For a kitten (as with other animals), the battle to stay alive begins right from birth. And there are times when some kittens do not make it to adulthood. In this article, we will take a closer look at fading kitten syndrome – one of the most leading reasons behind kittens not growing and dying prematurely. Fading kitten syndrome is something every first-time kitten owner should know about. And, in this article, we will shed some light on this syndrome, its causes, symptoms to look out for, and the treatment options available.
What Is Fading Kitten Syndrome?
So, what exactly is fading kitten syndrome? This syndrome is a group of factors or symptoms that can be linked with a neonatal kitten’s failure to wilfully survive and thrive. The neonatal period is the period from birth until weaning. It is important to note that this syndrome is not a disease by itself. Instead, it is caused by a range of underlying illnesses or conditions at the same time. Every cat breed is prone to fading kitten syndrome. And, unfortunately, it can lead to death in many cases. That is when the right reactive measures are not put in place. The good news is that, with a quick response and the right treatment, a kitten suffering from fading kitten syndrome can be nursed back to health and life. Quick treatment is absolutely vital as fading kitten syndrome usually requires only a short period of time to become fatal. Is fading kitten syndrome contagious? This depends on the underlying illnesses. As mentioned earlier, the condition is not a disease by itself. Thus if the underlying illnesses are contagious, then your kitten can affect others. Let’s take a look at the causes of this condition.
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Causes of Fading Kitten Syndrome
The causes of fading kitten syndrome are different and varied. However, there are some key factors that usually lead to the condition.
- Rejection from a mother cat or poor nursing: A mother cat plays a huge role in ensuring that a kitten gets the right nutrition for proper growth. After birth, all nutrition that a kitten needs is available in its mother’s breast milk. As a result, if a mother rejects its kitten (which happens in many cases) or is unable to provide enough milk, then the kitten will be malnourished and be prone to diseases.
- Infections and parasites: Parasites and infections easily weaken and break down the young immune system of kittens. This makes them unable to withstand or fight off diseases. Viral or bacterial infections play a huge role in weakening a kitten’s immune system and putting it at serious risk.
- Hemolytic anemia: This occurs when a kitten is born with a blood type that is different from its mother’s blood type. As a result, the kitten may inherit certain antibodies from its mother’s breast milk, which will go on and attack its blood cells and weaken its immune system.
To sum up, anything that leads to an eventual weakening of the kitten’s immune system is a causing factor.
Symptoms of Fading Kitten Syndrome
Now that we know what causes the condition let’s take a look at the fading kitten or kitten dying symptoms.
- Weakness and lethargy: This will be the first signal and is also a key indicator of an underlying problem. If your kitten hardly moves around and is constantly in a sleeping position, there could be something wrong.
- Separation: If your kitten is mostly separated from the other kittens and has no interest in either breastfeeding or playing with the other kittens, then something could be very wrong with it.
- Weight loss: If the kitten’s weight keeps dropping as compared to the other kittens, that is a sign that something is wrong with it.
- Other factors include unopened eyes, inability to turn with its back on the ground, and dry, dehydrated skin.
As the syndrome gets worse, you may notice symptoms like weird noises from the kitten, arched neck position, and irregular breathing pattern.
Fading Kitten Syndrome Treatment
Before any kind of treatment can be administered, your vet will first have to diagnose that your kitten is actually suffering from fading kitten syndrome. Then, the underlying causes will also have to be diagnosed. As mentioned earlier, fading kitten syndrome is not a disease by itself. As a result, the underlying causes of the condition will have to be treated. Your vet will first perform a series of tests to confirm the causes, after which a series of treatment options will be prescribed depending on what the results of the diagnosis are. The treatment will also aim at preventing dehydration, malnutrition, and hypothermia. To help save your kitten’s life, it is absolutely vital not to delay when you notice any of the symptoms mentioned as this condition only requires a short time to become fatal. Consult your vet immediately.
Fading Kitten Syndrome Care
When it comes to fading kitten syndrome care, the first thing you should do is to ensure that you take the kitten to the vet. After the vet has made the diagnosis, your kitten may need to stay under observation while treatment continues at the vet clinic. If your vet gives your kitten the greenlight to be taken home, then you must follow all the directions given by your vet to the fullest.
One of the important things you will have to learn in order to take care of your kitten is tube feeding. This is essential when taking care of a kitten that will not or cannot suckle by itself. Another technique that you will have to learn is subcutaneous fluid therapy. This will help give your kitten all the essential minerals and vitamins it will need to boost its immune system. It will also help to keep the little guy hydrated. Your vet will be more than pleased to teach you all the techniques you need to know.
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In conclusion, it is important to know that fading kitten syndrome is not an immediate death sentence. However, whether or not a kitten will survive this condition depends a lot on how early the condition is detected and how promptly the recovery treatment is started. Knowing the symptoms of fading kitten syndrome is the first step in saving the life of your kitten.