Kitten Illness Diagnosis

Kittens are especially vulnerable to many types of diseases and conditions. It is important to monitor frequently to spot any signs of potential illness. There are a number of kitten illnesses which can be prevented and treated, allowing your kitten to grow into a healthy adult cat. Following are some examples of potential kitten illness to watch for.

Fading Kitten Syndrome (FKS)

Fading Kitten Syndrome is a term that describes a general statistic that 20 to 40% of all kittens born won't survive past 12 weeks of age. There are numerous causes for FKS, many resulting from poor conditions experienced by the mother cat while pregnant. Inspection of all the kitten's parts upon birth, including the roof of the mouth, can reveal any potentially life-threatening deformities that may cause FKS. Extended or difficult labor, or neglect from the mother cat can cause early death as well. If a kitten becomes severely ill before 12 weeks of age, the illness will usually require aggressive care. Often the cause of FKS is not determined.

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR)

Feline viral rhinotracheitis is an upper respiratory infection caused by the feling herpesvirus. FVR is extremely contagious and spreads through the air. Symptoms of FVR include sneezing, coughing, conjunctivitis, nasal discharge, fever or loss of appetite. FVR can result in pneumonia leading to death. Antibiotics and oxygen therapy may be used to treat this kitten illness.

Feline Panleukopenia

Feline panleukopenia is commonly called feline distemper. Distemper is a type of viral infection that is also highly contagious. Distemper attacks the kitten's stomach and intestines, and lowers the white blood cell count, causing the immune system to weaken. In addition to the soreness caused by the distemper virus, anemia and malnutrition can result, leading to death. Symptoms of feline panleukopenia include blood in the feces and dehydration. Treatment may include administration of the feline distemper vaccination.

Intestinal Parasites

There are many forms of intestinal parasites that can attack vulnerable kittens. Most of these parasites are common, like tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, coccidiosis and giardia. In an otherwise healthy kitten, there are often no symptoms and these infections heal on their own. If your kitten experiences persistent diarrhea, or if you spot something that looks like rice dried to your kittens fur, parasites are a possible cause. If your kitten has other symptoms, or has been diagnosed with another potentially life-threatening illness, it is recommended to treat intestinal parasites quickly.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Feline Infectious Peritonitis is a viral disease caused by the feline coronavirus. While development of FIP is fairly uncommon, it mainly strikes cats under the age of two. Symptoms are generally nonspecific and this condition is often hard to detect until sudden symptoms arise once the cat is already in a state of crisis. FIP is difficult to diagnose and there is no cure.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

Feline Leukemia Virus is contagious and often fatal, especially in kittens. There is currently no known cure for FeLV, which is an infection that suppresses the immune system and often leads to secondary infections. FeLV can be diagnosed with a blood test, and symptoms include bloody stool, difficulty in breathing or swallowing, loss of appetite and pale coloring of the mucus membranes.