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CW: kitten death🌈 I took in 5 three-day-old kittens who were abandoned at the emergency vet hospital with no mom and no note.

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CW: kitten death🌈

Panleukopenia💔 Part 1

CW: kitten death🌈

If you watch our stories, you know that 2 weeks ago, I took in 5 three-day-old kittens who were abandoned at the emergency vet hospital with no mom and no note.

When they arrived they were covered in fleas, filthy, dehydrated and emaciated. They weren’t in good shape, but rarely are neonates healthy on intake. I got to work getting them stable.

By late Tuesday night, one kitten, Gabriel, started crashing, despite all the supportive care and meds he was receiving. He started having severe bloody diarrhea, became limp and unresponsive and struggled to breathe. I connected the oxygen concentrator to the incubator and gave him a fast acting antibiotic injection. But he did not improve and was leaking liquid diarrhea. I used his stool to perform a rapid test for Panleukopenia, and it came back positive💔

I started Gabriel and all the babies on our panluek protocol of meds and supportive care, but he passed within 30 minutes of the positive test😭💔

I was devastated. But I still had 4 sick babies who needed me. The remaining babies were very sick, so I thought they also had active panleuk infections. The stayed on the Panleuk protocol of meds and supportive care and started to improve after 5 days.

On Monday I noticed some of the kittens sneezing, but I thought they had acquired a secondary URI. But on Tuesday of this past week, another kitten, Bernie, crashed hard and fast, despite being on all the meds, supportive care, and oxygen support. He suddenly went into respiratory distress and was unable to breathe even with oxygen hooked up to the incubator. THIS was their active Panleukopenia infection💔 Panleuk has an incubation period of 3-14 days, and for some reason it hit Gabriel much sooner than the rest of his siblings😭 @babykittenrescue said.
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Panleukopenia💔 Part 2

CW: Kitten death🌈

I’ve never seen anything like this. Bernie was screaming, suffocating, and turning purple. I disconnected the oxygen hose from incubator and held it directly in front of his face. He started to breathe easier and regained a more normal coloring. But as soon as I moved the hose, he started to gasp for air again. I stayed up all night holding the oxygen hose to his face.

The next morning our vet and I figured out we could make an “oxygen tent” for Bernie by placing a bowl over him with the oxygen hose inside. This helped and Bernie seemed much more comfortable! So I was hopeful that if I could just keep him alive long enough for the virus to work it’s way through, he could recover. He stayed in the oxygen tent for 48 hours with supportive care, tube feeding, and meds. But eventually he became unable to breathe, even in the tent, at which point our vet came over to help him cross peacefully over the rainbow bridge🌈 Our vet also confirmed what we had suspected, that Bernie had Flat Chested Kitten Syndrome. So his ribs were completely flat across his chest and compressing his lungs💔

This was by far the most heart shattering, excruciating loss I’ve ever experienced. I still cry daily over it. I tried to hard and wanted so badly for him to recover, but the virus combined with his chest wall deformity, were just too much for his little body💔


On Thursday Mila & Nina became symptomatic, spiking high fevers, struggling to breathe, and becoming extremely lethargic. Thankfully I had been able to purchase another oxygen concentrator that day as I anticipated their crash (now that I understood the progression of this virus). So I hooked up the oxygen to the incubator, and that was enough to help them breathe more easily🙏

I was tube feeding every 2 hours, administering subcutaneous fluids every 8-12 hours, 2 different injectable antibiotics each once a day, Tamiflu twice a day, and Neupogen, an injectable white blood cell stimulator medication, once a day. And praying and crying.🙏 @babykittenrescue said.
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Panleukopenia💔 Part 3

On Friday night, I finally started to see small improvements. By Saturday, all of the girls were eating on their own! But Gertie still required the oxygen tent to breathe. So I tried putting her in the incubator with her sisters (which is still hooked up to oxygen, just not as concentrated). She did well for a few hours and was able to maintain her breathing!👏 But after 5 hours she started struggling to breathe, crying, and stopped eating, so I placed her back in the oxygen tent.

So for now I am putting Gertie in the oxygen tent for 2.5 hours then the incubator for 2.5 hours and switching her back and forth every feeding to try to help her rebuild her lung strength🙏 I will slowly start to decrease her amount of time in the tent and increase her time in the incubator🤞

Gertie also has a chest wall abnormality. Initially I thought FCKS like Bernie, but upon palpating her chest, I can feel that it is not flat, but it does have a sharp indent in the middle at the bottom of her sternum, which is indicative of pectus excavatum. In discussing with our vet, we made her an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for September 6th to get imaging done and hopefully schedule a surgery date to pull her ribs out and give her lungs more space🤞

For now, we just need to focus on getting her stable and healthy enough to undergo surgery🙏 Gertie has a long road ahead of her and the cards stacked against her. But we are going to do absolutely everything we possibly can to save her and help her live a long, happy life🙏❤️ Please continue to pray for Gertie, Mila, & Nina🙏💫

I’m sorry these posts are so awful and hard to read. But this is the reality of Panleukopenia. The survival rates for kittens under 8 weeks old are less than 10%, even lower for neonates. It is a horrible virus that destroys white blood cells and causes organ failure and secondary infection like sepsis.💔

The FVRCP vaccine is the standard vaccine that all cats should get and protects against Panleukopenia. But sadly, these babies were exposed before they could ever be vaccinated. We don’t know what happened to their mom, but most likely she also had Panleuk and passed from it. @babykittenrescue said.
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