Feline Pediatrics - How to Treat the Small and the Sick
Susan Little DVM
Most veterinarians have been presented with kittens that have failed to thrive. These patients are challenging due to their small size, their unfamiliar physiology, and the tendency for their status to deteriorate quickly. The most common general causes of illness and failure to thrive are maternal, gestational, environmental, genetic, and infectious factors. In much of the veterinary literature, the neonatal period is defined as the first 4 weeks of life. However, it is clinically useful to consider defined risk periods: the first 4 days of life (when many problems are related to labor and delivery or the environment); between 21 and 28 days of age (when important changes leading to neurologic and behavioral maturation take place); and weaning (4 to 6 weeks of age).