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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30398
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I work at a shelter and we are having issues with our

Customer Question

I work at a shelter and we are having issues with our kittens. These are the symptoms: lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, anemia, eventually organ failure. The strange thing is that they all had scabby flakes at the top of their head that were painful to
get out. Two of the kittens died and the third one has just started showing symptoms. They were given panacur.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. As severe as those symptoms were, they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder. Can you tell me, please, if the kittens were tested for feline leukemia (FeLV) and kitty AIDS (FIV)? How quickly did the kittens die from the time they were first symptomatic? Were respiratory symptoms ever witnessed?

My systemic disease differential diagnosis list would include parvovirus (feline distemper), coliform bacteria (E. coli, e.g.), hookworms and roundworms, FelV, FIV, FIP, Toxoplasma, and both gram-positive bacteria (Strep, Staph) and gram-negative bacteria (Salmonella, e.g.). The feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) should be considered if respiratory signs were seen. I'm not sure what the skin changes implied although secondary cutaneous staph infection is common in debilitated patients.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The kittens were 7 and 8 weeks when they died. The sick one now is 4 weeks. They were not tested for anything but this one definitely had roundworms. That was the reason for he got panacur. Could worms cause severe anemia?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

Hookworms are well-known to cause anemia. Roundworms would have to debilitate my patient to the extent that nutrition was severely impaired in order to result in anemia. The most common causes of life-threatening anemia in kittens is a flea infestation anemia and the feline leukemia virus. Please continue our conversation if you wish.