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Could I have saved this kitten?

October 4th, 2006, 02:30 PM
I volunteer in the kitten nursery at an animal shelter. Yesterday, while looking after the kittens in the URI nursery, there was one kitten breathing through its mouth. I thought it must be doing so because its nose was plugged up due to URI. Soon after its breathing became laboured and we rushed it to the vet. Less than 10 minutes later it died.
Its never easy when we lose a baby but this one really hit me hard. I keep thinking I should have taken it to the vet as soon as I saw it breathing through its mouth. There were two vet techs in the room prior to the kitten's laboured breathing and they didn't seem to think anything was amiss. Could I have saved this kitten?
Thanks for reading.

October 4th, 2006, 04:42 PM
From the sound of it, it was already too late. Don't feel too bad, an infection can overwhelm a tiny animal very quickly and the signs are often subtle.
RIP little mite.
Thanks for doing this difficult work. I imagine it has its joyous moments but I'm not sure I could handle the sad ones. One day I'm going to put myself to the test, just not yet.

October 5th, 2006, 10:21 AM
Badger, thanks for your kind words. I spent some time on the internet yesterday looking for information. It seems that a kitten/cat breathing through its mouth is indeed a sign of distress and the animal should be seen by a vet immediately. Perhaps it was too late by the time I saw the kitten but I would expect a vet tech to know there was a problem.

October 6th, 2006, 05:27 PM
Please don't put all that un-do pressure on yourself, this was a very tiny kitten, and tiny kittens and puppy go down fast. How long have you been volunteering? This is a very hard and humbling thing to do, you will be able to see both ends of the spectrum (very happy times and lowest of the low). Is it possible that these vet tech's did notice? I know it's something that is often thought but rarely spoken - it's better to let go when nothing can be done. Working in a animal welfare for many years you still remember (the special ones that tugged at your heart strings for what ever reason) This feeling of loss will pass, keep your chin up tomorrow is a new day and think of all the other kittens that need your help:grouphug: Oh and a big THANKS for volunteering, many shelters are very grateful for having dedicated, caring, compassionate people that just want to help, you are able to give that special extra time with each animal :highfive:

October 8th, 2006, 02:01 PM
Hi Libby,
Thanks for your words of encouragement. This kitten was about 6-8 weeks old, possibly older. I have been volunteering long enough to have experienced the highs and lows, and when we lose a 'baby', sad as it is, I can deal with it. I know there is a high mortality rate in kittens, even more so when they come to us motherless. I wondered the same thing about the techs possibly ignoring the situation but I don't think that was the case. They are simply not trained well enough to recognize some illnesses and ailments. They are not registered techs, and apparently some are hired with less knowledge of animals than the volunteers, but that's another story.
I did speak to the vet about it and he agreed that if seen soon enough the kitten might have been saved.

October 8th, 2006, 07:58 PM
I don't know about that... I don't know what your qualifications are, but unless you were a vet, or a very experienced vet tech, I think you did the best you could with what you were given and you shouldn't take all the responsibility for this kitty's death..:shrug: :grouphug: