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FIP in Cats: Symptoms and Prevention
Cat
FIP
29 April 2024

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a serious and potentially fatal disease in cats. It is caused by a mutation of the feline coronavirus. In the past, once cats contracted FIP, the chances of recovery were relatively low, but this has improved now. The following will help you understand the causes of FIP infection, symptoms, and prevention methods, so we can work together to protect the health of our cats.

 

What is Feline Infectious Peritonitis? How is it transmitted?

 

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is an infectious disease caused by the feline coronavirus, which attacks the cat's white blood cells and severely damages its immune system.

 

The FIP virus is typically present in cat feces. Healthy cats in contact with contaminated feces are at risk of infection. This virus can spread more easily in multi-cat households, as cats often share toys, food bowls, and litter boxes. However, cats may not show symptoms immediately after infection, and the disease may lie dormant until their immune system is compromised, delaying treatment.

 

What are the symptoms of Feline Infectious Peritonitis?

 

FIP can be broadly divided into two types: "wet" and "dry."

 

Wet (effusive) form: Fluid accumulates in the abdominal or chest cavity, causing noticeable swelling in the abdomen or chest, and may also cause breathing difficulties and loss of appetite.

 

Dry (non-effusive) form: The virus forms granulomatous lesions within the body, affecting the kidneys, liver, intestines, and nervous system. Symptoms may include loss of appetite, severe vomiting, and seizures.

 

Here are some common symptoms of feline infectious peritonitis:

 

  • Fever
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Lethargy

 

How to Test for and Prevent Feline Infectious Peritonitis

 

In general, it is difficult to diagnose FIP solely based on symptoms. If you have any questions, owners should promptly take their cats to a veterinary clinic for further testing. Currently, veterinarians diagnose FIP by combining the cat's medical history, clinical symptoms, and various tests and analyses to reach an accurate diagnosis.

 

Prevention is better than cure. Given the high mortality rate of FIP, it is better to focus on disease prevention and maintain a clean and hygienic living environment for your cat.

 

Clean the environment

Regularly clean and disinfect litter boxes, food and water bowls, and bedding, and promptly remove feces and urine to help reduce the survival of the virus in the environment.

 

Prevent contact with sources of infection

Avoid contact between your cat and stray cats, which can reduce the risk of infection. If you have multiple cats at home, avoid sharing toys, food bowls, and litter boxes to reduce the risk of virus transmission.

 

Vaccination

There are vaccines available for FIP, but their effectiveness is debated. Consult your veterinarian for advice before vaccination.

 

Additionally, owners should take their cats for regular check-ups to understand their physical condition and promptly identify any health issues. By combining preventive measures and regular check-ups, you can significantly reduce the risk of your beloved cat to suffer from FIP.

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