Tiny kitten overcomes a big problem

Herman the flamepoint kitten with blue eyes
Herman was just weeks old when he needed emergency vet care to survive, but today he’s recovered and in his new home.
By Best Friends staff

You know the questions veterinarians always ask when you bring a four-legged, furry patient to see them: Is your pet eating, drinking, going to the bathroom? Little Herman’s foster person could say yes to the first two questions but not the other.

Herman had come to Best Friends in Salt Lake City from a nearby shelter as an orphan at just 4 weeks old and barely weighing a pound. He was tiny but seemed in good health — at first.

Not long after he went to a foster home, he was back at the clinic. His nose was stuffed up and goopy, and when Dr. Megan McCarthy examined the tiny kitten, she found that his belly was big, round, and firm. The poor little guy’s bottom was so irritated that he just couldn’t go when he needed to. He was obstipated, which meant that he couldn’t go to the bathroom, and that was an emergency.

Emergency vet care for a sick kitten

Dr. Megan’s concern was that Herman had a condition called megacolon, meaning that the colon is dilated and larger than it should be. The other possibility was that Herman’s troubles were related to weaning — he was just beginning to eat on his own when he landed at the shelter. Also, when cats and kittens have upper respiratory infections, they often don’t want to eat or drink as much as they should.

[Kitten loves her spa baths]

Dr. Megan sedated Herman and cleared out the blockage. Then he had a warm bath, and the vet staff placed him in an incubator to warm up and dry off. Once he was alert again, she sent him back to his foster home with medication, prescription food, and instructions to monitor him closely. If the condition reoccurred, it likely meant that he did have megacolon. If not, then it was a case of a tiny kitten having a rough start to life without his mama, but with care he’d be OK.

Herman recovers

The little flame point kitten went back to his foster home, and with diligent feeding, monitoring, and giving him his medications, Herman made a full recovery. His respiratory infection cleared up, he was eating and drinking well, and he started gaining weight. And he was going to the bathroom on his own.

By the time he was due for his next checkup, Herman was looking and feeling great. He received a clean bill of health from Dr. Megan and got the green light to play with other kitties in his foster home.

It wasn’t long before he was big enough to be neutered and adopted into a new home, and that’s exactly what happened. Today he’s a lanky, healthy, happy kitten whose tenuous start to life is far behind him.

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