Help! My kitten has diarrhea. What should I do?
Kitten diarrhea shouldn't be taken lightly. It's worrying, of course (not to mention messy) and can be life-threatening. So if you're in any doubt at all, contact your vet for advice.
Let's take a look at some of the causes and treatment of diarrhea in kittens.
Kittens and young cats are easily affected by loose stools – their digestive systems are still developing and they get stomach upsets and 'the runs' much more quickly than adult cats.
It's important to take this seriously if there are any other signs of illness like vomiting, sluggishness, or dull, glazed eyes, and especially if your pet has stopped drinking any water.
Diarrhea can lead to kittens becoming dehydrated. If this becomes severe it will, at best, need veterinary treatment, and at worst, might lead to the death of your cat.
One way of looking for dehydration is to pinch the skin at the base of the neck. If the skin doesn't spring back right away, your cat is dehydrated.
The causes of diarrhea in kittens are many, from a simple change of environment or overfeeding, to major diseases like feline leukaemia or panleukopaenia.
So diarrhea in a kitten could be the result of a minor stomach upset or a much more serious problem, and you'll need to look carefully at what else is going on. Here are some of the possible causes, from the not-so-serious to the very serious:
Taking a good look at what's coming out of your kitten's rear end can tell you a lot about what's going on inside.
Perfect poop is brown with a slightly soft-to-firm texture. It should not be watery and ideally, should consist of one long 'sausage'. Individual little balls looking like rabbit droppings can mean that your cat needs more fluid in his diet.
Watch out for feces that are:
Treating diarrhea in kittens is best left to an expert unless you're sure that the problem has been caused by a simple case of overfeeding.
But there are some things you can do.
Probably not. Kittens should really be vaccinated when they're at their most healthy, so vaccinating a kitten with diarrhea isn't really a good idea.
It's best to discuss this with your vet, though, so that you can consider all the implications.
Kitten diarrhea may be serious, so keep a watchful eye on your kitten and take it to the vet if you are in any doubt. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
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