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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 24096
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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hi my 3 week old kitten was diagnosed with cat flu a few days

Customer Question

hi my 3 week old kitten was diagnosed with cat flu a few days ago and was given an antibiotic injection. hes been ok since but has woken from his nap today very limp and not really with it, we put him on the floor and he falls over, this was how he was when diagnosed
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Can you tell me if his gums are pink or pale/white?

Is he very congested?

Can he breathe comfortably or is he open mouth breathing?

Can you take a respiratory rate for me (count his breaths for 10 seconds + then multiply that by 6)?

Has he been eating and drinking?

What signs has he been showing besides weakness, collapse, and lethargy?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

his gums are pink. he has nothing in his eyes at all thay are clear. he was eating and drinking fine. he went to sleep and woke up like this. he woke up and fell out of his bed then I picked him up and hs head fell to the side and he keeps falling asleep

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Louisa,

Are you saying he is just falling asleep where he stands without control?

What is he being fed?

Did he ever have any flu signs (ie coughing, sneezing, congestion, fever, discharges from his eyes or nose)?

Any history of head trauma?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

he walks a little then his back end just drops then he falls over. when I pick him up he just falls asleep. he only had a lttle sleep in his eye that was all. he was a Ferrell cat so unsure of head trauma. he is still asleep but breathing ok. the vet said he had a slight heart murmur and an ulcer in his eye

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you again,

Now I have to say I am quite worried about this little lad.
His signs are not really suggestive of cat flu. Mild eye discharge, an eye ulcer, and lethargy could be related to this, but we'd just not expect the level of depression and collapse you are describing. And while heart issues could cause these signs, we'd expect more then a slight murmur. With the signs he is showing, I'd be more concerned about a recent head trauma (causing brain swelling to depress and sedate him), anemia from blood loss (though we'd expect his gums would be pale), or dangerously low blood sugar (which is less likely if he is eating).

In this case, I am concerned there is more to this lad's condition then flu alone. In regards ***** ***** here, with him so weak it'd be ideal to have him seen urgently as I am concerned that if he does have a brain swelling he may become comatose and non-responsive if it progresses. The vet can check to make sure he is not anemic and can also perform a neurological examination to determine if this is brain based. And they can of course check his temperature to make sure he doesn't have a severe fever or (my concern) is getting dangerously cold such that this is causing his collapse.

Otherwise, in regards ***** ***** supportive measures you can try just now, I would advise trying to get some glucose into his system. To do so, you can rub glucose syrup, maple syrup, honey, or even jam on his gums. The aim is to see if getting some sugar into his blood stream perks him up. As well, if he feels cold, then you can try to warm him up. To do so, you can put him on a heating pad or under a heat lamp.
Just to note, you can make a safe warmer by filling a clean sock 2/3rds full with uncooked white rice. Tie it closed and microwave (approx 1-1.5 min). Make sure to shake to allow the heat to distribute before use (If it cools, you can re-warm as required). Of course, if he is weak, we need to monitor this to make sure he doesn't overheat.

Finally, just to note in case you were keen to have him seen today, some veterinary practices in our country have Sunday office hours. As well, I wanted to mention that most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients even when they are not open. Therefore, it is worth ringing the practice. If they are open, you can get him seen today. If they aren't, then they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their out of hours service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check the RCVS Register (HERE) to find your local Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends. In any case, if you wanted to get him checked out sooner then there are options to have him seen today too.

Overall, I am concerned that this little lad has more then a cat flu issue present. His severe lethargy to the point of losing consciousness when he falls is more suggestive of brain swelling, anemia, dangerously low blood sugars or body temperatures, or severe heart issues. So, do use the above supportive care, but to give him the best chance do consider having him reassessed right away.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


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