Kittens with Parvo/Panleuk

Overview

Kittens sick with panleuk will have a combination of (or all of) the following symptoms:
  • inappetance
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
If the kitten is in a non-quarantine area, it should be tested immediately. If it is in foster care and the foster is aware of the risk, treatment can be started without a test. The treatment plan does not depend on the test results. If a foster insists on knowing or there are other kittens at risk, test the kitten.

Panleuk is very contagious, just like Parvo. Fosters should be aware especially if they have unvaccinated cats or kittens under 4 months of page.

Kittens must have a heating pad/disc, plus the appropriate food, water, and litter box in their cage (unless noted otherwise).

Medication and Doses

The standard medications for treatment of parvo/panleuk kittens includes the following medications:
  • Baytril (100mg/ml) - 2mg per pound of body weight, SID for 3 days (always given in a pocket of SQ fluids to avoid abscesses)
    This is a tiny amount (0.02cc) - less than a drop. Do not overdose.
  • Polyflex 0.05cc per pound of body weight, BID for 3 days
  • Cerenia 0.05cc per pound of body weight, SID for 3 days
  • Lactated Ringers Solution (LRS) 10cc SQ per pound of body weight, BID for 3 days
After 3 normal stools or 3 days of eating well and not vomiting, kittens can be considered negative (or tested if in an ICU). Each kitten must be bathed twice to get all the poop off and dried to prevent them from getting chilled (warm towels from the dryer work well and you can use a hair dryer on low if careful).

Feeding Requirements

Kittens should be force fed gruel or baby food as often as possible. Small, frequent meals are best. 1-3cc once an hour is ideal. Sugar water (0.3-0.5cc every 2-3 hours) can also be administered. Kittens should be kept in a warm and cozy place to prevent Fading Kitten Syndrome.

Feeding Bottle Babies

Bottle babies should be fed every 2-3 hours and must consume a minimum of 5g per 100g (5%) of their body weight at each feeding. Refer to the chart below for calculations. 

Feed babies as much as they will take on their own from the bottle; syringe feed when they do not eat enough on their own. An attempt should be made to allow them to eat on their own, but if they do not, they must be force fed. When bottle babies have been syringe fed previously, try to bottle feed them first. 

Kittens should be weighed before and after feedings and stimulated after feeding and weighing.

Making Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR)

  • Mix KMR at a ratio of:
    • first four feedings, 8:1 (8 parts water to 1 part KMR mix)
    • next four feedings, 4:1 (4 parts water to 1 part KMR mix)
    • remaining feedings, 2:1 (2 parts water to 1 part KMR mix)
  • Only make enough 8:1 and 4:1 to feed current litters as it can clump badly and clog nipples - depleting nutritional value. Large quantities of 8:1 or 4:1 are not needed.
  • Label all food with the appropriate ratio and time it was made. Label all bottles with the litter number, ratio and the date/time it was made (not when filled).
  • When refilling bottles, make a new label with the updated information.

Feeding Gruel Babies

Gruel babies should be fed every 4-5 hours (8 hours overnight). Kittens transitioning to independent eating will need to be monitored to ensure they are gaining weight appropriately. If they have access to food 24/7 and are gaining weight steadily, they do not need to be syringe-fed. When gruel kittens have been syringe fed previously, see if they will eat on their own in a bin. If not, then syringe feed them. If gruel kittens lose weight from previous feedings but have been eating on their own, syringe feeding is still required to ensure accurate weight.

Making Gruel

  • Mix 2 cans food with 1 can water, a ratio of 2:1
  • Ensure the ratio is accurate in order to provide sufficient nutrition and hydration
  • When making gruel for a syringe feeding, the ratio remains the same (2:1), however syringe gruel should be pureed in a blender so it will flow from the syringe.
If a gruel kitten loses weight for three consecutive feedings, it will need to switch to syringe-feeding until it is eating sufficiently on its own.
Kittens being syringe fed gruel must gain 5g per 100g (5%) of body weight, as with bottle babies. Refer to the chart below for calculations.

Minimum Feeding Requirements by Weight

Calculations based on 5g of food per 100g body weight/1g per 20g body weight. Weight_Final = Weight_Initial+Food

 Weight of Kitten Before Feeding (g)Weight of Kitten After Feeding (g) Amount of Food Consumed(g)
 60 63 3
 80 84  4
 100 105  5
 120 126 6
 140 147 7
 160 168 8
 180 189 9
 200 210 10
 220 231 11
 240 252 12
 260 273 13
 280 294 14
 300 315 15
 320 336 16
 340 357 17
 360 378 18
 380 399 19
 400 420 20
 420 441 21
 440 462 22
 460 483 23
 480 504 24
 500 525 25
 520 546 26
 540 567 27
 560 588 28
 580 609 29
 600 630 30
 620 651 31
 640 672 32
 660 693 33
 680 714 34
 700 735 35

Difficult Eater Tips

  • Use a 1cc syringe instead of a 10cc
  • Wrap the kitten in a towel (burrito) to retrain arms and reduce wiggle
  • Lightly hold the kitten's head with your thumb and index finger. Place your thumb on the opposite side of the head from the syringe. Use it to brace the head and keep it from turning.

Crashing Kitten Protocol

Fading Kitten Syndrome is a life threatening emergency in which a kitten, sometimes ones that were previously sick, "crashes" and begins to fade away. If not dealt with immediately, it can result in death. If you are fostering kittens or kittens are under your care which are 12 weeks or younger, it is a very good idea to familiarize yourself with this protocol. 

Signs

The signs of a fading kitten can include:
  • Acting "wobbly" or "off kilter"
  • Very pale (or white) gums
  • Cold skin/paws
  • Trouble breathing/gasping for air
  • Extreme lethargy
    • Unresponsive
    • Unable to lift head
    • Not responding when pet
  • Meowing/crying loudly
When this occurs, contact medical personnel and immediately begin this Crashing Kitten Protocol.

Protocol

  1. Get them warm
    1. Create a "burrito" towel. Immediately wrap the kitten in a towel like a burrito, leaving their face exposed only. Their whole body, tail, ears, and paws should be in the towel. Only nose and mouth should be exposed. Do not take the kitten out of the towel to adjust them, check on them, etc. Every time you take them out, you will make them cold again (even if only for a second).
    2. Add an extra source of heat. The kitten's body cannot warm itself properly, even with just the towel. Your body heat is insufficient as well. The following heat sources are recommended:
      1. Heating pad (wrapped around the towel and turned on "low" - not touching the kitten directly as this can cause burns)
      2. Towels from the drier (which are to be wrapped around the "burrito" towel, not replacing it; these should be replaced every ~5 minutes)
      3. Microwaved sock full of rice (usually microwave for ~3 minutes; using 2 allows you to alternate between them without interruption)
  2. Get their blood sugar up
    1. Use a bowl of tupperware and a few tablespoons of sugar in hot water. 
    2. Stir the solution into a watery-solution (not syrupy).
    3. Use a syringe or your finger to give 3 drops every 3 minutes by mouth.
      1. If they are not swallowing, try not to get it down their throat, but instead, get it on their tongue or gums.
    4. Set a timer and repeat every 3 minutes (not longer).
  3. Call a medical technician (don't leave the kitten alone)
    1. The medical technician will often administer an antibiotic as subtle changes in the gut bacteria can cause Fading Kitten Syndrome 

Prognosis

The prognosis if the protocol is followed is very good. It is important that the protocol be followed carefully and that the kitten not just immediately be rushed to the vet. Only you are capable of giving the kitten your full and undivided attention. Travel is also very detrimental to their prognosis. 

It can sometimes take server hours before the kitten will fully recover. Once they do, it is very important to get professional medical help as a possible cause will need to be identified.

In some cases, even with best practices followed, kittens will not make it. Try not to blame yourself during this difficult time. You did your best.