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Feline FIP

"Feline fip is a type of coronavirus. As your cat's body fights the virus it triggers feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) in a small percentage of cats. Since there is no cure, treatment focuses on keeping your cat comfortable such as making sure she eats and is drinking properly. The severity of symptoms depends on the strength of your cat's immune system. The disease is fatal in all cats with the possible exception of a new treatment in Europe using interferon which helped 25% of those cats studied."

Feline FIP (also known as feline infectious peritonitis) is caused by a feline coronavirus (FCoV). A coronavirus is usually caught from another cat which is a carrier. The coronavirus itself usually shows no symptoms or if she has symptoms they are minor such as:

Cat's that are most at risk live in multi cat households. This is because the virus spreads through shedding in the feces. For example, if both cats share a litter box, feces from one can come in contact with the other.

Cat FIP Symptoms

There are two types of fip in cats which are referred to as "dry" and "wet".

"Dry" Cat FIP Symptoms (noneffusive) include:

This type of FIP occurs when the immune system is only moderately not working. These symptoms will develop slowly since the body has some ability to fight disease.

Cat FIP Symptoms seen in 15% of cats:

"Wet" Cat FIP Symptoms (effusive)

Symptoms of this type of FIP are due to the blood vessels becoming damaged. This damage causes fluid to leak into the chest. Symptoms include:

Diagnosis of Feline FIP

It is difficult to diagnose FIP because there is no one test for the condition. It is usually diagnosed based on multiple tests. Usually the first test administered is for Feline Coronavirus (FCoV). Your veterinarian will also look at the functioning of key organs and a new test which can measure part of the FIP virus.

Treatment of Feline FIP

There is no cure for FIP. Treatment focuses on keeping your cat comfortable and alive by treating the symptoms. This can extend your cat's life by several months if she has the "dry" form of the disease. Cats with the "wet" form usually live for days or weeks.

It is common to prescribe antibiotics in case any infections develop due to a weak immune system. Your veterinarian will make sure that your cat does not become dehydrated and continues eating. If eye problems are a symptom then those will be treated as well.

If your cat passes away from FIP wait at least a month before bringing another cat into the house since the virus can live on surfaces for weeks. If you have another cat in the house be sure to clean every surface with something strong like bleach (4 ounces to the gallon of water).

Medicine for FIP in Cats

Scientists are constantly researching the impact of new approaches on FIP. While a cure hasn't been identified, work continues. Here are the results of several approaches:

Medicine For Treating FIP In Cats

Treatment

Results

Immunosuppressive drugs (anti-inflammatory) such as prednisone and cyclophosphamide (chemotherapy drug) for 2 to 4 weeks

Could potentially slow down the disease

Thromboxane Synthetase Inhibitor (ozagrel hydrochloride)

Improvement in some symptoms

Human interferon-α, IFN-α

Survival time increased several days

Feline interferon-ω

In a Japanese study that was not a small number of cats, a 2-year survival time was described in cats treated with feline interferon-ω in combination with glucocorticoids. When the study was repeated in a controlled environment (more rigorous), cats achieved a survival rate of 3 to 200 days. It appears that only a few cats will respond positively to this treatment, if at all.

In Europe, feline interferon omega (Virbagen
Omega®) has been introduced which has effected a cure in around 25% of cats and remission in others.

Vitamins and Antixodants

According to catvirus.com there are several vitamins and antioxidants that can work as supportive therapies for cats with FIP. Consult with your veterinarian on the correct dose for your cat.

Vitamins and Antioxidants For Feline FIP

Vitamin/Antioxidant

Dosage

Vitamin A

Use a dose of 200 i.u./day given by mouth or in the food. It is usually given as part of fish (halibut) oil. Limit use to 4 to 6 weeks.

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

100 ug/day given by mouth or food.

Vitamin B complex

This vitamin helps the appetite.

Vitamin C

Give 125 mg twice daily given by mouth or in food. Do not use over a long period of time.

Vitamin E

Provide 25-75 i.u./cat twice daily by mouth or in food.

References for Feline FIP:

Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine

Feline Infectious Peritonitis - News in Diagnosis and Treatment
K. Hartmann
Medizinische Kleintierklinik, Ludwig Maximilians University
Munich, Germany

 

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