Once Keva began labor one of us was always in the birthing room with her for 24 hours. Our 20th hour kitten was born more then five hours after the first three kittens. Normal spacing between kitten delivery is usually no longer then two hours. The first three were born in 30 minutes, roughly 15 minutes apart. After the third kitten was born I sat on the floor at the front of the birthing box and watched Keva closely for two and a half hours. She had no more contractions. From 6 o'clock on we checked her every 30 minutes. Still no signs. At 8 pm we went to hourly checks. One of us was always in the room. Keva was quite and resting with the kittens. Kitten four was found just before 9 pm when Keva became distressed and left the nest. There was no sack or placenta and the kitten had not been cleaned. It was cold and not alive.
Our lack of knowledge of the placenta has caused me intense worry. I am very particular about keeping track and making sure placentas are expelled. Even when we know one is retained the results can be tragic. We knew we had a retained placenta in one of Maeve's past litters. She had Hysterotomy surgery to remove it. The antibiotic she was on did not deal with the resulting infection and we lost two kittens at 4 days old when Maeve became septic and passed the bacteria thru her milk. It was a terrible experience that I never want to repeat.
I put a call into my vet, Dr. Williams, at The Cat Hospital of Auburn only to learn she is no long practicing there. I was there three weeks ago for a well visit with Kian. Dr. William's had told me to pick up pitocin before my next litter so I would have it on hand. The doctor I saw said no to supplying the pitocin. None of the employees said anything about Dr. Williams leaving when I asked specially about her.
I have been taking Keva's temperature to monitor her. 24 hours after the birth temperature was 102. This is a normal temp for a new feline mom. This morning (day 2) when I checked her temp again it registered 103 so I decided to take her (and her kittens) to the Tuft's Foster Hospital for small animals. An emergency care hospital. I wanted to see if they could do an ultrasound to confirm if the placenta was retained or not. Everyone there was very nice. They saw us right away. After discussing the history and examining Keva, the doctor recommended that I continue to observe her closely. He felt that Keva most likely ate the placenta. I asked about doing an ultrasound. Their opinion was that it is much to difficult to distinguish placental tissue from the uterus in an ultrasound.
I accept full responsibility for the death of kitten four. I think what happened with kitten four was that when Keva delivered it she concentrated too much on eating the placenta and did not lick the kitten to stimulate it to breath and get its blood flowing. She had showed this same new mom behavior with the first three kittens. I had to help her with cleaning the kittens faces and wiping and warming them. I was not expecting Keva to deliver the day she did. She ate a full breakfast Tuesday the 12th and I had calculated the 15th as the 65th day. Although we were totally prepared with a quiet and calm queening room I was caught off guard on a very busy day. A week with awards ceremonies, finals / school ending , a wedding and fathers day. Keva may have sensed my stress which added to her stress as a new mom. I had not anticipated her stopping her labor and waiting until she felt less stress. Stressed queens can stop and hold off labor for up to 24 hours.
I have read many negative opinions in the local newspaper about the cost of Tufts animal ER services and some claims of unnecessary tests to increase bills. On their phone recording it states the minimum charge for an ER visit is $150.00 I was a little concerned but willing to pay the fees. They had every opportunity to do tests. I wanted an emergency ultrasound to look for the placenta. Any other test recommended I would have approved. When my visit with them ended the doctor told me to feel free to call him at anytime if I had any questions and there was no charge for my visit. I would not hesitate to take my cats to them in an emergency.
The possibility of a preventable loss of a kitten breaks my heart. I will learn from this and do my best to never let it happen again.
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