Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)


Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a highly contagious viral disease caused by mutated or harmful strains of the Feline Coronavirus (FCoV).

Coronavirus also referred as feline enteric coronavirus, usually does not cause any disease. It attacks and colonizes the intestinal walls causing very mild symptoms which can be easily be treated with proper medications.

Untreated Corona viurus or lack of immune system’s response causes the mutation into a more harmful form, it causes FIP.

FIP infects the white blood cells (WBC) and quickly spreads throughout the body. This causes some serious inflammation in the abdomen, brain and kidneys.
Because of its devasting nature, symptoms are seen almost immediately.

FIP has a global distribution and affects both indoor and outdoor cats. Younger cats and kittens (between 3 months to 2 years) are at high risk. Cats with weakened immunity, senior cats, cats with existing diseases, multi-pet household, catteries are also prone to this disease. Especially cats with Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Causes

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is caused by mutated strains of the Feline Corona virus (FCoV) of Coronaviridae genus. It is a progression of untreated Feline Corona virus. Corona virus can lie dormant in a cats body for months before it shows any symptoms. It is also speculated that contact with infected cat or from contamination or from infected saliva and feces could be the possible causes of FIP.

Symptoms

There are two forms of FIP disease, Wet (effusive) form and the Dry (non-effusive) form. Signs depend on the severity of the disease, the immune response and the form of the infection.

In Wet (effusive) form, the symptoms are:
› Lethargy
› Pyrexia (Fever)
› Anorexia (Loss of Appetite)
› Recurrent nasal discharges / runny nose
› Congestion
› Rhinitis (sneezing)
› Diarrhea (Loose stools)
› Vasculitis (Inflammation of the blood vessels)
› Ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen)
› Pleural Effusion (Fluid buildup around the lungs)
› Weight loss
› Poor appetite

In Dry (non-effusive) form, the symptoms are:
› Pyrexia (Fever)
› Recurrent ocular discharges
› Anorexia (Loss of Appetite)
› Depression
› Dyspnea (Trouble Breathing)
› Tachypnea (Rapid Breathing Rate)
› Diarrhea (Loose stools)
› Anemia
› Jaundice
› Central nervous system (CNS) signs
› Vomiting
› Polydipsia and Polyuria (excessive drinking and urinating)

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of FIP can be very difficult to make.

Veterinarians will require a complete history of your cat which includes medical history, vaccination records, existing health concerns, current and previous medications, onset of symptoms, diet and exercise routine and any information which can help in establishing a correct diagnosis. Diagnosis is done with a combination of tests. These include routine lab examinations and special tests which can detect the presence of the parasite. They are:

› Coronavirus Antibody Tests (This detects for the presence of coronavirus in the blood)
› Ultrasound (of the stomach)
› Fluid analysis (taken from abdomen)

Treatment

There is no cure for FIP. It is always fatal. Cats diagnosed with dry form may prolong its life for up-to two months.

Prevention

There is no known prevention for FIP. Early detection of Coronavirus with proper treatment and medications will help. This is an immune-mediated disease. Once the cat is diagnosed with FIP, it is always fatal.

› Vaccine against FIP (It is debated and controversial). There is no guarantee it will work.
DO NOT BREED cats with FIP

Home Care

If you observe any behavioral changes or if the condition does not improve, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
› Keeping your pet away from infected pets.
› Isolate your pet immediately once the diagnosis confirms the disease. Take precautionary steps to avoid the disease from spreading.
› Early detection of coronavirus along-with prompt treatment measures is strongly advised. Please consult your veterinarian immediately.

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