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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24440
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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A stray kitten ended up at my door this morning very hungry

Customer Question

A stray kitten ended up at my door this morning very hungry but a very distended belly. The cat is very playful and seems to act norma . Appears to be 8 to 10 weeks old. Does not seem lethargic or have a fever. I have given him dewormer for roundworms because I assume that's what he has with such a distended belly. He does meow when you push on it
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

That seems reasonable to me, Shannon. Over the counter pyrantel pamoate is a good choice and should be repeated in two weeks. Piperazine wormers aren't reliably effective. The next order of business is to have a vet examine the kitten inclduing testing for the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and the feline immunosuppressive virus (FIV). A stool sample can be checked for ova and parasites although I like the idea of presumptively worming as you've already done. Initial vaccines can be given predicated upon the results of FeLV/FIV testing.

A distended belly can result from starvation and gaseous distension of the GI tract associated with intestinal parasites. Fluid in the abdominal cavity such as is often found with the FIP virus is a consideration as well but these cats are febrile and quite ill. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
How long will it take for the distention to go away?? How long should I wait to take him to vet?? What other symptoms should I be looking for an interpreting them as severe symptoms?? Can I put Frontline on the kitten?? Can my other cat catch this and what can I do to prevent my other cats or dogs from Catching this??
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Bycatch this I mean can they catch the worms
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

Good feeding and appropriate worming should normalize his tummy within 72 hours. Any new addition to your family should be checked by your vet at your earliest convenience. Worrisome symptoms include anorexia, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Less worrisome symptoms include conjunctivitis and sneezing indicative of common respiratory infections at his age.

Frontline is very safe but I'd be more comfortable if he were seen by your vet first. You can flea comb him for now. Yes, worms are easily transmitted to other pets in the household. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
in order to stop the transfer between pets should I keep the litter for the kittens separate and make sure that the dogs or or cat have access to it?? Can the dogs get it from sniffing the kittens butt?? I just don't want to have to treat the whole entire family or should I just treat them now so that they don't get them??
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

Yes, that would be smart. No, sniffing isn't enough. The dogs would need to ingest the kitten's feces so licking the kitten is another possible source of infection as is the litter box. No, treating everybody will remove what worms they have in them now but isn't a preventative.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
How long will it take to show any symptoms in my animals if they have ingested the worms?? I just want to know how long I have to be on the lookout to make sure my animals don't get sick.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

A month, in general. Most dogs remain asymptomatic, however.