You may come across this disease name and people looking for donations to help their cats survive FIP.
This is a serious disease called feline infectious peritonitis or FIP has been known to affect cats. Empower yourself by learning about this disease and see what you can do to protect your cat from the infection.
FIP is a viral disease triggered by the feline coronavirus (FCoV), an entirely different sickness from the coronavirus (Covid-19) that many people have been infected with.
FIP is extremely common in cats, especially in large groups of cats. FIP is usually contracted through infected feces, and infection occurs when a cat ingests the virus (e.g. through licking).
Until now, FIP is the least understood disease that infects cats. To aggravate an already dangerous situation, multiplication and mutation are expected in almost all FIP cases. When this happens, you and your cat become faced with feline infectious peritonitis virus or FIBV which is fatal when it spreads through your cat's body. This virus targets the tissues around your cat’s abdomen, brain, and kidney.
Young cats less than two years old are prone to getting FIP and you’ll recognize it by its most common symptom: mild diarrhea. Other symptoms include:
● A loss of appetite
● Fever that keeps rising and falling
As the disease escalates, your cat will experience more symptoms. Additional symptoms are dependent on the type of FIP (wet or dry form) that has attacked your feline’s system and this should be ruled out by your vet.
There is a cure for FIP known as GS-441524, an antiviral drug developed by Gilead Sciences, but it has yet to receive official FDA approval due to Gilead's refusal to license this drug for veterinary use.
Therefore, many cat owners who find themselves in a bind are thus sourcing the drugs from the black market in an effort to contain and help their cats recover from FIP.
You can talk to your vet about supportive treatment for your cat but you have to understand that there has yet to be a FDA-approved treatment. The goal of supportive treatment is to improve the quality of your cat’s health as much as possible. The good news, symptomatic treatment is ultimately dependent on the cat's immune system to cure the infection.
Thankfully, this disease is preventable through vaccination. To reduce the risk of FIP, other recommended good practices would include:
- For every two cats, there should be at least one litter box.
- Clean any urine or feces on a daily basis, and wash the litter box monthly to disinfect it.
- Maintain a safe distance between litterboxes and food and water bowls.
- Avoid having multiple litters of kittens at the same time by neutering your cats.
- If you have a large number of cats in one household, keep them in small, isolated groups (1-4 in a group).
- Maintain good hygiene and a healthy diet to help your cat's immune system.