Worldwide medical and scientific journal for animal health professionals

Issue number 29.1 Other Scientific

Emergency care for kittens

Published 28/02/2019

Written by Guillaume L. Hoareau

Also available in Français , Deutsch , Italiano , Português and Español

Kittens will frequently present as emergencies at first opinion veterinary clinics, and the initial care they receive can make the difference between life and death. Guillaume Hoareau gives some basic pointers as to how such cases should be approached.

Emergency care for kittens

Key Points

Every kitten presenting on an emergency basis should undergo a triage examination, and a clinic should have specific protocols designed to assess every animal that presents as an emergency.


Neonates and kittens have specificities that make their care unique. Nursing or vascular access can be challenging, and such patients also have different normal values on physical examination and laboratory work.


Appropriate dietary intake is key for young patients as they have a high metabolic rate. Sufficient calorie intake is vital to prevent common conditions, especially hypothermia and hypoglycemia in neonates.


Dehydration and shock may result from an imbalance between salt and water intake and losses. Since the baseline fluid requirement is higher for kittens than adult cats, fluid therapy should be adjusted accordingly.


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