Blood-borne infections in newborn kittens are caused by rapid spreading bacteria causing signs in the respiratory and abdomen. The entry point is usually an abscessed umbilical stump although other sources are also possible. Bacteria from contaminated milk can also penetrate the intestinal wall’s lining and into the bloodstream.

The first signs of Septicemia are flaming red gums, crying, straining to defecate and bloating. In the beginning it can be mistaken for constipation but eventually the abdomen becomes distended and takes on a dark red or bluish tint. The kittens refuse to nurse and will show signs of chilling, weakness, dehydration, diarrhoea and weight loss. Most kittens simply fade away and die within the first three to seven days.

 
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