Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Fading Kitten Syndrome and Warwick. 26.11.2013

Hi guys and girls,

If any of you are anything like me and you LOVE animals more than you love humans this blog is going to make you cry... I am going to tell you about my experience of living with a kitten who is dying of Fading Kitten Syndrome (FKS). I find it nearly impossible to talk about this with friends and family because it literally breaks my heart but I think I need to tell you all what FKS is and what it is like dealing with it, I also feel I need to release. I have been so upset about it all for about 2 weeks now and I haven't wanted to really open up about it too much because I don't like to bore people but I need to get it all out before it's to late. I know Warwick will never read this but I feel if I right it while he is still alive he will know how I feel and maybe be ready to go to Kitty Heaven.

Firstly, This is Warwick...

I have grown such a bond with him over the past 2 weeks. I know his facial expressions, his meows, what his movements mean. He recognizes my voice, he follows me around and gets all wide eye'd when I come home to him.

Warwick was the first born on October 9th 2013 late at night in a liter of 4. Waifer (mum cat) was a stray found nearby and she kind of adopted us, we were unsure if we wanted to keep her but she ended up being pregnant so here we are.

During Labor Warwick was 'half in and half out' still in his sack for about 10 minutes before Waifer managed to push him out. Waifer was in a lot of pain and distress and had no idea what was going on or how to do it. I contacted friends and the vet and all of them said not to intervene in case it caused Waifer to neglect her liter. So we waited. Once Warwick was out Waifer started to clean him but the sack was over his face for some time before it was completely cleaned off.

Warwick suckled on straight away and fed fine while the other 3 kittens where born all really easily and quickly. They were all cleaned quickly and suckled on fine.

The first 5 weeks all the kittens were normal, feeding from mum and growing nicely. When the kittens where 5-6 weeks old Waifer was more reluctant to feed them and would often yelp and get up and walk away. The kittens were beginning to fight over her teats and Warwick would often get pushed out and miss feeds. To me this was Waifer telling me it was becoming painful and it was time to begin weaning the kittens.

We bought some kitten food and kitten milk and Hamish, Dumbledoor and Tinka weaned straight away, scoffing the food down like there was no tomorrow but Warwick just wasn't interested. We forced Waifer to feed Warwick for a couple more days but she hated it and Warwick didn't really suckle for long rather just fall alseep. The other 3 kittens started gaining weight rapidly where as Warwick was losing it. We tried forcing Waifer to feed Warwick as well as trying to encourage weaning but nothing!

I contacted the vet almost 2 weeks ago now and he said "bring him in"...

I took Warwick to the vet last Monday (11.11.13) and he checked his weight, temperature and general all over health and told me it looks like FKS, Let me tell you what I know about FKS..

source: http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/ask-a-vet-foster-kittens-die-fading-kitten-syndrome-cat-health

15 percent to 27 percent of kittens die before they are nine weeks old.

Fading kitten syndrome is not a single entity; rather, it describes a large number of problems and conditions that can cause death in young kittens.

almost all fading kittens exhibit similar symptoms. Profound lethargy, low body temperature, pale gums, low respiratory rate, and failure to root and nurse or eat are nearly universal signs of the syndrome. However, these signs can be caused by a large number of problems. ( Inadequate mothering, Trauma and hypothermia are two causes of fading kitten syndrome that truly come on suddenly. Trauma occurs most frequently when a kitten falls from height or is crushed. Hypothermia occurs when kittens are separated from one another and the mother in a chilly environment. Note that hypothermia can be either a cause or a result of a fading kitten crisis. Almost all fading kittens in crisis will exhibit hypothermia. Infectious organisms are frequent culprits in fading kitten syndrome. Kittens are at risk of sepsis from bacterial infections. Viral infections with organisms such as feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, panleukopenia, FIV/feline AIDS, and feline leukemia virus may trigger the syndrome. Parasitic infestations with roundworms, coccidia, or other organisms may trigger crises. Many of these infections are linked to immune system collapse, which is usually associated with a condition called thymus atrophy. Hereditary defects ranging from heart irregularities to undeveloped immune systems may cause fading kitten syndrome.
Hemolytic anemia is another possible cause of the syndrome. This condition can occur when a kitten has a different blood type than its mother. When the kitten nurses during the first days of its life, it ingests antibodies that attack its blood cells.)
Kittens in crisis generally require treatment by veterinarians. The mainstays of treatment are thermal support, fluids, dextrose (sugar), and often antibiotics. If the affected kitten begins to warm and recover, nutritional support and deworming medications may be added. Sadly, the prognosis for kittens in crisis is poor, and many of them do not survive even with treatment.
A kitten lost to fading kitten syndrome can sometimes be a harbinger of problems for the littermates. A veterinarian should assess the mother and any remaining kittens after any such incident.
Now, We don't know the cause behind Warwicks FKS but we have done everything we can to help him recover but its been almost 2 weeks now and he is still deteriorating. 
We have been hand feeding him different types of kitten and cat food as well as kitten replacement milk, cows milk (which I am aware we are not 'meant' to but we thought its better he drink SOMETHING than nothing) water, water with a powder in for electrolytes and sugar water, I have tried Scrambled egg, Cheese and finally my mums cat food which is chicken and cheese and he loves it :-) He has also been on antibiotics for a week.
Warwick however is not improving :-( he is still losing weight and started falling over, He can't hold his own weight all of the time and just collapses on the floor. He can't meow much any more as his voice is too weak and He struggles to poo. His teeth make a funny crunching noise when he tries to eat and he dribbles a lot when he drinks from the syringe.  His temperature is either cold or hot never in between and he is riddled with fleas despite me de-fleaing all of the cats. I bathed him when he fell in the milk the other day and he looked like a skeleton when he was wet he is that underweight. It was so painful to see.
I took him back to the vet on Sunday and the vet told me that Warwick isn't going to survive but he is not in any pain or discomfort so I can keep trying for another 48 hours if I want to. I cried my eyes out. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. My eyes were puffy, my nose so blocked I couldn't breath and my body so tired from the retching I couldn't move. but...
I wanted to keep trying...
He had a really good day on Sunday night, He ate lots at mums and when we got home and he drank lots too. he was alert and had enough energy to follow my fingers round the carpet in a play full stumble. 
Monday was not such a good day, Warwick didn't want to eat, drink or play. He had lost more weight and was falling all over the place. He was not in pain and would quite happily just sit there but that night (last night) something bad happened.
 He started to make this really strange ticking noise as he slept and his breathing became erratic and his heart was beating fast. He had his mouth open and was panting. He wouldn't take water, he wouldn't get up or move and he was so hot. I said to Jason "This is it he is going to die.." I un-wrapped him from his blanket and sat with him in my arms on the sofa before coming up to bed. He cooled down by now so I put him on his blanket and laid with him beside me on my bed and I just stroked him and cried myself to sleep expecting to wake up to a dead kitten beside me. However I woke up at 6am and he was gone. I sat up and looked around and he was up, walking, breathing normally, taking food and water from the bowls beside my bed. He meowed and climbed up me for a cuddle. 
I had work today so my dad kitten sat so Warwick wasn't alone and could still be fed and watered regularly and in case he did die today he wouldn't be alone. He hasn't been interested in food or water at all today un till about 3 pm he had a bit then. 
Warwick is now asleep next to me and sadly his 48 hours are up tonight and I don't know what to do.
Part of me thinks, leave him to sleep, if he wakes up himself offer him food and water but don't keep waking him up to force him. If he wants to eat and drink he will wake up for it and help himself when offered and if all he wants to do is sleep. he'll sleep un till he dies and he'll go peacefully hopefully when I'm here holding him. 
The other part of me thinks I should take him to the vet tomorrow and put him to sleep because after all the vet said 48 hours! 
But then the 1st part says NO if he wanted to die he wouldn't wake up and eat or drink with a bit of energy every now and again there could still be some hope if he is at least trying to survive... 
He is in no pain, He is not uncomfortable, He is still very aware of his surrounding and voices, He doesn't piss and shit all over himself and is not fitting. He either sleeps or he gets up for food and water and a cuddle.
I will never forgive myself if I act too soon and I will always question if going to the vet and putting him to sleep when he still tries to survive was the best choice. I would hope he just falls asleep in my arms and just doesn't wake up. But time will tell from this day forth because all I can do now is wait. 
Please #PrayforWarwick and hope that he either survives and grows up healthy or he falls asleep naturally forever. 
If you have any questions or just want to show your support I am here or on Twitter @stephanniefaye
Thank you for reading. 

x S x & Warwick 

(just read this out loud to Jason and we are now both teary eyed !!) MUST STAY STRONG FOR WARWICK... :'(