Learn how FIP in cats or Feline Infectious Peritonitis develops and know the symptoms. Feline Leukemia and FIV in cats make them more prone to developing FIP.
FIP in Cats
FIP in cats is a very serious condition that is almost always fatal. It is caused by a virus called Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus (FIPV), but not every cat that comes in contact with the virus will develop FIP.
Some estimates state that about 1 in 5000 cats will develop FIP, but the numbers are higher in situations where there are multiple cats such as homes with many cats and animal shelters.
As mentioned above, not every cat that has the FIPV virus will develop FIP. In general, the healthier a cat is, the better able they will be to fend off the disease. Some cats, however, are more likely to develop FIP if they come in contact with the virus. These include:
- Kittens – Kittens have not yet developed a strong immune system, so they are not as able to fight off infection.
- Seniors – The immune system in older cats will be weaker than when the cat was in their prime.
- Feline Leukemia – Cats with feline leukemia already have a compromised immune system, so they will have a more difficult time fighting off an infection.
Symptoms of FIP in Cats
While there are symptoms of FIP in cats, these can also be the symptoms of a number of other medical issues. If you notice any of the symptoms below, you should certainly visit a vet right away, but do not assume that it is FIP.
- Weight loss
- Refusing food
Again, the above symptoms can be caused by dozens of issues. Be sure to visit a vet as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms in your cat.
A firm diagnosis of Fip can only be made after blood tests and the collection of other data by your vet.
Treatment of FIP in Cats
There is no cure for FIP in cats. The sad fact is that almost every cat that develops the disease will die as a result. While every cat is different, the average life span after diagnosis is two to four months.
Even though there is no cure, there are treatments that can extend the life of your cat while also making her more comfortable. These include:
- Blood transfusions – This can help with the anemia that many with Fip in cats develop.
- Draining of Fluid – Fluid collects in the abdomen and chest of cats suffering with this disease. Draining the fluid will help the cat be able to breathe easier and be more comfortable.
- Proper Diet – Feeding a high quality diet will help your cat stay as strong as possible.
Preventing FIP in Cats
Because there is no cure for Fip in cats, prevention is very important.
- Vaccinate – As mentioned above, cats with Feline Leukemia are more likely to develop FIP. Be sure to keep your cat’s vaccinations current to prevent her from getting Feline Leukemia.
- Litter Box - The virus that causes the disease is spread through saliva and feces. Scoop the litter box every day and clean thoroughly at least once a week.
- Food and Water – The food and water bowls should be cleaned every couple of days and should not be kept near the litter box.
Even if you only have one indoor cat, the virus can still be transmitted through something that you bring in from outside. The preventive measures above are one line of defense against this deadly disease.