 (102.4). I made a lovely purée of liver (in case it is anemia) and Hill's A/D with water and force fed 5CCs with a syringe. I was going to do 10CCs but I wanted to see if she kept it down.

12:30pm: Tried feeding the rest of the 5CC of liver mush and she wouldn't swallow it. She kept it in her mouth, no struggle, very limp. Had to syringe pedialyte into her mouth to help her swallow the liver.

4:30pm:Cookie passed away this afternoon at around 4:30.
When I returned at 4:30, she was lying on the floor in a puddle of something (I'm thinking pee cause her head was not wet), she was cold, her eyes were open and glassy and her mouth was open. She was barely alive. I picked her up in a towel and held her a little while and she finally stopped breathing

That is the sad story of my little girl Cookie. RIP little foo-foo kitty :rip:

Now comes the aggravating part - figuring out what happened ! Here's my thoughts - please feel free to add yours.

Forgot to mention I spoke to the SPCA vet that morning. He had no idea but offered suggestions like worms, distemper, etc... He suggested euthanasia and just "exchanging" her for a healthy foster kitten. Ummm - no. This isn't a broken toaster where you return for exchange. (although, in his defence I do understand his position: there are so many healthy kittens at the SPCA who will be put to sleep for various reasons, why put so much effort into a sick one).

Worms ? Cookie and her brother were treated with Revolution on the 27th. She would have shown symptoms before now.

Panleukopenia ? no diarrhea and only vomitting on the morning previous to her death (not all the way til the end), no major fever except at the beginning.

FIP ? No major fever, very quick progession.

Flea anemia ? Reaction to the Revolution ? (though I figure symptoms would have happened quicker than 2 days after treatment)

In a nut shell, she had an on-again-off-again low grade fever, quick onset of symptoms, vomitting in beginning, extreme lethargy/depression. Complete loss of appetite, weight loss likely due to dehydration (though I kept her up with subQ and oral rehydration)

Any help is appreciated - I'm worried about my other cats including her fiesty little brother, 3 other fosters that are recouping from coccidia, a 4 month old previous foster that I am cat-sitting for the new owners and my own 3 adults.

HELP ! and Thanks

October 2nd, 2006, 05:43 AM
Still looks like Panleukopenia to me. Sometimes the progression is so quick, the white blood cells are completely wiped out and the other symptoms don't always show. Everything sounds like it, ataxia, head hanging, fever, weakness, vomiting and rapid death.

Was this kitten in contact with all the others at your place ? Her little brother's life is definitely at stake, but don't you have others ? Didn't you have Panleukopenia a little while back ?

As for necropsy, I always thought you had to take the body to the vet faculty in St-Hyacinthe, but thinking about it, I believe you could call Dr Aucoin in Ste-Agathe...

I'm sorry Julie, it seems you are very unlucky with your SPCA fosters. You are taking more risks than I would. :(

October 2nd, 2006, 09:31 AM
The spray stuff you refer to is actually raid for cats and dogs. Revolution on little one's that only weigh less than 2lbs is a bit scary as well. But it is the SPCA after all. Probably nothing you could have done really. I'm sorry you lost the little one.

October 2nd, 2006, 11:22 AM
Was this kitten in contact with all the others at your place ? Her little brother's life is definitely at stake, but don't you have others ?

No, Cookie and Fudge were isolated from the others in the cat room. When I get a new groups of fosters, they go into the cat room for observation for 10 days to rule out anything obvious. I only get one new group (in this case, 2 kittens) at a time

Didn't you have Panleukopenia a little while back ?

Yep, lucky me :( This little one was obvioulsy incubating it before it arrived here as the symptoms started only a few days after arriving here.

As for necropsy, I always thought you had to take the body to the vet faculty in St-Hyacinthe, but thinking about it, I believe you could call Dr Aucoin in Ste-Agathe...

Ste-Hyacynthe - that's it. I remembered Boucherville but I am worng.

I'm sorry Julie, it seems you are very unlucky with your SPCA fosters. You are taking more risks than I would.

How is that Inverness ? I hate to think that I did anything to cause the death of this little one, or any of them. They were isolated, I tried the best I could to keep her healthy when she started showing symptoms. Please tell me what risks you are talking about as I'd love nothing more than to never have this happen again. Is it the fact that they come from the SPCA ? I know you have new kittens/cat arriving constantly, how do you reduce the risks and keep them all healthy ?

Revolution on little one's that only weigh less than 2lbs is a bit scary as well.

I had never heard that ? According to the Pfizer site (who makes it) they list dosage for kittens 8 weeks old and up and the weight is refered to as "under 5 lbs". It can be used on lactating mothers to help with the litter's fleas at it crosses in the mother milk so I saw no danger in using it on 8 week old kittens. I'm not sure I did anything dangerous here. I have never seen a lower weight limit so please tell me if there is one.

October 2nd, 2006, 04:13 PM
No, no Julie, I meant that you are very courageous to take in cats and kittens from the SPCA, because the risks of them having been exposed to Panleukopenia and other very scary stuff is extremely high. I don't foster the way you do because I am too scared to contaminate my house. It's so difficult to really isolate the incoming cats, you need to change clothes and spray your shoe soles with disinfectant each time you come out of the isolation room. You must be doing it right though, because you have healthy cats too. If you were making a mistake somewhere, you would lose many more cats.

Unfortunately, the kittens you take in have had a rough start in life and had to transit through the SPCA, and so the mortality rate will always be higher. You are very strong to keep on doing it.

October 2nd, 2006, 04:49 PM
Here goes:

Both kittens if my calculations were right are under 2lbs. They've been at the SPCA and before that I assume at some home or other or outside.

So, kittens arrive at the SPCA, they are crawling with fleas so the SPCA sprays them with Raid. Then they are given revolution. If I understand correctly, revolution uses the animals body fat to travel through the body, killing the fleas and worms as it goes or flushing them out of the system. If kitten has never been wormed before, then this is a heck of a blow to the system and basically the worms fight back.. so the kitten spikes a fever, becomes lethargic, vomits trying to bring the worms up etc... Coupled with the fact that they have been sprayed with raid, it's too darn much for the system. So basically what would be normal treatment for a regular kitten that has had a healthy environment becomes a nuclear attack for a kitten that is not in the best of shape to begin with.

This is one of the reasons why we start worming with something very low dose, such as panacur but in about a 1/4 of the normal dosage, and repeat every third day for the full dosage then wait two weeks and move up to 1/2 dosage.

What you describe could very well have also been panleukopenia as Inverness said. A post mortem blood test would have given a firm diagnosis on the panleukopenia to put your mind at rest on that score.

Unfortunately, taking wee one's from a shelter about 90% of the time ends in heartache. It's unfortunate but their survival rate with the best of care is minimal.

I don't think you could have done much else, really than what you did, nor could a vet have stopped the turn of events. This little one was just not meant to remain on earth.

October 2nd, 2006, 07:35 PM
My biggest hope is what you said BMD, I hope it was a reaction to the fleas, meds and wormer. I swear, I've got my fingers crossed tight on that one.

The other option, panleuk, is way out of my control. I can control what goes into the kittens medication-wise - I can delay it or not give it at all (I have some wormer pills too that I was given in case they have tapeworm but I did not give them). Panleuk, I have NO control over.

Since these babies were so flea infested, I figured the Revolution would help more than hurt - flea anemia being a concern. I also lost a stray to a worms/coccidia combo, he was pretty sick to start with but I couldn't let him fight it alone.

I have been looking into natural remedies for worming too - black walnut, diatomaceous earth, wormwood extract, cloves, pumpkin seeds...

I am praying that it is only a reaction to the meds. Please...

October 3rd, 2006, 04:10 PM
It was not a reaction to the Revolution... it is panleukopenia.

Her brother started having symptoms last night. I brought him to the SPCA today and they will euthanise him.

I told him to say hi to his sister for me and wait for me at the bridge.

My heart is broken,

October 3rd, 2006, 04:11 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss. It's so sad. :sad: :grouphug:

October 3rd, 2006, 06:13 PM
Oh Julie. I am so sorry it had to come to that. I hope they euthanized him humanely:fingerscr (if that's even possible)

October 3rd, 2006, 06:39 PM
Oh dear, I'm sorry to hear it's the worst news. :grouphug: for you, it's a tough one to fight.

October 3rd, 2006, 06:49 PM
oh I'm so sorry. You are an :angel: for giving him a few happy days.

October 3rd, 2006, 11:46 PM
I am so sorry for your loss of Cookie and Fudge. :grouphug: :candle:

October 4th, 2006, 12:42 AM
I have been following your story.....I am so sorry to hear about the two fosters.....I know the bridge is having a party in their honour tonight....


October 4th, 2006, 06:21 AM
So sorry Julie for the loss of Cookie and Fudge. :sorry:

The world is a better place with people like you in it! :angel: