A kitten is a child who grows up, and various diseases can develop during this process. Rickets in kittens is a growth disorder. Among the inhabitants there is an opinion that this disease is from a lack of sunlight. In fact, rickets develops against a background of impaired metabolism and a deficiency of vital vitamins and minerals.
If for some reason the growing body lacks vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, malformations of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems occur. Due to the lack of trace elements, the kitten’s skeleton does not develop properly, he has a rickety physique, and the pet is lagging behind its peers in development.
It is important to identify this disease as soon as possible, since the consequences of rickets can be irreversible. The disease detected at an early stage is treatable.
Causes of Rickets in Cats
The disease is of two types: congenital and acquired. Congenital (primary) rickets is provoked by an insufficiently balanced diet of a pregnant cat - the mother of kittens.
Read more about the nutrition of a pregnant cat.
Acquired (secondary) rickets appears in kittens, which are poorly looked after in the first months of life. Also, this pathology can develop as a complication after other chronic diseases: viral and bacterial infections, diseases of the digestive tract, thyroid gland, kidneys or liver.
In a dry medical language, the main causes of rickets are congenital (endogenous) vitamin D deficiency, insufficient exogenous (due to external causes) synthesis and imbalance of phosphorus, calcium and other micro and macro elements that are necessary for building a kitten's bone tissue.
Factors provoking congenital rickets in newborn kittens:
- Kittens appeared as a result of early mating or mating of sick cats: depleted, obese, or with the presence of genetic pathologies.
- The lack of taurine in the body of a pregnant cat leads to a violation of the formation of the skeleton of the fetus.
- If the diet of a pregnant cat is insufficient in protein, this leads to intrauterine pathologies of the fetus.
- Mating from related crosses provokes rickets.
- Too frequent breeding cats exhaust the body of the animal - this affects the quality of the offspring.
- Lack of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins A, D, E, C in the diet of a pregnant cat.
Reasons causing acquired rickets in a kitten:
- Improper care of the growing offspring: lack of sunlight and fresh air, excessive or insufficient humidity.
- Feeding kittens with low-quality substitutes for cat's milk can provoke metabolic disorders, reduce immunity and lead to an ailment.
- Premature separation from mother. Early conversion to solid food.
- Poorly balanced diet during the transition to adult food. Lack of vitamin-mineral complexes containing vitamin D.
- Gastrointestinal diseases that interfere with the absorption of nutrients, diseases of the endocrine system, chronic kidney disease, viral and bacterial infections.
Important: excess calcium and phosphorus also leads to rickets. Give cats and kittens vitamin and mineral supplements only as directed by the veterinarian and strictly adhere to the recommended dosages.
Read in detail about how to choose vitamins for kittens.
The first symptoms of rickets appear in kittens at an early age, during the period of active development of the skeleton and internal organs. Let's talk about what the kitten owner should pay attention to in time to identify the disease and begin its treatment:
- the kitten lags in growth and development from its counterparts;
- the kitten is unsociable, inactive, with poor conditioned reactions, prefers peace;
- sagging back of the animal and too big belly;
- visually noticeable curvature of the spine and crooked hind legs;
- lameness or insecure gait;
- slow tooth change;
- enlarged joints;
- flat ribs.
Often, a rickety kitten develops diarrhea, cramps, shortness of breath, coughing and digestive upset - these are indirect symptoms that indicate a disease. If direct or indirect symptoms appear, it is urgent to show the kitten to a veterinarian - it is important not to start the disease. With delayed treatment, a fatal outcome is possible.
Despite the vivid symptoms, the disease is not put on the eye. The veterinarian analyzes the conditions of the sick animal, the method and quality of nutrition, the conditions for the development of the fetus. To make a final diagnosis, the following studies are required:
- Blood chemistry. To detect calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D.
- Biochemical examination of the urine of a kitten.
- X-ray of the spine and tubular bones.
- Histology of bone tissue.
During the diagnosis of rickets, the doctor should rule out pathologies with similar symptoms: false rickets, articular rheumatism, thyroid dysfunction, and osteomalacia.
We have already answered the question: is rickets cured?
Curedif you diagnose it in time, but the treatment should be comprehensive and lengthy.
How to treat rickets:
- In the hospital:
- intravenous administration of drugs to correct the vitamin-mineral balance;
- ultraviolet irradiation with quartz lamps;
- according to indications: enzymes, cardiac drugs.
- At home:
- vitamin D is prescribed: fish oil, Ergocalciferol solutions (vitamin D);
- intramuscular injection of the drug "Tetravit", which includes ascorbic acid, vitamins F, E, D3;
- sun baths;
- increased motor activity of the kitten.
The success of treatment depends on strict adherence to all veterinarian appointments.
Nutrition for rickets
Particular attention should be paid to the diet of a sick kitten. Its menu should contain foods rich in vitamin D:
- beef liver;
- cottage cheese;
- egg yolks;
- sour cream;
- sea fish: mackerel, chum salmon, herring, salmon, sardines, tuna.
Babies who have undergone rickets in the first months of their life will need regular maintenance therapy and a special diet in the future. To monitor the state of their development, it is necessary to donate blood for biochemistry annually.
What to do to protect your pets from such an insidious disease as rickets:
- Responsibly approach reproduction. Competently select partners for the cat: do not allow the mating of sick individuals and relatives. Limit the number of pregnancies of a cat - no more than twice in three years.
- Organize enhanced balanced nutrition of a pregnant cat with high-quality feed.
- More often walking the cat "in position" in the daytime.
- Observe the hygienic rules of growing kittens: maintain the necessary temperature and humidity in the room, arrange regular ventilation. The normal temperature for keeping newborns is 31 ° C, later on it gradually decreases by 4 ° C. Humidity - 55-65%.
- Provide young animals with sufficient sun exposure.
- "Artists" feed only with special high-quality mixes for kittens.
- Wean kittens from breast milk only at the age of 2.5 months.
- Carry out timely deworming and vaccination.
- According to the prescription of the veterinarian, give vitamin-mineral complexes with trace elements involved in the formation of the bone apparatus.
- Provide kittens with sufficient motor activity. Letting them play with mom and other kittens. Play more with them.
Choose the best toys for kittens to play more.
Remember that rickets (hypovitaminosis D) is often the result of insufficient attention to furry pets. This disease does not forgive human carelessness and negligence. If left unattended, it progresses rapidly and can lead to sad irreversible consequences.