Pet Tips

Kittens and Birth Infections – Pet tip 241

Kittens and Birth Infections – Pet tip 241

When kittens are born they are extra small and fragile. This increases their potential of becoming ill or getting an infection. Infections in newborn kittens are quite serious as their bodies are small and they have not built up adequate immunity against many diseases or potential infections that may harm them. This article will focus on three infections that can affect newborn kittens; umbilical infections, toxic milk syndrome and septicemia.

When a female cat (aka a queen) gives birth, she will bite open the amniotic sac that surrounds the kitten. She will then chew through the umbilical cord of the kitten. Normally there are no problems. However, if the umbilical cord was clipped to close to the kitten’s abdomen there’s a chance that the kitten will develop an umbilical infection. The signs of this type of infection include redness and possibly pus around the kitten’s navel. You’ll need to contact your veterinarian for the proper treatment of this newborn kitten’s infection.

Toxic milk syndrome can occur when a queen develops a breast infection like mastitis or an abscess. This can cause the queen’s breast milk to become toxic to her kittens. Constant crying, diarrhea, bloating, and a red swollen anus are all signs that a kitten may be suffering from this syndrome that usually affects kittens that are between one to two weeks old. The mother needs to be treated for this and the kittens must stop nursing immediately (they will need to be hand fed instead). Only once the mother has been treated and re-examined by the vet should the kittens recommence nursing. The kitten(s) themselves will also need to be checked out and treated as they may be suffering from dehydration (serious) and the side effects of the queen’s infection.

Septicemia is also known as blood poisoning and is an infection that occurs in kittens under two weeks of age. Both umbilical infections and toxic milk syndrome can lead to septicemia in newborn kittens. Signs of septicemia include excessive vocalization, a bloated stomach, a dark red or bluish abdomen and straining to defecate. It may look as though the kitten is constipated. Treating septicemia depends on whether the kitten has an umbilical infection or is suffering from toxic milk syndrome.

Although most kitten births go smoothly, we need to be prepared in case of complications. It’s highly recommended that cat owners do a bit of reading on other possible complications arising from cat labour. General books on cats and cat health make excellent reference books and every cat owner needs them. Obviously this reading should be done before the cat gives birth. For any birthing complications you’ll need to make sure you have access to your vet or an emergency veterinary hospital.

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