We met sweet Kia shortly after she was adopted from a local shelter because she was vomiting and had a gastrointestinal illness. After an unremarkable physical examination, she was treated medically with antibiotics, antiemetics (anti-vomiting/anti-nausea), and fluid therapy.
Kia returned the next day because she was not improving. After bloodwork, x-rays, and a barium study, we were highly suspicious of an ingested foreign object. It was elected to perform an exploratory surgery to look for any ingested foreign objects and to spay her. No foreign objects or obstructions were found during the exploratory surgery and her spay was unremarkable.
Over the next few days, Kia was treated with fluid therapy, antibiotics, and pain medications. Several days after her surgery, Kia’s incision site showed signs of poor healing. At this time, we found out that several cats at the shelter were suffering from a deadly disease called feline panleukopenia. Essentially, the panleukopenia virus attacks rapidly dividing cells (gastrointestinal and bone marrow cells). Cats affected with the virus suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and secondary bacterial infection. Although panleukopenia is part of our core vaccine for cats and is very effective, Kia was not vaccinated prior to her exposure to the virus. Kia’s white blood cell count at this time was very low and because her abdominal incision was failing, we all realized her chance of survival was poor.
Kia never gave up and her overall health started to improve, but her abdominal incision looked very bad. One morning the entire incision opened and her abdominal contents began to protrude. We took her to surgery to carefully remove all of the unhealthy tissue, flush out her abdomen, and suture her back together. We continued supportive care and, slowly, she started improving.
Kia’s next hurdle was battling a viral upper respiratory infection involving her nose and eyes. Although upper respiratory infections are not uncommon in kittens, Kia’s weakened immune system made the symptoms more severe. With aggressive eye treatments and supportive care, she rallied.
18 days after Kia was brought to Best Friends Animal Hospital, she was finally discharged to go home with her devoted owners. She was thin, but never lost the sparkle in her eyes and her zeal for life. The picture above is Kia after a month at home with her owner’s TLC. It was a tough battle, but Kia made it through with flying colors – for this we are all thankful!