Caring 4 Kittens
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Kitten Ailments

Common Kitten Ailments
Other Kitten Ailments

Upper Respiratory Infections (URI)

Upper respiratory infection is fairly common, unfortunately. These air-borne viruses are contagious and spread very quickly.


- Sneezing and discharge from eyes and/or nose
- Congested breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy
- Dehydration
- Temperature greater than 102.5 degrees
- Sores (ulcers) in the mouth or nose

It is extremely important that you keep any infected kittens isolated from your own pets, and wash hands after handling infected kittens. Even with these precautions, it is possible that your own cats could become infected because upper respiratory viruses are airborne.

It is also important to get vaccinations as soon as possible to protect kittens and cats. Vaccines will typically reduce the severity of the symptoms when a kitten or cat is exposed to URI rather than preventing infection altogether.

You will normally see more than one of the above symptoms with URI.

If you suspect URI, contact your veterinarian. Most cats recover from URI if it is treated early.

A mixture of 50% saline and 50% Afrin can be administered by placing a drop in each of the kittensí nostrils to relieve some congestion. Kittens that are too congested may lose their appetites because they canít smell their food, or have trouble eating because they canít breathe and eat at the same time. You may need to feed them with a syringe.

A humidifier can be set up in a small room and the kitten placed in the room to help with congestion. When using nose drops, apply before placing near humidifier. Depending on the size of the room, and how close the humidifier is to the kitten will determine how long they should stay in the environment. Remember his/her lungs are very small.

If you do not have a humidifier the shower can be run to create steam and then the kitten placed in the room.

Dehydration can occur so it is very important to keep your kitten hydrated and may require fluid therapy from your veterinarian.

URI is caused by a viral infections rather than bacteria. Antibiotics are used to control secondary infections in most cases and may not resolve the symptoms. There are several antibiotics available to veterinarians and if the first one doesnít work a stronger one will be prescribed.

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