Author Topic: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing  (Read 4618 times)

Offline 13ronin

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Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« on: November 07, 2010, 09:51:35 PM »
Hey all I'm new to the cats section but I've bounced around on the rats section for a few months now off and on.  Well; I'll get right down to it.  Yesterday I took in a foster kitten about 12-16 weeks old.  Very sweet kitty.  Today though he seems to be having a harder time breathing and I've noticed a lump inside his abdomen while palpitating it.  Its pretty large; just below his ribcage on the left hand side.  He is very emaciated and we are feeding him.  He's eating and drinking and using the litter box just fine.  Still craving attention and starts purring if you so much as look at him.  But I am concerned; particularly with the labored breathing.  The animal shelter doesn't open till 2:00pm tomm.  If he isn't better in the morning I plan on contacting my vet and seeing if they have after hours contact info or if they do vet work for the shelter.  In the mean time is there anything I should be doing?  I do have asthma so I could give him a breathing treatment...

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2010, 10:08:43 PM »
You need to go to an e-vet. It doesnt sound like it will make it until the morning if you dont. Call the vet and see if the rescue has an account with them or has used them before.

We arent vets. We cant tell you to give a breathing treatment. You need to contact an e-vet. If it were a cat in my care with those issues we would already be at the vet.

Good luck hopefully it works out ok for the kitten.

Offline 13ronin

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2010, 10:36:23 PM »
Well he seems to be doing fine.  Like I said it doesn't seem to bothering him, I just know its not normal.  He's not flaring his nostrils or sticking his head out or opening his mouth.  I'm a detail person.  I guess being a funeral director and having the education in human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, blah blah blah makes me second glance everything.  His heart sounds good; no sign of murmur.  His gums are a normal pink.  And I would take him to an e-vet but there really sin't such a thing where I live or anywhere in the vicinity (50 miles).  I'm in the sticks.  And all the vet answering machines say to take your animal there.  I know he can make it to morning.  He's good enough for that.  I'm just wondering about supportive care for the evening. 

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2010, 10:50:21 PM »
Even if they arent close you can still call them and see what they say. They are usually helpful if they know you arent close. You can explain where the lump is, they might have some idea what it could be.

Offline 13ronin

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2010, 11:21:25 PM »
lol.  Goofy kitty.  It took me some time to figure it out.  He ATE too much!  The lump has changed shape and size.  The poor little guy is so emaciated I can feel every little fold of his intestines through his skin.  He's breathing almost normal now.  I thought of it before but though better of it.  Turns out my first thought was right.  I have a bum gallbladder and when it gets mad at me I get a lot of bloating and it is hard to breathe.  Its amazing in humans, cats, pigs, etc. how close that all really is.  When you see it in action in the body the apex of the heart damn near touches the diaphragm.  Too much bloat and there's not as much room for the lungs to expand.  I'll give y'all an update tomm. but no worries he's much more normal.  I'm going to more closely monitor his eating though that's for sure.   lol.  On another note, he's already had a tough go at life poor little fella.  3 of his ribs feel like they were broken when he was young and have healed in an upside down L.  Only on his right side.  That probably is contributing to his issue.  Even less room for the lungs to expand.  They are fully healed though and arent causing him any pain.  But I will bring it to the vets attention when we take him in over in the next couple of days.   

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2010, 12:09:19 AM »
It could still be his ribs poor guy.  :-\

I have 3 kittens that have issues. Two have funnel chest, one of the ones that has funnel chest also has flat chested kitten syndrome. I found out the third, their brother, has a heart murmur.

The funnel chest invades the chest cavity and crowds the heart but you couldnt tell from their activity level crazy things.  ::)

Offline 13ronin

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2010, 12:19:51 AM »
I swear this isn't a cat but a parrot.  Every time I sit down at my desk he jumps on my back or shoulders and lays down  :yelcutelaugh: . He's doing it as I type this.  What are these diseases you speak of?  I've never heard of them?  What happens?

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2010, 12:41:29 AM »
They think they its genetic or could be caused by poor nutrition. The mother was a very small stray and one kitten is siamese a breed known for that type of defect so who knows. The rib cage sternum curls up into the chest it can cause some spine curve and some other stuff.

Funnel chest also affects humans, there isnt a lot of info but if you google there are some pics and such.

Offline bb_critterkeeper

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 11:23:02 PM »
Ha ha, he sounds like a cute kitty! 
"He ate too much" was one of my first thoughts when you mentioned he was emaciated, but I've had that shocker before to learn from   ;)   The last cat I took in was so skinny that after two weeks of stuffing his face the vet still said "he's so skinny he should be dead".  He's totally normal now (a gorgeous maine coon too!) and the loviest cat I've ever owned, but at the time you could feel every lump, bump and bone in his body and even link your forfinger and thumb together around his spine above his gut like there was nothing there at all  :confused:   
You're lucky your kitty didn't throw up and have the runs everywhere -- that's another 'bonus' of starved critters who suddenly gorge themselves  (always lots of fun  :P).  I've found that small, frequent feedings of high fat foods are the secret with super skinny kitties, then you can work up to free-feeding when their systems are used to the food availability.  Babies tend to bounce back much better than adults though, so he's probably bouncing off the walls already! 
Congrats on the foster kitty!   :thumbsup2:

Offline 13ronin

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2010, 01:32:22 AM »
well, bad news and good news.  This past week the shelter took him to the vet.  When he came back, the vet gave him a diagnosis of lung worm  :P and said that his ribs hadn't been broken and were just natural curvature of his floating ribs  ???  That didn't sound right to me.  I know what floating ribs are how they're supposed to feel.  Advanced anatomical experience here   :wave2: :doh:.  They gave us a deworming treatment for his lungs and an antibiotic for good measure.  But he was still breathing poorly.  Saturday after we gave him his meds he got really worked up and started mouth breathing and I knew this wasn't right at all.  After calling the shelter and a call into a vet here locally who happened to be available we took him in.  They didn't like how he palpated and gave him an x-ray.  Turns out he does have four broken ribs that have healed.  But the bad news there is that he has a diaphragmatic hernia.  Part of his large intestine and liver have moved into his thoracic cavity and he is down to one (mostly) functional lung.  The vet is concerned about doing surgery on him because with the reduced lung capacity anesthesia is a risk, opening his thoracic cavity presents another risk because if they are limited in their ventilation equipment, and if any of his intestines are iscemic, there's nothing they can do to fix it.   They didn't make much of a recommendation but the shelter is limited in funds and can't afford to spend the money when he has such a poor prognosis.  The surgery is quoting in around 800.  That's the bad news.  The good news is after my wife and I talked we decided to make him comfy.   With knowing his intestines are in his chest we started strictly limiting how much and what he eats.  This has made a huge difference.  We keep him away from the other cats food by putting it away when he's out and about.  He still struggles a little to breathe but its not bad enough to keep him from occasionally chasing one of the other cats or getting under our feet now.  Much improved.  We thusly decided we can't euthanize in good conscience as he does have quality of life.  We're going to make calls to every vet in the county if we have to and find a deal we can work out to get the price down and figure out how to raise the rest.  More good news though is that I think with his increased lung capacity from the diet change will help him in the surgery a lot.  Also, there are no signs at all of bowel iscemia.  No vomiting, swelling, etc.  It seems it all happened young enough to him that his body has grown around it more or less.  So we're still taking car of him.  He's on my lap sleeping as we speak.  Until I move too much then he squeaks, purrs, and falls asleep again.  Wish us look and send good vibes our way.  We need it.   

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2010, 05:17:54 PM »
Oh wow.  You have a heart of gold to take on someone who has troubles like that.  Kudos to you!

Good luck with raising funds and finding a vet who will work with you!  Poor little guy sounds like he's had a rough life already.

Offline 13ronin

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Re: Sick foster kitten- labored breathing
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2010, 05:37:03 PM »
Well thanks for the compliment!   :wink5:  My wife and I are just suckers for warm fuzzy things.  We have 9 rats (thanks to an accidental pregnancy) and 3 permanent cats who were all rescues.  As for Charlie; he's just too damned cute and sweet to not give a fighting chance.  I have a good Samaritan grant application in to United Animal Nations and another local fund I'll be appealing to tomm.  I got a minimum of a $200 commitment from the shelter.  I can chip in some, my mom volunteered to chip in a little too so as it stands we're about half way there without grants.  yay!   :balloon:  We'll see how it goes over the next couple of days.  The vet was really pleased (and surprised) to hear how well he is doing compared to when she saw him on Sat.  He ate too much this morning and is struggling a lil at the moment but he still purrs when I touch him so that's a good sign.  I also got a cat food that is much higher in fiber (10%) than what I was feeding him (4%) which should help a good bit too.  Hey; when you're operating on 30% lung capacity, every couple percent makes a huge difference!  I'll keep you all posted in this thread as time goes along.  Thanks for the good vibes everyone!  And now; Art!  This is Charlie doing his parrot thing.  Sorry its so dark it was at night and I was using my camera phone.