Fading Kitten Syndrome

Fading kitten syndrome (
FKS) is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that can lead to the death of a newborn kitten. The symptoms can include lethargy, decreased appetite, weakness, hypothermia, and respiratory distress. The exact cause of FKS is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including:

  • Infections, such as feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus, or feline panleukopenia virus
  • Parasites, such as coccidia or roundworms
  • Birth trauma
  • Malnutrition
  • Hypothermia
  • Congenital defects

FKS is most common in kittens that are born prematurely or that are born to mothers that are not healthy. Kittens that are born with congenital defects are also at an increased risk of developing FKS.

The symptoms of FKS can develop rapidly, so it is important to seek veterinary care immediately if you notice any of the following signs in a newborn kitten:

  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weakness
  • Hypothermia
  • Respiratory distress
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures

If your kitten is diagnosed with FKS, the veterinarian will likely recommend a combination of treatments, including:

  • Fluid therapy
  • Antibiotics
  • Antiparasitic medication
  • Nutritional support
  • Warmth
  • Oxygen therapy

The prognosis for kittens with FKS varies depending on the severity of the illness. Some kittens will make a full recovery, while others will not survive.

There are a number of things that you can do to help prevent FKS in your kittens, including:

  • Spaying or neutering your cats
  • Keeping your cats up-to-date on their vaccinations
  • Deworming your cats regularly
  • Providing a clean and safe environment for your cats
  • Getting pregnant cats veterinary care early in their pregnancy

If you are caring for a newborn kitten, it is important to monitor the kitten closely for any signs of illness. If you notice any of the signs of FKS, contact your veterinarian immediately.