FIP in cats, also referred to as feline infectious peritonitis, is one of the most mysterious diseases that your cat can get. It is also one of the most deadly.
If it is a true FIP infection, it is almost always fatal.
FIP has not been well known but there is a growing concern as it is now believed to be the major cause of unexplained fever in cats.
It is an extremely progressive disease, is found worldwide, affects all cats, both wild and domestic, any breed, any sex, at any age.
However cats younger than 2 years old and older than ten years, seem to be at the greatest risk simply because of their immune systems.
FIP in cats is caused by a virus called feline coronavirus and this is where the mystery starts. Cats that are infected with coronavirus will be attacked by this killer; or will they?
There are two types of this virus and one mystery is that there are no laboratory tests in the world at this time that can tell the difference between the two forms.
The first form of the virus is avirulent, which means that it does not cause any disease at all, but it can cause very mild irritations to your cat such as weak diarrhea.
The second form, which is virulent, means that it does cause the disease, and there is no current cure for it.
It is believed, but it is only speculation, yet another mystery, that the second form mutates, and when it does, it replicates itself in your cat’s cells.
The actual battle for life that your cat will face if infected with FIP in cats, will be won or lost at the place that this infection gains access into your pet’s body and how their immune system fights it.
How the Virus Spreads:
FIP in cats is such a mystery that for several years the common belief was that this was limited to cats that lived in communes, shelters, or a household that had a lot of cats.
It was believed to spread by either saliva or feces contamination. In fact several articles will still claim that it is spread by feces contamination.
However, once the mutation theory of how it is actually caused was understood, it became apparent that it could not be spread from cat to cat or through feces contamination.
Once it is mutated, it was no longer in the gut to be shed through the stomach.
Your cat’s cellular immune system consists of white blood cells whose primary function is to fight and destroy invasions of fungi, bacteria, and pathogens.
If your cat’s immune system is very strong it can win quite easily, actually making your pet immune to this virus.
If the system is strong, but compromised at all, your cats system can keep it in check, but cannot kill all of the virus, where it is than referred to as a latent infection.
Latent infections, although checked, is still not a good situation, as stress in your cat could cause it to resurface and test your pet’s system all over again.
If you cat immune system becomes weak, it is than under an attack it cannot win.
The two lethal forms of FIP in cats are referred to as effusive, or wet, and non-effusive, or dry.
Symptoms of FIP:
With effusive FIP in cats, your pet will start to accumulate fluid in both the chest and the abdomen, and if excessive, they may have difficulty in breathing.
This is caused by the leaking of fluids and protein from the surrounding tissues.
You may also see a protruding or sudden change in the abdomen.
With non-effusive FIP in cats, the fluid buildup will be only minimal.
However, you will start to see a gradual weight loss, anemia, and a fever that just will not go away and strange eye changes.
Watch very closely for these eye changes.
However, in either form you could see pale gums and eye abnormalities that are very strange, also mysteries as this cannot be explained. Jaundice is something that has also happened on occasions.
Yet another mystery is how to diagnosis it properly. Even the best veterinarians in the world are challenged here.
There are no tests specifically for this disease, simply because of all of the mystery that surrounds it.
Most cats that have this disease and are brought in to be examined are already quite sick.
The symptoms resemble so many other diseases that the only hope for anywhere close to a correct diagnoses is to rule out what it is not.
But what they can look for is problems in your cat’s eyes, as very strange abnormalities are now becoming characteristic of this deadly disease.
They can also perform blood tests and serum counts, but those are still not conclusive.
There is none. Survivors of this infection are very rare. Supportive care to lengthen the life for a short period is really all that can be done.
It may be time for you to make a decision about putting your cat down.
FIP in cats, perhaps more than any infection of a virus, fungi, or bacteria, is absolutely dependent on how strong your cat’s immune system is.
Supplementing them with vitamins is the most important protection that you can give them.
The best vitamins for your cat’s immune systems are Vitamins C and the B class of vitamins, all of them. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps to clean toxins from both tissues and blood.
It is extremely effective in virus immunity and in this case could be the difference between life and death of your cat.
The entire class of B vitamins helps your cat’s nervous system, especially with cellular structuring, critical for protection from FIP in cats.
In watching for this very mysterious and growing disease, watch your cat’s eyes very close, and challenge every fever.
It may still be the biggest mystery of any cat disease, but it can be spotted if you know what to look for.