Medicating feral kittens

Some Helpful Guidelines for Medicating Feral Kittens


With sickly feral kittens try to use your vets most effective but
least traumatic treatment available. Handling kittens unnecessarily
to medicate them will set back the socialization process and
sometimes make a timely socialization impossible.
Along with medical treatment remember to feed the most
nutritious food possible. A healthy immune system can combat
most ailments but needs premium quality food to fight the battle.
Petguard, Wellness, Nutro, Eukanuba are among the best. Friskies
and Wiskas are inferior but the best of the grocery store brands.
Stay away from Deli Cat, 9 Lives, etc. if you want to keep the cats
Building a healthy immune response through a top quality diet can
often heal a feral cat you can’t treat.
Here are some of the simpler medical treatment options which
don’t require stressful or traumatic handling:
When safe-handling is impossible, CAPSTAR pills crushed in
food are a safe and effective flea treatment for cats and kittens 4
weeks and older. Capstar does not require a prescription and can be
purchased online at any of the PetMeds-type websites. Capstar
works in 3-6 hours at which time the cat/kitten may be brought
anywhere without fear of risking flea infestation if you dispose of
the infested bedding. The pills can be crushed and sprinkled onto a
small amount of a tasty food. They have no unpleasant taste.
Capstar has no residual effect so the cat/kitten must not be re-
exposed to fleas. (Advantage, Revolution, etc. continue working
for one month). Half of the cat pill is a safe dose for 4 week olds.
REVOLUTION requires a prescription but will effectively treat
Ear-Mites in one treatment; (it also treats fleas and roundworms
effectively at the same time). Briefly handling of the cat/kitten is
necessary to squeeze a small amount of the Revolution liquid onto
the cat’s skin between the shoulder blades. This can be done at the
time of a vet exam or after the Spay/Neuter surgery. Other EAR
MITE treatments require fourteen days of twice daily ear drops
with a refrigerated product like TRESADERM. This is stressful
and traumatic for fearful kittens. Cold ear drops twice a day for
two weeks is not a good recipe for socialization. Some say
Revolution doesn’t work, but in the right dose, it has worked well
for us every time.
Treating eye infections can be very difficult but must not be
neglected. Scarring and loss of vision is common with untreated
Herpes virus eye infections (Herpes is the R in the FVRCP
vaccination). If you are required to use the standard tubes of eye
ointment (Terramycin, etc.) or drops, be sure to undo the bad
experience of being restrained and treated for the eye problem, by
spending extra nurturing time with the kittens before and after
treating the eyes with the proper eye ointment or drops. Make sure
you have the correct diagnosis since treating with the wrong eye
medication can be useless or even harmful. Antibiotics have no
direct effect (read about Zithromax below) on viral infections like
URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) but often vets will prescribe
one to treat or prevent a secondary bacterial infection. This is
usually easily mixed into food without handling the cat. Make sure
you can follow the directions precisely or don’t treat the cat at all.
Antibiotics are not a “hit or miss” medication to be played around
with. Ask the vet if you’re not sure! Zithromax (Azithromycin),
has been found to be nearly 100% effective for resolving kitten and
adult Herpes eye infections. Although it is an antibiotic and we all
know they can't cure viral infections, vets are documenting that an
Azithromycin course of treatment resolve Herpes eye infections. It
can be compounded with flavors and stirred into food, avoiding the
need to restrain the animal to treat it. It can be ordered with a
prescription from Vet-Centric and mailed to you. The medicine
itself is not perishable but some of the flavor compounds are and
need to be refrigerated, so try to stick with the non-perishable
flavorings. We use the "Roasted Chicken and not the "Tuna" for
example. The success of this treatment for herpes is unexplained
and "off-label" so your vet may not be aware of this seemingly
miraculous if counter-intuitive treatment. The eye ointment
treatments are usually unnecessary if the Azithromycin is used.
Most vets give STRONGID for ROUNDWORMS as a matter of
course (must be repeated once 14-21 days after first treatment).
This can often be put in food and gobbled up without detection.
Strongid is a very effective and safe medicine but will not resolve
other parasites such as COCCIDIA or GIARDIA. These others are
less frequently seen, but very common. Diarrhea can be very
serious to kitten health and should not be neglected. An exact
diagnosis can be difficult to get but if diarrhea persists, take a stool
sample to your vet for testing. The test for Giardia is more
expensive and not normally run as a matter of routine. Be sure to
ask the vet if he thinks it is necessary and offer to pay the extra to
have it done. The routine treatment for Giardia is 10-14 days,
twice per day of a very bitter drug called Metronidazol or Flagyl.
It is impossible to disguise this drug in food and usually makes the
most tame housecat impossible to pill after one taste. One
company has started making the drug in coated pill form but most
Vets only stock the large dog size pill that breaks into powder
when you dose it for cats. A better alternative for treating Giardia
in the feral cat or kitten is Panacur liquid suspension. It comes in
powder but the liquid is easier to mix in with food. It has a chalky
taste which gives you a much better chance of sneaking it into
food. It’s a once per day treatment for only 5 days which is much
less than the bitter pill regimen.

One of my professors told me, “It takes 21 days for Ringworm to
heal if you treat it and 3 weeks if you don’t treat it.” I once treated
a young feral kitten for ringworm and she never was comfortable
being handled as a result of the treatments. Her sister was too feral
to be treated at all and she healed on her own with good nutrition.
Some strains of Ringworm respond very well to a double dose of
the flea treatment PROGRAM. It comes in a chewable tablet form
that is very palatable and can be crushed into food and cats gobble
it up. This “off-label” use of PROGRAM to treat Ringworm is
known by many vets but they sometimes don’t know that you must
double the flea treatment dose to get results. When it works you
will see dramatic results right away. If the strain of Ringworm
doesn’t respond to PROGRAM, you’ll have to wait for good
nutrition to build an immune system response.
Ever try to give antibiotics twice a day to a feral cat? If you have,
you'll be jumping for joy as you read this news. There is an "off
label" use for cefovecin (Convenia™) which allows a one-time
injection that provides 7-14 days of antibiotic treatment for cats.
This means that a feral cat which is discovered to have an infected
wound or need teeth pulled at the time of TNR could get this one
shot while still knocked-out for the neutering, and not need the
twice daily regimen of antibiotics we've all faced in the past.
Remember praying that s/he eats it in the food? Trying to pill them
once of twice and then giving up, or risk a course of antibiotics
yourself? Needing to hold the cat for treatment when you have
nowhere to hold them!?! All of that is over!
It's termed "Off-label use" because Cefovecin (Convenia™), is only been tested and approved for treating dermatological problems but doctor's have found that it works for many other things and has the aforementioned 7-14 days of residual effect. This is similar to using Program™ to treat ringwomr which is actual a product for fleas. Studies have shown that the only side effects (rarely seen) may be some nausea for a couple days but don't last for the entire 7-14 days. This is already in use in NYC at West Chelsea Veterinary on 26th street for one but hopefully your vet will be open to learning about using it too. If your vet doesn’t understand the challenges of socialization and building trust, there are many vets who do and will work with you to get the kittens to optimal health without using treatment methods that undo your hard work toward socialization. Ask around for a recommendation from one of the many groups working with feral cats. The kittens AND YOU, deserve all the help and understanding you can get!! Written by Mike Phillips, Licensed Veterinary Technician, President, URBAN CAT LEAGUE


Dr. MANISH NIVSARKAR B.V. Patel Pharmaceutical Education and Research Development (PERD) Centre, Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway, Thaltej, Ahmedabad-380054 Telephone: 91 79 27439375, Fax: 91 79 27450449 Current Position: Director ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………  Joint Director, Head Department

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