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Health Information:

Sick Puppy/Kitty
The first indication that a puppy/kitty may be sick is if he has vomiting or diarrhea or is not interested in eating or playing. A puppy or kitten can get dehydrated very quickly so it is important to act right away if he is vomiting or having diarrhea. If you try some of the tips listed below to get him to eat or drink and he isn't interested, call the shelter director. The normal temperature for a puppy is under 102 degrees. It is 100.5 - 102.5 for a kitten. Check his temperature by using a standard or flexible baby thermometer. Lubricate it with Vaseline and insert into the rectum. It may be easier to have someone help hold the puppy/kitty still. Never give a dog/puppy/cat/kitty aspirin without consulting a veterinarian. It can be harmful if not administered properly. If your puppy is not interested in eating or drinking you can try the following tips:
  • Give him Pedialyte to drink (Gatorade will work, too). This can be diluted 50% with water.
  • Moisten dry food with baby food, warm broth, a little canned food or canned pumpkin.
  • Try feeding moist food.
  • Try cooked egg whites
  • Nutri-Cal (in a tube) can be given in more serious cases or if the puppy has not eaten in over a day.

Going Potty

Look at the stools when your puppy or kitty goes potty. Watch for signs of blood in the stools or diarrhea or worms. Although many worms can be detected only with a microscope, the presence of two types of worms may be determined by the naked eye. Roundworms resemble spaghetti strands. They may be found in vomited material or in the stool. Tapeworm egg packets look like rice grains and may be attached to the surface of the stool or to the hair near the anus or tail. Report any problems to the shelter director. You may be asked to bring a stool sample to be checked and get some medication.


The first thing to know is that when the brand/type of food is changed, it may mess up their system. Give your foster a few days to get used to the food you are using. Also, some foods use red dye. If your foster's stool looks reddish, try changing the food.

Another cause of diarrhea is coccidia. If you bring a fecal sample to the vet, they can see if there is coccidia.

Worms are another cause of diarrhea. The foster may need to be wormed or may be due for their second worming. Worms can be detected with a fecal sample that you may bring to the vet. Panacur is used for worming. The dosage is 1cc per 5 pounds once each day for 3 days. This is repeated in 2 weeks.

If there is no coccidia and the food is not the issue, talk to the shelter director about what to do next. Sometimes, a vet visit is needed to find the reason for the diarrhea.

Ear Mites

Black, foul-smelling debris can indicate the presence of an infection or mites. Repeated head shaking, scratching of the ears, or rubbing of the ears are additional signs of ear problems that may warrant a possible visit to the vet. Call the shelter director for instructions.

Kennel Cough

Your puppy should have received his bordatella vaccination prior to coming into your home. If the foster has a cough, you will probably notice it during the first day or two. Report it to the Shelter Director or Foster Coordinator. Kennel cough is usually not life threatening. Vaccination is not 100% preventative. If you think your foster has kennel cough, isolate him from your other pets because it is highly contagious.

Itchy Skin & Hair Loss

You can minimize the puppy/kitty's discomfort by bathing with an anti-itch shampoo, like oatmeal shampoo. Some causes of itchy skin and/or hair loss are fleas, ringworm, and mites. Your foster will have Frontline on him before you bring him home, however it may take a little time to kill all the fleas. Ringworm is a fungal infection which is diagnosed through a fungal culture and treated with fungal shampoo, among other remedies. Mites are identified by examining a skin scrape with a microscope. Check with the shelter director if you think the itching is severe. Both ringworm and mites are contagious to people, so wash thoroughly after handling.

Upper Respiratory

Kittens are prone to upper respiratory infections. If not treated, it can get serious. Symptoms include sneezing, runny/stuffy nose, and runny eyes. It is very contagious, so it's a important to separate a kitty at the first sign of sneezing or other symptoms. Contact the shelter director for instructions.


  • Panacur (wormer) - 1 cc per 5 pounds once a day for three days. Repeat in 2 weeks.
  • Benadryl - safe to use if the puppy is itching badly. The dosage is 3cc for a 7 lb puppy liquid or ΒΌ of a 25mg pill every 12 hours.
Even though to your knowledge your foster puppy or ki tty has been perfectly healthy, it is still recommended that in between fostering, all of the crates, pens, bedding, towels, and toys be bleached. To bleach the crates, pens, and floor, mix 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Use a sprayer to spray, then let sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse off. Just add bleach to the wash for towels, bedding, fabric toys, and such.


Monroe County Friends of Animals | P.O. Box 106 | Vonore, TN 37885
(423) 442-1015

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