HomeCatFeline Infectious Peritonitis: Most Important Information for Cat Owner

Feline Infectious Peritonitis: Most Important Information for Cat Owner

Feline Infectious peritonitis ( FIP ) is a severe, nearly always systemic viral incurable disease of wild and domestic cats. The condition is caused by the feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV ), which is a mutation of Feline Enteric Coronavirus ( FECV/FeCoV ). It is a slowly progressive fatal disease of cats. Cats in actively breeding households are considered to be at high risk. Cats in poor physical condition and those under stress are more susceptible to FIP.

Common Points on Feline Infectious Peritonitis

FECV is very common in cats, especially in catteries and shelters where large numbers of kittens and adult cats share living spaces. The disease that chance is increased for cats which are immune-compromised, including very young and ancient cats. The converted virus can invade and grow in specific white blood cells, namely macrophages.  

Important Information on FIP

Forms of Feline Infectious Peritonitis 

Feline Infectious Peritonitis occurs mainly in two forms. They are:

  • The first is the classic effusive or wet form, characterized by the accumulation of fluids in one or both body cavities, particularly the abdomen.
  • The second is the non-effusive or ‘dry’ form. There is granulomatous lesion present in various body organs, and signs are related to the organ most affected. 


What Causes Feline Infectious Peritonitis(FIP)?

FIP is the result of the Feline Infectious peritonitis virus ( FIPV ), a feline enteric coronavirus ( FECV/ FeCoV ). A standard relatively start the form of Feline coronavirus is the Feline enteric coronavirus ( FECV ). When FECV transforms into a disease-causing form, it is called FIPV. If a cat’s immune system acts poorly, the mutant FECV may cause a systemic infection called FIP.

Causes of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Epidemiology of FIV

It is found pandemic and affects not only domestic cats but also many wild ones, including Cougars, Bobcats, Lynx, Lions, and Cheetahs. It has been predicted that 80 to 90% of all the animals in multi-cat households where FECV is present become infected. The prevalence of FIPV, on the other hand, remains low in the wild and domestic cat populations, probably less than 2%. It can be as high as 10% in muti-cat households or catteries. FIPV probably affects less than 1% of the cats brought to Veterinarians for treatment.

Epidemiology of FIP

Risk Factors of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

The risk factors of FIP are as follows:

  • Experts agree that FIP appears to affect young ( 3 months to 5 years ) and old ( 10 to 14 years ) cats. 
  • Kittens under 16 weeks, as have incompletely developed immune systems. Males and females are affected equally. 
  • In general, pure breed cats are regarded as being at higher risk, and certain breeds, notably Persians and ad Burmese, seem to be most susceptible to FIP. 
  • Outdoor cats and cats that live in catteries and multi-cat households are at greater risk than solitary, indoor animals.
  • Exchanging animals, especially kittens and young cats, increase the risk. 
  • The presence of FeLv and FIV may predispose a cat to develop FIP. 
  • Poor nutrition and farming practices that produce highly inbred cats increase the likelihood of infection. 
  • The stress associated with neutering, vaccination, or moving to a new home may be risk factors as well.

Risk Factors of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

How is FIP Transmitted?

Infected cats shed coronavirus in their saliva and feces. Primary transmission occurs by ingestion of the virus by the fecal-oral route and, to a lesser extent, through saliva or respiratory droplets, followed by contact with an acutely infected animal shedding the virus. The virus conceivably could be spread via litter dust picked up on shoes, clothing, or other animal furs

Transmission of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

FIP viruses can survive for 2 to 3 weeks at room temperature on dry surfaces, including feeding bowls, toys, litter boxes, bedding, and clothing, and small particles of fecal material can adhere to the dust in cat litter. If a mother cat is an FECV carrier, she can shed the virus to her kittens.

What are the Symptoms of Feline Infectious Peritonitis?

The Clinical signs and symptoms vary with the types of the disease. 

Effusive or wet type:

  • In wet FIP, fluid accumulates in body cavities. Some animals take on a ‘pot-bellied’ appearance. Excessive fluid build up compresses the lungs and backs up into the airways, making it difficult to breathe.
  • In the lining of the affected cavity and the liver, the spleen becomes coated with the white, fibrinous matter.
  • Some lymph nodes may be enlarged, and other signs include gastro-intestinal and eye ulcer, jaundice, mild anemia, neurological abnormalities, and severe conjunctivitis.

Symptoms of FIP

Non-effusive or dry type:

  • Non-effusive FIP usually develops slowly, with little fluid accumulation, and signs depend on which parts are affected by lesions.
  • Approximately half of all dry cases create neurologic problems and eye inflammation: unsteady gaits, seizures, and paralysis.
  • Kidney or liver failure may be the result of their lesions.
  • Weight loss, pancreatic disease, depression, anemia, and cat fever are usually present.
  • Stunted growth in kittens. 
  • Jaundice, vomiting, increased water consumption and urination, and/or diarrhea.
  • Ocular inflammation, conjunctivitis, and blindness.
  • Brain inflammation.
  • Paralysis in the hind legs, shaking, vertigo, seizures, and personality changes.

How Can FIP be Diagnosed?

The standard diagnostic procedures of FIP are as follows:

  • The history, signs, laboratory tests, and possibly X-rays to make a tentative diagnosis. 
  • The ascites (fluid in the abdominal cavity) in cats with wet FIP is a high protein, yellow, dense, froths when shaken, and may clot when exposed to air. 
  • Blood tests- mild to moderate anemia. 
  •  ELISA and IFAT are used to detect antibodies in the affected animal’s serum. 
  • Histopathology of diseased tissue at biopsy or autopsy is worthy for the definitive diagnosis of FIP.

Diagnosis of FIP

Treatment Protocols of FIP

There is no specific treatment due to viral causes but provide supportive care. 

  • A combination of corticosteroids, cytotoxic drugs, antibiotics, good dietary maintenance, and proper fluid intake may relieve discomfort. 
  • Cats have an appetite, no neurological signs, and no anemia usually respond to supportive care, including periodic draining of fluids from the abdominal or thoracic cavity. 
  • If the fluid is drained frequently, the cat loses a large amount of protein, which can exacerbate the condition. 
  • Fluid therapy, quality nutrition antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections, blood transfusions in cases of severe anemia.

Treatment of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Prevention and Control Methods of Feline Infectious Peritonitis 

The following measures can prevent and control the disease in your horse cats. 

  • Ordinary household soaps, detergents, and disinfectants readily neutralize the FIP virus, household bleach 1: 32 solution disinfectant any surface and infected cat contents, including clothing. 
  • Litter boxes of affected cats should be scooped daily, and the litter discarded, and the box thoroughly disinfected weekly. 
  • Feed and water you should be changed daily and the feeding bowls disinfected weekly. 
  • The same set of bowels should be kept with the same cats. 

Prevention of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

  • Restrict the number of new cats brought into the household. 
  • Quarantine each new cat for at least a month and observe it for any signs of illness
  • An infected pregnant cat should be completely isolated from all other cats in a household. 
  • The person entering and leaving the isolation room should disinfect their hands thoroughly.

Vaccination Against FIP

FIP vaccine is one of the most effective methods of preventing the disease. 

  • A FIP vaccine was introduced in 1991, but its use remains controversial.
  • The vaccine available to protect against FIP is licensed for use in cats over 16 weeks of age. It is safe, and approximately 50-75% effective. It is administered intranasally ( Drop )
  • Cats in households or catteries with confirmed or suspected cases of FIP should be vaccinated.
  • Administering the vaccine to kittens less than 16 weeks is not approved the use of the vaccine.
  • Initially, cats should receive two vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart; after that, an annual booster is required.

Vaccination of FIP

Concluding Remarks on FIP

Feline Infectious Peritonitis is a common viral disease of cats. The condition is more in young and very old-aged cats. The disease spread more where multiple animal species live together. The disease is an opportunistic disease and affects the cat in weak physical conditions. As a cat owner, you must be careful about the immune system of your lovely cat. It would be best if you strictly maintain the vaccination schedule of your cat at the designated age. The preventive measures I have discussed, please try to follow it. I think your cat will be healthy and fit for your house.

Latest Post

Editors' Pick

Editors' Pick