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What is FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) in cats?

Updated: Feb 16

FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) in cats is caused by feline coronavirus (FCOV). It is estimated that 80% of cats carry FCOV in their system. FCOV is found in both indoor and outdoor cats. Generally, the FCOV not harmful. However, when FCOV mutates into feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV), it becomes deadly.

The exact trigger for the mutation is still unknown. General observations indicate that low immunity due to stress, neutering, and poor living condition may cause the onset of the FCOV mutation into FIPV. From our treatment studies, we see that pure breeds are more prone to this deadly mutation than mixed breeds. FIPV can occur in cats of all ages.

There are two forms of FIP infection: WET and DRY.

The symptoms for the WET form of FIP is more easily identifiable due to the bulging of the stomach as pictured in below. The bulging is caused by the accumulation of fluids in the abdomen and chest. Because WET form of FIP can be diagnosed early, when treated with GS-441524, cats have a very high survival rate. To confirm the presence of FIP virus, doctors usually extract fluid from the bulging area and conduct a FIP Ag test. You can read more about FIP testing here.

The DRY form of FIP is harder to identify. There are few symptoms that can definitively point to Dry FIP until later stages of the disease Thus, late diagnosis of Dry FIP is often the main cause of higher mortality rate when compared to Wet FIP. In the early stages of Dry FIP, lesions develop in cat's kidneys and liver, causing a loss of appetite and physical inactivity. Eventually, the virus enters the central nervous system, causing eyes to become murky (ocular FIP), and body to lose control of movement (neurological FIP), and eventually full paralysis and death.