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Fip In Cats

Nov 4, 2011 · Updated Feb 27, 2014 · ·
  1. Anne

    What is FIP?

    Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is a serious viral disease and is almost always fatal. A specific virus of the Corona group is known to be the direct cause of FIP.

    The exact method of infection is still a mystery. The FIP virus is a mutation of another virus called the feline enteric coronavirus (FECV). The FECV is quite common among cats but usually causes no more than a mild respiratory infection. Only cats that get the FIP mutation will have the fatal FIP.

    The FIP virus attacks the cat's white blood cells and damages the capillary blood vessels throughout the body. Different organs in the body may be involved, causing various physiological phenomena.

    Who's at Risk?

    Why some cats develop FIP and others do not is still unclear. Most affected cats are under the age of five or over the age of eleven and many come from multi-cat households. A major factor identified during the past few years is genetics - it appears that some cats are genetically more susceptible to FIP.

    These findings have caused alarm among breeders because it implies that some lines are more likely to produce FIP sensitive cats. However, due to the spontaneuous enigmatic nature of this disease, sporadic cases of FIP over the years, do not necessarily mean that there is a genetic fault with a cattery's breeding stock.

    Symptoms of FIP

    Since the virus affects the blood vessels and harms different parts of the body, the symptoms may vary between cats. There are two forms of FIP in cats, effusive (wet), and non-effusive (dry). Both are invariably fatal.

    In the effusive or wet form, the damage to the blood vessels causes fluid accumulation in tissues and body spaces, especially in the chest and abdomen. Abdominal swelling and labored breathing are among the signs of wet FIP. Other symptoms include fever, depression, dehydration, anemia, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice.

    The non-effusive or dry form of FIP has similar symptoms, except there is no accumulation of fluids in the abdomen or chest. Surgical exploration often reveals mucus on the surface of internal organs, however.

    Since FIP can be difficult to diagnose, its identification is often based on a combination of several lab tests. In some cases, only a biopsy or surgical exploration can verify if a cat is infected with FIP.

    Treatment of FIP

    Unfortunately, there is no cure for FIP. Life expectancy for cats with FIP is usually a few weeks. Medications can be used to make the cat more comfortable and may help to slightly extend the cat's life.

    Prevention of FIP

    It is hard to tell which cat will develop FIP, and preventive measures can never ensure that a certain cat will not become infected.

    It is important to keep a cat's immune system functioning well. This means to maintain good nutrition and a low-stress environment. In multiple cat households, cats must not get overcrowded, as this increases stress levels as well as potential virus levels in the environment.

    An FIP vaccine is available, but its effectiveness is still under investigation.


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  1. DiWri
    HOLLY WAS A STRAY THAT I HAD ABOUT 4 YEARS. SHE QUICKLY SICKENEED AND VET DIAGNOSED PNEAUMONIA. TEST CAME BACK NEGATIVE BUT SHE DIED THE FOLLOWING MORNING. I ADOPTED A 6MO CAT FROM A SHELTER. AFTER 6 WEEKS HE SICKENED AND WE HAD TO EUTHANIZE. VET DIAGNOSED FIP. COULD MY FIRST CAT HA VE HAD FIP EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS 6+YRS?
  2. julius
    My Julius; whom i found on my doorstep at roughly 3 months old in Abu Dhabi after a long day of work, is dying of FIP. He was there for me every day after work and being an overseas worker far from home (not that i ever had a real home) none-the-less, he made me feel at home wherever I was. 3 months turned into 3 years and two different countries and now my Son is passing. After 1k usd and 30 days in vet hospital he has been back under my care for 9 days now and his belly is distending again and his eyes "lazy" with no energy. He is trying to show me he wants to live i.e., eating, hunting, busts of energy, but i can see his spirit is breaking along with mine. I love you my sweet little Julius and thank you for the time you have given me and for all the trials you helped me through. Please know that i will always do my best for you, until the end.
  3. monet ragdoll
    I lost my Monet to the dry form within two weeks of the diagnosis, two weeks from his second birthday, I was absolutely heartbroken.  I have written more of the story in the posts.  I have also started a Facebook Page "Monet Ragdoll" to try to raise awareness about this awful disease and try to get more research done.  Please check out his page by typing Monet Ragdoll into the search bar and share your story.  It is my hope that if more researchers see all these stories and what the progression was it will help them.
  4. momcatsix
    My prescious Kashmir had the dry form of FIP. It came on so slowly it took me months to realize something was very wrong. He was diagnosed with FIP at 10 months. Goodbye prescious one!
  5. glitch
    a cure would be awesome. Glitch had the wet version of FIP and me and him fought long and hard... in the end FIP won... but Glitch made it for a long time after we found out because I cought it early and had fluid removed from his belly once every couple weeks but I just prolonged the inevitable hes over the bridge now though and is healthy happy and waiting for me
  6. kirasheba
    My Zeus died of the dry form of FIP. We had no idea that was it.....presented as a URI and eye prob....once diagnosed he was euthanized less than 3 months later after showing neurological changes.Such a sad sad disease with little help. His sister Athena is still alive, my Vet said if she is in 9 months...she should be ok. I wish they could find a cure.....
  7. dianed
    my cat Molly just flip did not have her to long but lover her
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