You may have heard of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) but aren’t sure exactly what FIP is, or maybe you’re wondering what are symptoms of FIP in cats?
FIP is a viral disease that affects cats all over the world whether they are domestic or wild.
There is a type of virus called the feline coronavirus, and it’s certain strains of this virus that causes FIP.
There are also ‘wet,’ and ‘dry’ forms of the virus. Each has different symptoms and effects cats differently as I will explain in this article.
What Are Symptoms of FIP in Cats?
There are usually no obvious symptoms at first when a cat has been exposed to feline coronavirus so it’s not always obvious they have it.
Once symptoms start however, some cats may have labored breathing, sneezing, have some nasal discharge or watery eyes.
All the kinds of symptoms you’d expect to see with a flu type virus or allergic reaction to something. So it’s easy to pass it off as something like this at first.
Sometimes cats will show all the signs of intestinal issues too. Such as losing weight, being weak, not looking after themselves or grooming, and they will start looking really sickly and messy.
The thing to remember is that only a small percentage of cats will develop FIP after being exposed to the feline coronavirus. This can also take any length of time from days to years.
There are also two types of FIP; Effusive Wet FIP and Noneffusive Dry FIP. The symptoms of each of these are as follows:
If a cat has developed Wet FIP, the most common symptoms that show first are typically:
- Stomach and eye ulcers
- Neurological problems
- Breathing issues
The disease causes a build up of fluid in their abdomen and you’ll be able to see the swelling as it develops.
This fluid starts to make it difficult for the cat to breathe and starts causing damage to their internal organs.
If a cat has developed Dry FIP, the most common symptoms that show first are typically:
- The need to drink and pass more fluid
- Weakness and even paralysis
- Changes in personality
There isn’t the obvious swelling with Dry FIP, but all of those symptoms will cause a cat to deteriorate quickly and you’ll notice they are very sick.
Is There a Cure for FIP?
The sad news is that there is no known cure for FIP. Once your cat has been diagnosed with FIP your vet may prescribe something that offers some short-term remission, but there is no cure.
The treatment plan is usually to provide the best care and support for your cat as you can. Making their time as happy and as comfortable as possible.
It’s a traumatic time, and not one you should experience alone. Don’t be slow to lean on your support network of friends and family for help.
How to Minimize the Your Cat’s Risk of FIP
FIP is most commonly passed from cat to cat via inhaling or coming into contact with the feces or saliva of the infected cat or items they have come into contact with.
If you know of an infected cat you need to keep cat’s that aren’t infected well away from the cat and any objects they come in contact with.
If you have multiple cats then it’s good practice to keep your cats’ living areas as clean as possible to minimize the risk of a number of diseases.
Keep their vaccinations up-to-date, especially when they are kittens. Feed them a well-balanced diet with good quality branded foods, and of course – give them plenty of fun and love!
How Long Can a Cat Live with FIP?
Once the symptoms have started to emerge and your vet has confirmed your cat has FIP you can expect them to live anywhere from a few days to a year depending on the severity of the disease and how long they’ve had it.
Wet FIP generally has a shorter life-expectancy that the Dry strain on the disease. But both are fatal and even spending another year with your cat is rare.