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FLAT-CHESTED KITTEN SYNDROME TREATMENT

Discover everything you need to know about the Maine Coon, an affectionate and playful cat breed.

FLAT-CHESTED KITTEN SYNDROME TREATMENT

On the basis of experience and observation of various conditions we would like to post the treatment procedure of FCKS on the Internet in order to help the owners of these wonderful tiny creatures to overcome this trouble.

ESTABLISHING OF THE PRECISE DIAGNOSIS

Surprisingly, it was found that quite many veterinary physicians are not able to make the diagnosis of this case. And it is of much concern that they appear to know nothing about it, notwithstanding the fact that the syndrome is endemic and the breeders’ circles are quite familiar with it. Thus many kittens receive a false diagnosis of a hollowed chest or not in the least obtain an adequate treatment. So it is highly recommended to make a copy from a specialized well-tried research which instructs how to cure and nurse a kitten with FCKS in case a veterinarian is not able to render the appropriate assistance. Please, give this literature a careful perusal and pay much attention to the cause of the disease, which is definitely a compression atelectasis.

SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION AND MEDICINES

NOURISHMENT

During the observation it was noticed that FCK kittens consume energies more than their healthy mates in order to sustain life. Very often a kitten stops gaining in weight, which may be a first symptom of the disease. So it is natural that they will need some additional nourishment. The first-grade milk supplement for visited by disease kittens is strongly encouraged by specialists in addition to their basic mother’s milk. This supplemental nutrition is of vital importance, which may be given by hand, bottle or tube if necessary. A syringe feeding is a good practice for developing of lungs, but exhausts a kitten much, and makes him go flat.

As for the manufacturing company production of supplement food for kittens it is worth mentioning the three main brands KMR, Cimicat and Royal Canin powdered milk. The FCK kittens need much richness, so KMR appears to be of great use here because it represents a top-grade creamy milk replacer. Nevertheless they three are suitable enough to nourish FCK kittens. If you have not KMR available – there is another efficient and very nutritious method. The British company Carnation also seems to produce concentrated milk of high quality, which is prepared with addition of water (one Carnation to three water portions) along with whipped raw egg-yolk. In addition to that – make sure your supplier is reliable to deliver eggs without any Salmonella inside.

Some breeders point out that FCK kittens stop putting in weight because of the colicky pain, which results from swallowing too much air while sucking. Since this is very difficult to breathe for these kittens. They stop eating because of the false satiety along with colicky pain. The stomach pushes against the diaphragm, causing a labored respiration and aggravating a compression atelectasis. To ease the pain and enable a kitten to put in weight further it is possible to give it several drops of liquid paraffin. The experience has shown that affected kittens that were given liquid paraffin were getting better than those who didn’t receive this remedy. So it is worth giving this treatment regimen a try.

MEDICINES

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You should immediately take a kitten to a veterinarian physician the moment you notice it is going flat. Before visiting a veterinarian or together with him you should weigh a kitten not in ounces but in grams in order to select an appropriate dosage amount of drugs. In order to fasten the recovery process - ask him to deliver steroids (Dexamethasone) and an antibiotic (Amoxycillin), struggling against infections and preserving the immune system against the effect of immune decreasing via steroids. It is also helpful to apply nebulized surfactant if the exciting cause of disease is surfactant deficiency. But it should be delivered within three or four days from birth.

You should spend much time with a kitten and keep a sharp lookout for it in order to notice signs of disease. It is better to trace all moments of kitten’s daily routine: how it feels while eating, or going around or lying, what affects its good or bad condition.

Kittens may flatten gradually in the process of two or three hours. The FCK kittens do not have the ribcage fixed - the flattening changes its levels within each breathing-in and breathing-out period. While exhaling the sides go outward along with the underside moving upwards towards the spine and enhancing the flattening, While exhaling the sides move inwards along with the underside of the ribcage going down from the spine. So when the lungs are filled up the common condition worsens. The thorax flattens as the lungs are not filled out with air correctly. The causes of compression atelectasis are not discovered yet. But this goes beyond doubt that the lung collapse is definitely not because of the chest. Additional oxygen also will not help, but exacerbate the condition.

A kitten may go flat in any moment 3 to 10 days since its birth. There exist many factors causing a compression atelectasis. But in case this is a respiration problem a kitten starts breathing rapidly and abnormally just before the ribcage flattening. Please, note that kittens’ pneumonia is not always accompanied with flattening whereas not all kittens with pneumonia go flat. On this account in order to combat the probable pneumonia cause it is advised to give antibiotics with a wide spectrum for a kitten.

Nevertheless there is a wide-spread point of view among veterinarians that this sickness is directly connected with lack of vitamins. For that reason Abidec additive is practiced on the wide scale. If you have no doubts in this – consult your veterinarian and make sure to give one drop for a kitten with a syringe. Do not forget that kittens are too small and the whole treatment process may be rather challenging. There is also a vitamin course consisting mostly of vitamin A and glucose and mixture of other vitamins which is called Nutri-drops. They are of great help if kitten refuses to take the supplemental nutrition.

TAURINE

There is another way described and utilized successfully by British breeders. It was observed while regular supplementing of kittens’ mothers with 500 mg of Taurine in order to prevent kittens from being affected. But one mother was not supplemented because it had never had FCK kittens before. But once her six-day-old kitten began to go flat and she was given a dosage of 1000 mg Taurine a day. The result was not slow to arrive and in the course of two days the kitten started recovering and after five days of Taurine treatment it felt absolutely perfectly. After all, the kitten was first in litter to eat solid food and felt as if he had never heard of being flat before. It should be added that mothers accept powdered Taurine in gelatin capsules better than a tablet because it is put altogether with the soft food and they simply do not notice it.

So, Taurine along with the treatment course of liquid paraffin, steroid and antibiotic contributed to kittens’ recovery very fast.

Nevertheless the problem of re-inflating of kitten lungs after collapse still exists.

MASSAGE

To return the thorax into the appropriate position you should squeeze the sides of a kitten. But NO WAY try to round the ribcage by forcing it. It may result in a fatal outcome for a kitten. DO NOT press on it continuously, but step up pressure on exhalation when it takes its natural position and apply less pressure on inhale when a kitten’s flattening is maximal. By this you will not hinder a kitten from breathing in. Massage procedure demands your kitten to stay tranquil and relaxed, since the hyperactivity may cause the most extreme ribcage position. Fortunately the majority of kittens like this treatment session - just keep track of kitten’s reaction on what you are doing. This will help you to choose the right pressure mode. The most proper time for this procedure is feeding, when a kitten is calm and less stressed. Furthermore kittens tend to fall asleep while sucking and receive less nutrition. When you massage a kitten it is awake and is able to suck more milk, providing for itself more energy, which is vitally important for FCK kittens.


There are several massage types.

1. Put your fingers and thumb on each side of a kitten’s body and apply pressure on the ridge on both sides. DO NOT press on it continuously, but step up pressure on exhalation when it takes its natural position and apply less pressure on inhale when a kitten’s flattening is maximal. Many kittens seem to like this procedure but there are some of them who try to struggle it and cry. For this reason let us consider the second variant.

2. Put your fingers and thumb on each side of a kitten’s body and rub gently the ribcage from the spine down in a downward position, pressing inwardly to the angle created by the flattening ribs. And again you should make it while inhaling and exhaling movements of the ribcage. .

Execute the massage within the course of feeding and do it as long and frequently as possible in order to help a kitten promptly. You may notice at once after massage that the chest looks more naturally, whereas between the massages it may get flattened again. Nevertheless there exists an opinion that food supplement and medical treatment are more efficient than massage. As when a kitten starts crying for food and mother’s milk its ribcage is more flattened than when it is relaxed or fed. Thus when the lunges are heavily stressed they appear to flat at once. But in case a kitten puts in weight gradually – this is definitely a good omen. Do not let the losing weight happen, which may be caused by colicky pain. Make sure to hold a kitten in the upright position, pat it smoothly and dose with one or two drops of liquid paraffin per day.

It is highly important to prevent the underside of kitten’s ribcage from collapsing inwards, which will make the pressure on the sides force the center of the chest cave in rather than pull it out.

GAS OR OXYGEN TENT IS NO WAY CAN BE APPLED TO REPLACE THE DEFICIENT OXYGEN FOR KITTENS.

Nitrogen is vitally important for the inflation state of alveoli, where the exchange of oxygen is performed. In case much quantity of nitrogen in the lungs is substituted by oxygen, the latter may afterwards be absorbed into the blood causing a collapse of alveoli which is called absorption atelectasis. Thus gas or oxygen tent will definitely aggravate the compression atelectasis (lung collapse).

SPLINTING

CAUTION! Read the following information and take special notice of the warnings concerning splinting.

The splinting was first successfully applied in 2004 in the cases with FCK kittens, resulting in a positive air-pressure cure. The carton toilet roll was cut and twined tight around a kitten’s body and tied in place in order to press the ribcage sides and push back the flattening underside outward. Thus even while sleeping the kitten couldn’t exacerbate the situation and do itself any harm. It is quite certain that correct pressing on the sides of the ribcage provides an instant relief for the kitten with breathing difficulties. But the causes of this disease are still unknown.

YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT SPLINTING IS APPROPRIATE ONLY FOR VERY FEW FCK CAUSES

1)An inappropriate case for kitten’s splinting is when it makes a kitten feel uneasy to breathe or it is distressed so much that makes the whole situation worse. There are cases when a kitten stays calm in splint when it is resting, but can’t stand it during its activities. The suitable alternative for such kitten is massage.

2) In order to uncover if this is exactly your case for splinting you need to put your kitten on its side, when it eats or sleeps. The breathing may have changed from suppressed or easier one and you will understand this. Observe carefully under the ribcage at the soft tissues whether it pulls in under the pressure more than without the applied pressure. If yes – do not splint your kitten. The alternative variant is massage.


3) In case a ribcage begins to push inside or the breastbone is going already in – the force of pressure will cause the breastbone inside rather than outside. This will lead to kitten’s death. So, VERIFY that nothing prevents the breastbone from going outwards when the ribcage is in compression. Press on the sides with your fingers in order to examine what will happen before applying a splint. It will conceal the breastbone and you won’t see what is going on inside.

4) The properly applied splinting is able to save kittens’ lives, but pay much attention that there may be quite another cause of disease like pneumonia, or poor heart-vascular or lung development. So even if the splinting returns the natural position of the ribcage a kitten may still die.

When you are positive about the importance of splinting – here are the important tips:

  • Put the corset/splinting very loosely on your kitten and try to make it rest on one of its sides. It will make effect even without the sides’ pressing.
  • Never hesitate to ask some advice of your veterinary physician concerning splinting, breastbone condition and everything that matters.
  • You should be maximally enduring, tender and accurate to tighten the corset gradually in several steps (it may take hours or even days) otherwise you hurt your kitten or even break its ribs.
  • It is much easier to apply splint on bigger kittens. But if you procrastinate with massage procedures or splinting the ribcage gets used to the incorrect shape and responds to treatment harder. The younger kittens are more successful with physical therapy and produce results faster.
  • Some kittens are enough to wear corset for a week, the older ones need much more time for recovery. Be prepared for the case when a kitten shows good results and after removing the corset its chest may flatten again. Hence you may remove the splint in order to check the chest and make a massage of the ribcage. Leave it where it is in case it is difficult to get it on/off in the proper position.

The problem of splinting lies in the fact that a kitten wears corset well when it lies, sleeps or reposes, but when it comes to deeper breath, the splinting will limit the ribcage, resulting in choking fit and a kitten feels alarm. But it turns out to press even harder when a kitten cries and tries to break free.

Make sure to stay with a kitten all the time when it wears corset. Never leave it alone! Along with the splinting you have to massage a kitten and be with it during the corset wearing period. The older kittens bear with the corset much easier and wear it obediently all day.

The splinting is very helpful in preventing a kitten from pressing with its weight the flat lower part of the ribcage. Thus the flat position becomes stable and doesn’t let the breast round out by itself. A cylindrical corset allows a kitten to lie on its habitual position - on its tummy avoiding additional pressure in the flat thorax. Nevertheless the loosely attached corset will often slip. So, there were invented many methods of keeping this corset attached, but first of all it must not impede from seeking his mother for milk and habitual movements. Finding food is of vital importance for kittens especially with FCKS for correct nourishing.

It is better to make a kitten lie on its side during its nap or meal, as usual it does not object to this. The gravity does its part even better than you do it by pressing. Kittens still sometimes don’t accept lying on their sides. And the experience has shown that these kittens sleep on their sides better when another kitten is put onto them, but only in LATERAL POSITION and under your supervision.

Summing up the information about splinting

Sometimes kittens are dispirited greatly because of the corset which leads to an opposite result of treatment. You should weigh all pros and cons well in order to decide whether you should apply a splint, whether the corset squeezes the breast too heavily or not, or whether your kitten is distressed by it, so that it wastes all its forces to break free, or not. In this case the regular massage will be very important and helpful. It should be performed as often as possible while a kitten sucks or sleeps. If a kitten doesn’t like your massage when feeding – do not enforce it.

IT IS INTERESTING

There was a cause of FCK kitten beginning to suffocate while feeding. All the time it was quite normal (although as usual FCK stay flat). This was quite a peculiar phenomenon. The kitten was put on its side between its meals and the shape of the ribcage returned to normal. Then it was fed while lying with successful results. That is why many affected kittens recover better and sooner if they are hand-fed. Thus it may be stated that several forms of FCKS, but not all of them may be aggravated by sucking.

Another approach

Some veterinarian physicians advise of putting a kitten far from its mother and make it cry in order to develop its muscles to help the ribcage acquire its proper shape. But we consider this approach to be unsustainable because the FCKS has nothing to do with a ribcage, but with lung collapse or poorly developing diaphragm. A kitten’s distress of such treatment will only harm it. To recover a kitten must receive energy and support via an adequate nutrition and constant care.

SUMMARIZING THE THERAPY REGIMEN

1. After the diagnosis is made begin IMMEDIATELY the course of steroid (Dexamethasone) and antibiotic (Amoxycillin) by injection.

2. IMMEDIATELY after the diagnosis is made start massaging in order to put the ribcage back to the right position. Check with your doctor in case you are not sure if the ribcage goes inwards or not. DO NOT apply constant pressure, but press gradually adjusting to kitten’s breath.

3. In case a kitten stops gaining in weight – utilize supplemental nutrition. Make sure to give tiny portions of liquid paraffin 1-2 times a day in order to prevent colicky pain.

4. The antibiotics course should last at least 1 week or better – for 10 days until a kitten recovers.

5. Provide massage as often/long as possible and apply splinting until the ribcage shape is normally positioned.

6. Try to stimulate a kitten to feed and sleep lying on its side.

In case you do not want or cannot pay much time and attention to your kitten please, give it to those who are able to do that. It is horrible when a tiny life is taken just because of neglect and indifference. This is we who make choice for the kittens to breed and this is our line of responsibility to be there to support and treat them when they need this.  


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