Shelter Kitten sick after vaccines and flea bath


I adopted a kitten 4 months old from a shelter. He came home and he was happy and playing around. 2 days later, I decided to give him a bath with "four paws" flea and tick shampoo, as well as providing him with a flea collar.

Saturday he woke up a little sneezy and didn't eat or drink anything until later on that night. Sunday he woke up fine and then by the afternoon he wasn't acting his usual self. He was moving his mouth like "meowing", but nothing was coming out. He was sneezing a lot more, with bubbles coming out of his nose.

Someone suggested I remove the flea collar and I did, and I researched it and found horrible reviews for those collars. I washed his neck with lukewarm water. I will be taking him to the vet tomorrow.

At the shelter they gave him some shots. Could his symptoms be the result of the shots? Or the shampoo? Or the flea collar? I'm really worried.

His gums are pink and he ate today and drank water, but he's still moving his mouth with a silent meow and he’s acting a bit lethargic. I added the humidifier, I'm keeping his nose moist, and I'm keeping fresh water by his side. He's blinking his eyes super slow and just wants to lie down. I put my ear on his belly and heard maybe a bit of congestion going on.

Please Help!

T- Rex's Mom

Dear T-Rex’s Mom,

The cat illness symptoms you describe are serious and could be a reaction to any of the things you have mentioned or, quite likely, all of them in combination. Your kitten was in a shelter and exposed to cat viruses and, on top of that, he received cat vaccines which cause lethargy and inappetence. Then your kitten received possible toxic flea treatments.

The combination of these things can be deadly. If you haven’t done so already, please take him to a veterinarian immediately. He could be suffering from a cat upper respiratory infection coupled with a vaccine reaction AND a toxic reaction to the cat flea products.

In the future, avoid cat flea and tick shampoos, dips, and flea collars. If dander, shedding, and hairballs are the primary concern and the primary reason for bathing a cat, I recommend use of a shampoo product from FURminator made specifically for cats. They offer both a standard shampoo and a waterless spray. And their deshedding tool removes loose hair and therefore greatly decreases shedding and hairballs. For flea and tick preventatives in the future, I would recommend using Frontline or Advantage for cats.

I hope your kitty is seen by a vet right away and recovers and feels better soon.

All the best,
Dr. Neely

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