Feline Infections Peritonitis (FIP) is a contagious virus seen sporadically in cats that can cause serious disease, and even death. FIP is a type of virus known as a corona virus, of which there are many types seen in our feline companions. While FIP is most commonly seen in cattery, boarding kennels and other places of crowding, it can be seen sporadically in the pet population. The incidence of FIP is highest in young cats under the age of two, as well as in older cats above 12 or 13.
FIP is usually transmitted through contact of oral and nasal secretions, as well as stools of affected cats. While many cats may become exposed to FIP virus at some point in their life, the incidence of actual clinical disease development is sporadic. FIP causes an inflammation of the blood vessels known as a vasculitis. Symptoms will vary depending upon the organs involved, but it is not uncommon for FIP to occur in the digestive tract, kidneys, lungs, eye and even brain.
FIP is usually on our list of differential diagnoses in any chronically ill cat with nonspecific vague symptoms in these various organ systems. There are two common forms of FIP, known as the dry form, as well as the wet form, with the latter often leading to buildup of fluid in the abdomen or chest. Diagnosis of FIP is sometimes made by finding the characteristic fluid in the chest or abdomen, but definitive diagnosis often involves analyzing this fluid at a lab, as well as biopsies and other laboratory and blood testing.
Treatment of FIP is palliative at best, with fluid therapy and antibiotic therapy; however, the course of the disease is usually fatal. Holistic treatment options may increase the chance at a more favorable outcome. To learn more about homeopathy, see Canine World.