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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20580
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I have 2 abandoned kittens...about 5 weeks old. Just in the

Customer Question

I have 2 abandoned kittens...about 5 weeks old. Just in the last couple of days their poo is very loose and very smelly.
They are eating kitten food.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee ones today.
Are you seeing any blood or mucus in the stool?
Have they been wormed at all yet?
Are they still eating and drinking normally?
Active as usual?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,
I have not heard back from you but did want to leave my thoughts on your little ones' situation.
Now this is not an uncommon situation to see. Kittens tend to have naive immune systems (since they are babies) and we can see a number of agents trigger diarrhea. Common cases include bacterial infections, viruses (coronavirus, rotavirus, panleukopenia, etc), parasites (GI worms and the protozoa like coccidia, giardia and also cryptosporidia, tritrichomonas), nutritional sensitivities (if the diet is new), and toxins. Hopefully, since you have not mentioned them getting into anything harmful, the last differential will be less of an issue here.
With all these concerns to consider, we need to rule each one out step by step. To start, if they have not been wormed, then you'd want to start with this. The reason why we are very keen to worm them when they show these signs is because GI worms are the most common cause of diarrhea in otherwise healthy kittens (especially strays/rescues). Just to note, their worm burden will most likely be from their mum. So with this in mind, we would want to worm them with a good quality broad spectrum wormer. These can be bought over the counter at vet’s, pet stores, and even online. There are a range on the market, but you want to use a good quality wormer that covers both round worms and tapeworms. In this situation, it would be ideal for you to treat with Panacur as it will cover all the worms in question and can help with protozoal induced diarrhea too. Do make sure to have an idea of their weight before purchase wormer to make sure you get the correct dose for their size.
Further to this, to aid their digestion, you can also start them on a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). These diets will be easier for their compromised gut to digest and this will ensure more nutrition is absorbed and not just lost to diarrhea. Furthermore, feeding these in small, frequent meals (instead of a few big ones), will further aid the GI in digesting what they eat and reduce the diarrhea load.
On top off all of this, you do need to keep an eye on their water intake and hydration status. Since they are young and won't have the body reserves as an adult, we can see dehydration arise quickly with diarrhea. If possible, you do want to check their hydration now. To check this and make sure they are not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test at home. One is that their eyes do not appear sunken. As well, we want to make sure their gums are moist, not sticky. And we also want to ensure they do not have a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. ( They use a big dog but it makes it easier to see and the principles are exactly the same. If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already in either kitten, then you do want to have them seen by the vet before this gets any further of control.
In regards ***** ***** you can do to help stave off dehydration at home (though do note that if they are already then they will likely need more the oral rehydration), encourage them to drink by offering fresh water or even low-salt chicken broth. As well, wet foods (as mentioned above) are 35% water, so getting them to eat will help us deal with water intake as well. If they are not amenable to drinking, you may wish to syringe feed unflavored pedialyte. A typical maintenance rate for hydration is 48mls per kilogram of their body weight a day. Since they have diarrhea, we’d also want to add an equivalent amount to match their losses. This should be offered throughout the day (not as one feeding). And, of course, if they have any vomiting with this, we’d need to discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want vomiting because of our intervention).
Finally, I do want to note that there are cat safe anti-diarrheals that you could also try as long as there is no blood in their stool. It won’t cure the cause for the diarrhea, but it will reduce its runniness, give it form, and can give them more fecal control. In regards ***** ***** options, the one we most commonly use is Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose @ available from your local pharmacy. As well, there are Kaolin + probiotic treatments (ie Fast Balance, Protexin Pro-Fiber, Propectalin) that can also be of benefit here. They are all available OTC at vets, pet stores, and online (ie Amazon). So, these would all be options to use to slow that for them. (Though just to note, do avoid Pepto Bismol or Loperamide, since neither is cat friendly).
Overall, in their case, we do have a number of concerns for the signs you are seeing. Therefore, we’d want to start with the above to maintain hydration, slow diarrhea the diarrhea, and rule out what we can. If you do so, but they are not settling in the next 24 hours (since they are small and a high dehydration risk), then we’d want to consider following up with your local vet. They can examine them to determine what is present +/- send a stool sample to the lab for analysis. The lab will be able to rule out parasites, protozoa, test for viruses and culture the feces for pathogenic bacteria. This enables us to isolate the causative agent and use targeted treatment to clear this and get them back to normal.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. B.