Paediatric medicine and surgery in kittens and puppies is a subspecialty of veterinary medicine. In Qatar there are many kittens and puppies, either abandoned by their mothers, or with mothers that are too weak or sick to look after their young. Often mothers are so desperate to find food for themselves, such that their bodies can produce adequate milk, they take risks that result in serious injury or death. This leaves many litters of kittens and puppies without a family. We as human surrogates are the only hope for these fragile babies.
There are also times when the mother realizes the babies are unwell. In these cases they are often abandoned, and despite our human efforts they do not survive. People often spend a lot of time and effort and feel they have failed. It is not their fault, as the kitten or puppy was very lucky to have someone to keep them warm and safe, even for a few hours or days.
Taking on a healthy litter of newborns is a huge commitment. Owners are often frustrated that clinics do not take over the responsibility. The difficulty is trying to find ways to have staff be up all night bottle feeding and caring for the puppies or kittens, and still being able to go to work and do a top notch job of looking after client pets all day. The smallest kittens and puppies will need to be bottle fed and stimulated to urinate and defecate every 2 hours (24 hours a day). This is a full time undertaking for a litter or three or more. We do our best to find foster moms who have the time or share the care with other family members and friends. Some of these little ones can be very sick. Some are exposed to viruses through the placenta even before they were born, others contract a virus or bacterial or parasitic infection in the mothers milk. Multiple infections are common, and most little ones carry roundworms which are zoonotic. Eye infections, ear mites, ringworm, parasites, nutritional deficiencies, wounds, viruses and bacterial infections are all very common.
It is best for kittens and puppies to see the veterinarian for an exam if their background is of concern. We can help guide you with the home care and any medical concerns that are apparent. The kittens and puppies who are so cared for by their surrogate mom and dad usually go on to becoming more bonded than pets who are adopted at a later age. They are very comfortable with human contact and integrate permanently into our families.
Please call us if you have found a litter, or a lone puppy or kitten and have questions. Our veterinarians are happy to help assess them and suggest the proper kitten or puppy milk, and feeding program to get them off to a better start. Human milk or that from another species can make young puppies and kittens, very sick. It is best to get them on the correct diet as soon as possible.
If you have found a tiny kitten or puppy that needs medical or surgical care, our veterinarians have done ongoing advanced training in this area. Not only are there differences in the medical and surgical treatment of these pets, but the anesthesia for them takes tremendous care and expertise.
We at CVH applaud all those who care so much and help the paediatric pets of Doha. We look forward to meeting you soon!