Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Includes Expert Content
    11 kittens- help
    An_241077 posted:
    I have 5 kittens 6 months old, 6 kittens 10 weeks old. Took 5 older kittens to a loca SPCA to be spa and nuttered. The next day they were all sneezing with clear liquid discharge. Took them back to SPCA, they aquised me of bringing in cats with contageous air borne infection and would do nothing to help me. Took the mother to local vet, he gave her Clavamox amoxicillin trihydrate/clavulanate potassium .08 ml for 10 days. Cost $135. He would not prescribe for the other 10, says I have to bring them all in. I live on SS, recv $700 a month, raising 2 great grandchildren on my own and can not afford over $1000, just do not have it. Is there a national organizaton I can get help from? Either to help pay the bill or get medications for the kittens? I will truly appreciate any thing you can suggest. Thank you
    srstephanie responded:
    Hi An_241077,

    Sorry to hear about your kittens. According to the veterinary infectious disease experts, about 80% of all upper respiratory infections in cats are caused by one of two viruses, Herpesvirus-1 or Calicivirus. Antibiotics will not treat viral infections. But many cats with Herpes or Calici get secondary bacterial infections ... so antibiotics are often given and can sometimes be helpful.

    Probably the most common cause is Feline Herpesvirus-1 which is known to cause sneezing and clear nasal and eye discharge. Once infected with Herpes, it is for life ... but most cats have immune systems (along with protection from vaccines) that are able to keep it in a latent/dormant state and the cat may never show symptoms. But it is also well known that periods of stress can cause Herpes to become active again. That seems to fit your scenario, with your kittens breaking with symptoms soon after the stress of being spayed or neutered. It is likely that the mother cat has had a Herpes infection that had been dormant, but the stress of birth and caring for the kittens could have reactivated her Herpes and she may have infected the kittens ... then the stress from the spay and neutering of the kittens made it active in them.

    If (and without testing there is no way to know for sure) your kittens have Herpes ... one common treatment is to give them some Lysine (added to their food). Lysine is an amino acid and will not cure Herpes, but it can help slow the reproduction of the virus and help the cat's immune system get it under control. I've never had to use it, but I believe you can use a generic Lysine from any pharmacy and it is quite safe to give. I'm not a vet but your vet can help you with dosage amounts. That may be the cheapest way to help the kittens ... assuming the problem is Herpes.

    For more serious Herpes infections, there is a new anti-viral medication, called Famciclovir, that works well on Herpes and is safe to use in cats ... but I think it is rather expensive. You can ask your vet about it if Herpes is suspected and the antibiotics and/or Lysine are not helping.

    If the cause of the respiratory infection is Calici ... there isn't much you can do other than the antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections ... plus basic supportive care. If they are badly stuffed up so that they can't smell their food and stop eating ... you can turn on a hot shower and put them in the bathroom where they can breathe the steamy, moist air ... or, the vet can show you how to set up a nebulizer, but that may cost a bit to get the materials. The vet can also try flushing the sinuses with saline to give some temporary relief.

    If the kittens haven't received their vaccinations yet, it would be good to do so. The older kittens should be sure to have had a final kitten series vaccination (for Herpes, Calici and Panleukopenia) at or after 16 weeks of age.

    You might want to ask your vet about one of the Intranasal vaccines (by either Heska or Pfizer). They have the advantage of giving a good local immunity (stimulating innate immunity and cell mediated immunity) in the nasal mucous where the infection is found. The drawback of the intranasal vaccines is that they, themselves, can cause 2-3 days of sneezing and nasal discharge. But since your kittens are already doing that, you don't have anything to lose. Some specialists actually treat chronic Calici with the intranasal vaccine and often have good results. However, the kittens do need an injected Panleukopenia vaccine at or after 16 weeks of age.

    There are several organizations that help with veterinary expenses. I haven't had to use them, so can't remember right now, but there are others here who can help with suggestions.

    Good luck,
    Stephanie in Montreal
    Byroney_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Welcome An_241077 and thanks for posting. I am sorry the person at the SPCA was unhelpful when you went back.

    I have a couple of resources that may help, but also make sure and check locally for help, like Stephanie mentioned.

    Humane Society free & low cost pet care state by state and Canada

    Sam Simon Foundation free and low cost resources (Mostly for California)

    Keep us updated,

    Every dog has his day - but the nights are reserved for the cats ~ Unknown
    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
    While the SPCA may be correct, it seems like poor treatment for someone who's trying to help care for stray cats. You did the right thing to have them neutered and taking one of them to your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, your veterinarian is correct in saying he can't treat patients he hasn't seen. it's unethica. Still, I have some suggestions that may help. Since most of these upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses, they usually resolve on their own in 10 -14 days. Antibiotics do decrease the severity of the symptoms but won't treat the virus itself, so they aren't always needed. If the kittens are eating and otherwise acting normal, all you really need to do is keep their noses and eyes clean with a cotton ball and warm water. If they're really congested (but still eating and playing) a humidifier helps them breathe easier, just like when children have colds. If they're not eating well or quite lethargic, they do need to see your veterinarian but you may not need to take all of them, just the ones who aren't doing well. Hope this helps!

    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
    The Cat Doctor
    Board Certified in Feline Practice
    Anon_128600 replied to srstephanie's response:
    dislike saying this but you really need to be able to afford your kitties and that includes their medical needs. perhaps you should consider keeping less cats in your home. it would be best to decide this while they are just kittens and not attached to you. they will have further needs as they grow. i do not say this in a mean spirited way as i have financial limitations myself. good luck.
    Home2strays replied to Anon_128600's response:
    she states that they are strays that she is trying to spay/ nueter. not her pets shes gone out and gotten.

    Helpful Tips

    I think I finally have an answer for my grass eating Sadie!
    I have a Bloodhound/Lab mix, she is about four years old now, for the last two years she has been doing this same thing and I am so happy ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 2 found this helpful

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    Learn more about the AVMA

    WebMD Special Sections