When kittens stop nursing they dehydrate very fast. Always consider dehydration whenever a kitten fails to thrive, loses weight, becomes chilled or is too weak to nurse. Remember fever increases the loss of water.

Signs of dehydration:

- Lack of moisture in the mouth

- A bright pink tongue and mucous membranes of the mouth

- Saliva is thick and tenacious

- Loss of muscle tone

- Weakness

- Late signs are sunken eyeballs and shock

When a dehydrated skin is pinched, it stays up in a fold instead of jumping back into shape. When giving replacement fluids, either orally or by intravenous injection, the fluids must be warm so that the kitten is not chilled by the fluids.

A cat or kitten that is noticeably dehydrated should receive veterinary attention immediately. Treatment involves replacing fluids and stop further losses.

Underfed kittens cry continuously, appear listless, apathetic, suck on litter mates, gain little or no weight and begin to chill. They dehydrate quickly when they are not getting enough formula or milk.

Overfeeding – The first sign is loose stool. A loose yellow stool indicates a mild degree of overfeeding.

Moderate overfeeding - causes rapid movement of food through the intestinal tract and is indicated by greenish stool. The green colour is due to unabsorbed bile.

Unchecked overfeeding leads to a depletion of digestive enzymes and causes greyish diarrhoea. Eventually, when there is little or no digestion of formula due to rapid transit, the stool looks like curdled milk. At this point, the kitten is getting no nutrition and is rapidly becoming dehydrated.

Kittens with greyish diarrhoea may also suffer from neonatal infections. In this case a pro-biotic such as (Kyron’s Protexin Soluble) can be fed to restore and help the intestinal flora.

 
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