Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) – Symptoms and causes of infection

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is Severe disease of domestic cats and many other members of the family feline. Cats of all ages all over the world are infected with it, but the virus most common in young cats under two years old. Despite that, in general, the disease is not common, it very dangerous, because after the development of the disease in a cat, it almost always fatal.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) - Symptoms and causes of infection

What are the causes of infectious peritonitis in cats?

FIP refers to a viral infection such as feline coronavirus. There are many strains of feline coronavirus that differ in its ability to cause disease. Currently it is recognized that the most dangerous strain of feline coronavirus is infectious peritonitis, which is its mutated a copy.

Since normal cat coronavirus cannot be distinguished from infectious peritonitis using laboratory tests, diagnosis FIP can be a daunting task. It also remains unclear why do some cats with coronavirus get FIP, while others remain intact. Infectious peritonitis in cats remains one of least studied cat disease.

How common is infectious peritonitis in cats? compared to coronavirus?

Based on tests and blood tests, it is estimated that around 30% of the entire cat population becomes infected with one or more strains coronavirus cats at some point in their lives. Nonetheless, FIP incidence is less than 1% of cats. Many strains coronavirus cats are relatively harmless, and even with infected, many cats remain healthy for long time, or even throughout life.

How do cats become infected with coronavirus?

It is believed that cats can become infected in many ways. The main The transmission method is direct contact between cats. Coronavirus present in the blood of infected cats, and may also be in urine and feces. Despite the fact that the virus is quite fragile and not survives longer than 24-36 hours in the external environment, it is believed that in at low temperatures, it can survive for several months. Virus transmission through clothing or other objects is possible, rather just for a few hours after contact. Virus can also spread through insect bites such as fleas.

As mentioned, many strains of coronavirus are relatively harmless. Unfortunately, these initial non-hazardous infections can mutate later, thereby causing infectious peritonitis in some cats. However, many cats are even more dangerous. the strains remain healthy and they never develop FIP. The virus may remain latent in the body for months or years before a cat develops disease.

What are the clinical symptoms of infectious peritonitis? cats?

Most cats with coronavirus, even with potential strain FIP, an immune response develops that protects them. Thus, the clinical form of the disease develops only in a small portion of infected cats. However, if the disease develops into a clinical form, the cat practically always dying.

The first symptoms of FIP in cats may be subtle. Weakness, apathy, decreased or lack of appetite are most reported symptoms. After a period of several days up to several weeks, other symptoms develop. Originally from most cats develop a “wet” form of the disease that expressed in the accumulation of fluid in the cavities of the body. Fluid can accumulate in the abdominal cavity, which leads to swelling of the abdomen, or in the chest cavity, which leads to difficulty breathing.

In some cats, fluid does not accumulate or accumulates in small amounts (the so-called “dry” form of FIP), however inflammation of one or more organs may occur, including eyes, brain, liver, intestines or other organs that leads to various clinical symptoms. As you continue disease progression, the condition of most cats quickly worsens, although some cats remain in good condition in for several weeks. Unfortunately ultimately the disease is fatal in almost every case.

How is FIP diagnosed?

Since infectious peritonitis in cats manifests itself in various clinical symptoms that are easily confused with others diseases, FIP is especially difficult to diagnose. Probably, will require an extended blood test, an x-ray for determining the presence of fluid in the abdominal cavity or in the area chest and some other tests. Sometimes FIP is diagnosed by excluding other diseases.

Currently, the only valid way to confirm FIP is a histological examination of the affected tissue. If by there are any doubts about the diagnosis, the veterinarian may recommend a biopsy to help distinguish between FIP and treatable illnesses. However, infectious peritonitis in cats remains one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose.

Is there a treatment for FIP?

Infectious peritonitis in cats in almost all cases ends fatal. From the disease there is no specific treatment. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids (sometimes used in combination with immunosuppressants) can temporarily suppress symptoms and improve cat’s quality of life. For a sick cat with a confirmed diagnosis FIP euthanasia may be the most humane and appropriate option.

Is there a vaccine for FIP?

Recently, several vaccines have been developed that help prevent FIP infection. However, since the method infection and the development of FIP is still unclear, infection may happen before vaccination, so the vaccine cannot prevent the disease is 100%.

Is there a risk to other cats in the house?

If your cat is diagnosed with FIP, then the other cats in your cat the home may be at high risk of contracting the virus, which can lead to FIP. Fortunately, infection leads to fatal disease in only a small number of cats. As precautions, many veterinarians recommend waiting about a month after the death of an infected cat before getting new to minimize the chance of getting the virus. IN if the house contains several cats after death infected cat is recommended to wait at least three months to see if any clinical symptoms in other cats. However, these cats are most likely are carriers of the disease and can potentially infect new cats.

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