DEFINITION OF DISEASE:
Feline Infectious Peritonitis, acronym FIP, is caused by a feline coronavirus. It is an infectious, progressive, systemic and contagious disease that affects domestic cats and numerous species of wild felids. The virus that causes FIP can be of benign or malignant origin: the first form is found in the intestine with a mild form of diarrhea, the second is the one that causes the disease. This disease always has a bad outcome within a few months. It manifests itself with masses borne by internal organs (dry form) or more usually with the presence of liquids in the abdomen (wet form) which then lead to DEATH OF THE ANIMAL.
As for the transmission routes of FIP, they are:
- direct transmission through contact of feces or saliva containing the virus, but also through sneezing
- indirect transmission through contaminated objects, including bedding, bowls, blankets, toys
- transplacental transmission
As mentioned, cats with FIP often do not show any symptoms of the disease. When signs appear, they can vary widely and are usually nonspecific. Symptoms related to feline infectious peritonitis can include:
- WEIGHT LOSS,
- HE RETCHED,
- OCULAR INFLAMMATION,
- BREATHING TIRED.
There are two types of FIP in cats: wet and dry. The wet form causes fluid to spill into the abdomen called ascites, which can lead to breathing difficulties and a distinctive pot-bellied appearance. The dry form affects the same parts of the body, but does not cause fluid to spill.
Unfortunately, there is neither a cure, nor a vaccine, nor a test that can give us 100% confirmation, so we always recommend an in-depth examination through a specific examination called PCR. It is strongly advised not to disseminate the information of “a FIP cat” without the support of an instrumental analysis. A cat carrying the virus does not necessarily get sick, so there is a good chance it will live its life quietly.
Does it make sense to isolate FIP positive cats from likely healthy cats? Unfortunately, it doesn’t make sense, because the spread of the virus is 100%, so EVERYONE will have already contracted it. Then only 5-10% develop the lethal virus, that of FIP to be clear, but without any tests that can indicate the subjects at risk. The only thing that can be done is to keep the environment clean, disinfected and as quiet as possible to prevent positive subjects from worsening due to stress and being negatively contagious.
Feline infectious peritonitis is an incurable disease. The goals of treatment are to ensure that the animal has a pain-free quality of life for as long as possible.
Fortunately, feline coronavirus can be eliminated in the home environment, by means of household disinfectants, such as a combined solution of bleach and water (dilution 1:32). Once the cat develops the disease, whether it is the wet or the dry form, it is almost certain that the course will be fatal. The wet form is “worse” in the sense that affected cats can survive for 1-2 months once the condition is diagnosed. Cats affected by the dry form can survive another year or so while maintaining a good quality of life.
It is possible to improve the quality of life of affected animals by means of certain drugs and supplements, such as prednisone, cyclophosphamide, interferon, low doses of aspirin and vitamin C, as well as improving the environment in which they live by limiting stress, dirt and a good food.