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Need crash course in FIP

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DocMac

Guest
#1
Vet suspects our new SBT kitten, 4 mo. Old with FIP. His belly is swollen, he's been on prednisolone for a week. He's home, eating, purring, drinking, not playing.
 

admin

Paige
Staff member
#2
Wow, Johanna, I'm so sorry!!! hang tight and Per, Patti, Lori, trish, Pam or Brigitte or any of the other breeders will be able to help you. I'm not experienced with FIP, so would only be able to give you conjecture.
 

Pam Flachs

Savannah Super Cat
#4
...sometimes kittens can have a very bad case of worms that can cause a large belly with lethargy...has your vet ruled that out?
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#5
Johanna, I'm sorry to hear that your kitten may have FIP. This is a really nasty disease and is almost 100% fatal, although there is a has been some success with the use of feline interferon; and I think I have heard of a newer, more effective therapy as well, but can't remember for sure. Probably the most up-to-date and accurate source to learn about FIP is Dr. Addie's website: http://www.dr-addie.com/ There are also Yahoo groups that deal specifically with FIP as well. I don't know how accessible feline interferon is in the US these days but your vet should know, and if not I'll bet someone on the FIP lists will know how to get it.
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/FIP/
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/FIPCatSupport/

I would strongly encourage you first to confirm that you really are dealing with FIP - there are other conditions that can mimic the disease such as heart failure, liver failure, or even kidney failure, and vet's seem to jump to the FIP diagnosis too quickly. The only way to know for sure is to run a PCR test for FeCOV (the virus that mutates into FIP) on the peritoneal fluid that is accumulating in the kitten's abdomen. Cats will typically test positive for FeCOV in the stool but not in other places/body cavities.

Is this a kitten of your own breeding? If so, you should watch the littermates closely and if you sell them, be sure to disclose that one of the littermates has FIP. There is not always a genetic connection, but sometimes there is. Dr. Addie's site will help you understand how to protect the other kittens. If this is a kitten from someone else's breeding you need to be sure and let them know of the diagnosis so that they can do the same. I have only had one kitten ever die of FIP, her littermates and parents were all fine, but it was several months before I felt it was safe to breath a sigh of relief.

Good luck with your baby, I will be praying for you both!
 
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DocMac

Guest
#7
...sometimes kittens can have a very bad case of worms that can cause a large belly with lethargy...has your vet ruled that out?
Yes, she checked for worms.We have sent the effusion sample to Virginia Tech vet school for confirmation, but it looked yellow like FIP.
 

Wyldthingz

Savannah Super Cat
#8
Vet suspects our new SBT kitten, 4 mo. Old with FIP. His belly is swollen, he's been on prednisolone for a week. He's home, eating, purring, drinking, not playing.
Have they tapped his swollen belly to test the fluid or are they just saying this. Many vets randomly throw out that term on conjecture. Usually the fluid is straw colored and sticky. Often, the kitten has chronic URI or look unwell but they can be heathly young cats that suddenly will go down hill.

Usually FIP takes them quite swiftly but if they are older, it can go on for a while. I don't know much about dry FIP which is a different version of the same virus.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#9
I completely agree with Patti about making SURE of this diagnosis! It is so easy for a vet to just throw out FIP as possible diagnosis!

You mention a swollen belly, is it fluid or ??? Has an xray or ultrasound had a look there? If fluid is there, the BEST way to diagnose (other than necropsy) is to draw that fluid. Simple testing of ALB/GLOB will give you an indication but you should be able to PCR test for the virus, and if the virus is present inside the cat (outside of the gastrointestinal system) then that is pretty diagnostic. If NOT, then there are many other conditions that might present that way.

Why is the kitten on prednisolone? What was the reason for that?

Is this a kitten you have recently brought home or was it born at your home? If born with you, are the other littermates thriving?

I hate to worry you but purring is NOT an indication that everything is okay. Although kitties purr when contented, they ALSO purr when in pain :-( Or stressed and needing reassurance. Not wanting to play is concerning as I have had Savannahs one step from death trying to play with a toy... one particular girl was 12 hours from collapsing with a clinical WBC count of ZERO and still leaping for a wand toy. Eating and drinking well is a good sign though!

PLEASE keep us updated!
 

Per Lausund

Moderator
Staff member
#10
FIP is definitely a diagnosis that needs confirmation, but isolate your kitten from the others in the meantime: even though FIP is not supposed to transmit readily between cats, keep your sick cat isolated and practice good hygiene. The cause of FIP is probably a mutated enteric (corona) virus, but the non-mutated form will spread between the animals. Lots of cats are carriers, and it´s almost impossible to find them, but reducing transmission always helps even though the virus, as mentioned, needs to mutate to cause FIP. You may also want to test for FeLV!
Best of luck! And yes, keep us updated.

Some more to read:
http://manhattancats.com/Articles/fip_testing.html
http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/56900.htm&word=FIP