Seven signs requiring immediate veterinary care


Signs your cat or kitten need Immediate Veterinary Care - Know the Signs and Symptoms

Although some animal medical emergencies can be managed at home, others require immediate veterinary attention. These signs indicate an emergency that requires immediate veterinary assessment. Some signs your cat or kitten need immediate veterinary care are:

  1. Non-responsiveness - A non-responsive kitten is usually in serious trouble. If you get no response or reaction when you call, stroke or touch your kitten, immediately check its breathing. Airway obstruction, cardiac arrest and poisoning are a few things that can cause non-responsiveness.
  2. Labored breathing - Respiratory problems require immediate attention. Fluid in the lungs or the chest cavity can obstruct breathing and kittens can go into respiratory arrest, followed by cardiac arrest, if untreated.
  3. Drooling profusely - Electric cord burns to the mouth and tongue, contact with household poisons or plants and nausea from other systemic illnesses can cause profuse drooling.  With male cats this can also be signs of urinary blockages as the cat strains in the litter box to urinate when they are unable to do so from a blockage in the urethra.
  4. Incessant vomiting - Serious electrolyte abnormalities and dehydration can occur from continuous vomiting. Intestinal obstruction from a ribbon, rubber band or string is a common cause of chronic vomiting in kittens and requires immediate attention.  This type of obstruction cannot be passed through the digestive tract without causing fatal harm to the cat.
  5. Profuse diarrhea - Diarrhea can cause severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances leading to rapid deterioration in kittens if not addressed properly.  Diarrhea can come from many sources such as coccidiosis or giardia which are small protozoan parasites of the intestines which can cause diarrhea in cats, these must be treated and will not go away on their own.
  6. Abnormal coloration of the gums - Pale gums imply anemia, bluish gums suggest a cardiac or respiratory problem and yellow gums denote red blood cell destruction or severe liver disease.  All of these conditions require immediate assessment by a veterinarian.
  7. Fever - Fevers in kittens often are caused by infectious conditions. Fever increases kittens' fluid requirements and often depress their appetite. Malnutrition and dehydration prove a dangerous combination. Kittens with a temperature greater than 103 degrees Fahrenheit should be examined promptly.


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