The term FIP stands for Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Peritonitis means inflammation of the peritoneum. This is a common symptom of the disease. Feline is a term used to refer to the cat family.
FIP in Cats
- FIP is an incurable disease that occurs in cats.
- There are dry, wet, and mixed forms of infection.
- The effectiveness of vaccination against FIP is questionable.
- FIP is difficult to diagnose in infected cats.
Information on the FIP
Feline Infectious Peritonitis is a contagious disease. This only affects the Felidae (family of cats). FIP in cats is therefore not contagious to dogs or humans (not a zoonosis). The disease is triggered by the coronavirus.
The forms of FIP
The disease comes in a wet and dry variant. There is also a mixed form.
In the wet form, the viruses multiply in the blood permanently. The reason for this is the weak reaction of the immune system. The blood vessels become inflamed. As the disease progresses, cells and tissues die. Infected fluid leaks out and spreads around the cat’s body.
The dry form is characterized by a mild course. This is due to a more responsive immune system. Inflammatory nodules form in the organs of sick cats. Compared to the moist form, there is no leakage of liquid in the nodular changes.
A mixed form combines the signs of the dry and wet form.
Is FIP Contagious in Cats?
Direct infection from fur nose to fur nose is impossible. The infection is caused by the coronaviruses. These pathogens are found in the feces of the infected velvet paws. Your tiger can become infected by sniffing the excrement of infected animals. The virus can also be passed on to cats when they eat feces.
The highest rate of infection with FIP is in kittens and younger cats. Many kitties become infected by the age of five to eight weeks. The reason for this is a poorly developed immune system. Infection often leads to diarrhea lasting several days. The house cat can become chronically ill. With such an infection, the family member appears healthy, even though they shed pathogens.
The virus may change due to unexplained circumstances. This leads to the outbreak of FIP in the cat, without direct infection. The more viruses your four-legged friend has been exposed to, the higher the risk of an outbreak.
Your darling is particularly at risk in:
Breeding stations, as there are many fur noses there,
- Animal shelters, because many infected animals arrive here,
- In households with many cats, the risk of illness is higher there.
FIP infection is more likely with a second cat because one cat with the coronavirus can quickly pass it on to another. The risk of illness increases with the number of four-legged friends in the household.
Recognizing FIP in cats – these are the symptoms
The signs of infection are non-specific. Usually, your velvet paw will eat less. This usually results in weight loss. Fever can also occur after contracting the virus. The increased temperature is caused by the body fighting the disease.
With FIP, your cat will show other symptoms. These include organ changes. Often there is inflammation in the intestines, kidneys, liver, peritoneum, and pleura. The FIP virus can cause severe pain in cats. These occur in the inflamed regions of the body. There are also frequent impairments of the central nervous system. Depending on the signs, other phenomena will occur. For example, epileptic seizures can occur.
Diagnosis of feline infectious peritonitis
The diagnosis of the disease is often difficult. The symptoms of a cat with FIP should be taken seriously. The diagnosis is made through tissue samples.
Usually, the veterinarian does not take samples of the inflamed body regions. Because performing the test is an additional burden for the kitty.
If the veterinarian detects inflamed organs in the cat, this can be an indication of FIP. The diagnosis is confirmed if there is antibiotic resistance. If your family member is resistant to antibiotics, they will not respond to the active substance.
Laboratory tests are also helpful in the event of suspicion. If a blood sample is taken, liver and bile values are examined. An anemia test is also carried out. In addition, the number of antibodies in your pet’s blood must be determined. Antibodies are proteins that are usually produced in large quantities after your mini tiger is infected. Antibodies are also found in a healthy cat. That complicates the diagnosis.
FIP in cats – course and prognosis
FIP begins when the pathogen is absorbed through the mouth or nose. The virus then settles in the small intestine. After that, it penetrates the cells of the intestine. As a result, the first symptoms appear. This process can take days to months.
Sometimes the fur noses manage to fight the pathogen. In this case, the FIP disease duration is months to years. Infected velvet paws usually die soon after symptoms start. With FIP in cats, the average life expectancy is one to twelve weeks. The pet can rarely live with the disease for years. FIP almost always ends in death.
FIP cats and their treatment
The symptoms of the infectious disease can be contained with the help of medication. A complete cure has not yet been achieved by medicine.
There are currently the following treatment options for fur noses:
- Cortisone: prevents inflammation and reduces its strength.
- Antiviral drugs: are drugs against the virus that can stop FIP.
- Fever reducers: reduce the level of suffering of the house tiger.
- Antibiotics: are agents against bacteria that have developed in the animal as a result of infections.
Preventing FIP: How To Do It Right
There is a vaccination against FIP in cats. However, this does not work 100 percent. The syringe can only help animals that have not yet become infected. According to studies, the effectiveness of the vaccination is between 0 and 80 percent. The injection is possible from the 16th week of life. Your kitty must be vaccinated twice within six weeks. The protection is then active.
To prevent infection with the virus, the following measures are recommended:
Animals that tested negative for FIP can be socialized.
The water and food bowls must be cleaned daily.
Clean the litter box
The toilet has to be cleaned several times a day. It is recommended to set up several manure containers.
Limit living space
Outdoor cats are infected more often than domestic cats. If you want to reduce the risk of your tigers developing FIP, keep them at home.
Reduce the number of pets
Few house cats reduce the risk of infection.
Does an infected four-legged friend live in your household? Then it makes sense to separate this from other kitties. If you have had to part with your velvet paw, it is advisable to disinfect the apartment. After the journey over the Rainbow Bridge, a waiting period of three months is appropriate. No residual FIP viruses remain within this time. Infection from kittens is therefore impossible.
Our recommendation: Thorough cleaning of manure containers and bowls reduces the risk of illness. Regular FIP tests give you the certainty that you have a healthy four-legged friend.
To reduce the risk of FIP infection, keep the following in mind:
It makes sense to use the same bowls.
- It is advisable to clean all cat utensils at least daily.
- It is advisable to keep a maximum of four house tigers in a group.
- FIP vaccinations can help to protect your four-legged friend from infection.
- Prefer the attitude of your companion in the house.
- The affected cat should be separated from healthy animals
- Stress should be avoided for the house cat.