Kittens with diarrhoea are not pleasant house mates. Unfortunately the runs are very common in kittens. If we rule out dietary and parasite problems, and the diarrhoea continues then we must consider other rarer things.
Six month old kitten Tully came to see us this week because he has had diarrhoea on and off for over a month and is now passing fresh red blood and mucus on very soft faeces. He’s also straining on the litter tray and repeatedly going back.
Cow’s milk or a sudden change in diet can cause diarrhoea in some kittens but Tully is on a combined cat biscuit and canned diet, and his owners are starting to build up his meat intake. Worms can cause diarrhoea in some kittens but Tully was wormed last week.
Tully jumped up on the window sill and swung off the blind in the consult room. His appetite is normal and he is otherwise bright and happy so we doubted that he had a viral or bacterial gut infection.
Because Tully has had the diarrhoea for a long while and originally was rescued from a cat shelter we sent off a sample of his diarrhoea to check for giardia, tritrichomonas and cryptosporidia. These nasties are seen in kittens who have been stressed or starved, or come from crowded conditions.
Meanwhile we checked his faeces for worm eggs and other parasites under the microscope. We also recommended that his owners fast him for 24 hours and then start a bland diet of chicken and rice or rice cereal 3 or 4 times a day.
As soon as we know what is causing the problem Tully will go on the appropriate targeted treatment.