When you bring a kitten home, there's likely to be lots of excitement and a sharp learning curve as you get to know your new addition and learn how to care for them. You will, of course, need to get your kitten vaccinated when they're around two months old to protect them from several serious conditions, some of which can be fatal. However, it's also wise to be aware of other health problems your kitten is susceptible to developing as their immune systems mature.
Upper Respiratory Infections
Upper respiratory infections can be viral or bacterial in nature and are often transmitted through air droplets from infected cats. Kittens with an upper respiratory infection tend to sneeze a lot and may have nasal discharge. They can develop breathing problems, which can lead to them refusing to eat and developing dehydration. Kittens showing signs of an upper respiratory infection should be checked over by a vet as soon as possible to prevent organ failure due to lack of oxygen in their airways and dehydration.
There are several different varieties of worms, such as whipworms and roundworms, which can infect kittens when they ingest worm eggs from an infected cat's faeces. These worms can live in your kitten's intestines and cause bloody diarrhoea and rapid weight loss. Kittens with intestinal worms will fail to thrive and can die from malnourishment. Treatment with the correct type of worming medication is quick, inexpensive and very successful, and your vet will analyse a faecal sample to determine what medication is required.
Some kitten owners are surprised to learn that kittens can suffer from an ear mite infestation. Ear mites can be contracted from contact with an infected cat or their living environment and are smaller than a grain of salt, which makes them difficult to spot. If your kitten has ear mites, they may have a white powdery build-up in their ears and they will shake their head and scratch at their ears frequently. Left untreated, your kitten can really be tormented by ear mites, and as they feed on blood, they can cause your kitten to become anaemic. Ear mites can be eradicated using prescribed ear drops, and your vet will explain how to clean your kitten's living environment to reduce the risk of them becoming infected again.
A kitten brings a lot of joy and fun into a home, but they also require a lot of care and attention. If your kitten is showing any signs of poor health, have them seen by a vet right away.
Contact a veterinary service for more information.