3 swimmers disease kittens

A few days ago I shared a reel about my 3 swimmers disease kittens. Here is their story.

3 kittens recover from swimmers disease

Swimmers disease isn’t that common but I have seen it more than I would like. It is incredibly uncommon and unlucky to have a litter and 3 of them have this disease!

It’s very sad as historically many owners may have not known we can rehabillite them and would have them euthanased.

Thankfully there is now more awareness

That said, it is a disease that varies in severity and you do need to have dedication and time. You also need to keep mental and physical development in mind as well as by the end of the rehabilitation you still need to have a happy functioning juvenile that can cope with life, not be anxious and still love people. 

For some of these the swimmers can be so severe that the chest shape is affected. The limbs are too weak to hold their weight and so the patient will look like a star fish.

For these 3 kittens, it was only the hind effected. 2 were not too bad but the 3rd was so severe in the hind that the limbs were twisted so that the paws pointed backwards and the knees were very straight.

We had to work a plan to encourage normal limb use and engage the muscle correctly to encourage correct movement. In turn this encouraged a normal walk pattern. This restored the ability to do normal activity and for them, this meant climbing.

Thankfully we also had some normal kittens as siblings so we had great developmental checks so we could compare and make sure we were not expecting movement that they were not yet developmentally capable of.

For these patients hobbles are often used. I prefer to use other methods if at all possible as it can be distressing for them to have their legs tied together. I am thrilled that they responded wonderfully to the manual exercises and the runway. I even fashioned a tiny theraband from an elastic band to add some level of resistance training. The kitten had to be desensited to this before she would tolerate it.

This mum and dad were so dedicated, I couldn’t be more proud of them! Dad even went home and made the runway for the and edited it as they grew!

A huge well done to the kittens, you were so strong!

I also want to do a shout out to all the amazing pay it forward doners! You helped these guys too! 1 was  funded by the family, 1 was funded by the pay it forward scheme and 1…..Well…..I just “forgot” to charge for. They all needed help and the poor parents had not anticipated 3 kittens in need.

If you would like to add to our pay it forward scheme, you can do so here! Any amount really helps as it all goes on the wall and waits for the next patient in need.

How it works is that the new patient will get the initial consult paid for, I throw in a follow up, so they will  get 2 sessions to set them up. If you want to know more please contact us!


Kitten 1, 2 and 3!


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