Feline Infectious Peritonitis
Problem: Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease caused by certain strains of the feline coronavirus. Infected cats usually show no symptoms in the initial stages of coronavirus infection, and the virus only progresses into clinical FIP in a small number of infected cats – five to ten percent – and only when there is a mutation of the virus or an abnormality in the immune response. Cats with FIP will usually develop and show symptoms suddenly and the symptoms can progress rapidly, resulting in death. FIP is not highly contagious and is transmitted through saliva and feces during acute infection.
FIP is more common in indoor cats in multiple cat homes. Outdoor cats usually bury their feces while indoor cats share litter boxes, increasing the risk of infection. FIP is most common in younger cats but can be seen in cats of any age. It is believed that cats with weaker immune systems are more prone to the disease.
- Wet form: Cats will have an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, the chest cavity or both. In addition to the symptoms for both forms, cats with the wet form can show labored breathing and abdominal distension.
- Dry form: Cats will have small accumulations of inflammatory cells form in various organs. Symptoms of the dry form depend on which organs are affected by the inflammatory cells. For example, a cat with affected kidneys will show excessive thirst and urination.
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Rough textured fur
Treatments: There is no cure for FIP and it is fatal to cats. Treatment therefore involves alleviating the symptoms of the disease.
Treatment options include:
- Draining excessive fluid build-up
- High quality nutrition
- Corticosteroids, cytotoxic drugs and antibiotics
- Blood transfusions
- Fluid therapy
Fosters or cat owners with multiple cats should efficiently clean their homes to reduce the chance of infection to others. Litter boxes, bowls and scratching posts should be cleaned with hot soap and water and then rinsed with a 1:32 dilution of bleach with water. The house should be thoroughly vacuumed as well. Objects such as blankets and cat beds should be thrown away.
Cat FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) Retrieved from https://pets.webmd.com/cats/cat-fip-feline-infectious-peritonitis#1
Feline Infectious Peritonitis. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/brochure_ftp.cfm
Frequently Asked Questions About FIP. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.stopfip.org/faq.html#othercats
McLeod, L. (April 4, 2017). Feline Infectious Peritonitis in Cats. Retrieved from https://www.thespruce.com/feline-infectious-peritonitis-in-cats-3384880