Kittens lack a working immune system when they are born. A new born kitten is unguarded against infections. When a kitten initially nurses, she gets antibodies from the colostrum in the mother’s milk. The antibodies swiftly pass into the kittens bloodstream and circulate around its body. Kittens have a limited period for absorbing the antibodies. The window is a few hours long, so nursing soon is important. When it closes, the antibodies are digested, not absorbed.
The mother’s antibodies are diminished as weeks pass, and the kittens immune systems starts working. An eight week old kitten can handle vaccinations. Kittens need boosters at three to four week intervals, until they are sixteen weeks old. The boosters cause the kitten’s immune system to generate enough antibodies for protection against infections.
Feline Leukemia is the main scourge of kittens A kitten usually doesn’t live even a few weeks, after she contracts this disease. A knew kitten should be tested when eight weeks old. It should not be around your other cats before it is proven it doesn’t have feline leukemia.
Kittens should be tested for feline immune deficiency when six months old. Before this age the testing is unreliable. This disease weakens the kittens immune system making her prey for many infections. If she tests positive, over time this disease destroys her immune system.
The usual worms found in kittens are: hookworms, roundworms, and coccidia. Coccidia are parasites that cause diarrhea. Take a fecal sample to the veterinarian’s office, when you take your kitten for the initial visit. They can rob a kitten of its essential nutrients it needs to grow.
If your kitten gets fleas and is younger than six weeks old be extra careful treating it. You might ask your veterinarian for the best method of treating kittens for fleas. Make sure the treatment you use is safe for kittens.
Ear mites can cause your kitten’s eardrum to rupture, if the ear is very infested it can inflame the inner ear. The signs of ear mites are: brown stuff in ears and excessive ear scratching. Ear mite medicine can be purchased in many stores.
Kittens pick up ring worm from other infected felines by living at pet stores and shelters in close quarters with them. A kitten is more likely to get ringworm, if it is already sick and taking medicine that depresses its immune system. Stress and insufficient nutrition also contribute to catch ringworm. It is treated with shampoos, topical ointments, and oral medication.
Sometimes people wonder if a dry nose means their kitten is sick. No it doesn’t. Her nose could be dry because she licked it because saliva will dry fast on her nose. Some other reasons are she was lying by a heater or in the sun and not enough air circulating in a room. Nevertheless if she has a flaky nose, she could have a dermatological issue. If it don’t look right, bring your kitten into the vet.