FIP in cats: Some tips

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FIP in cats: Tips what you can do

  The program for cattery rescue was developed together with the University for veterinary medicine in Vienna.



About Feline Infectious Peritonitis FIP

There will be no talk about, what FIP is, because that you can read better in every literature. For information, what FIP is and how it develops by mutation of corona viruses, the following sites present very useful information:


Do tests make any sense ?

This is a questions which is raised very often.
As it is known, up to now there is no reliable test, which can be done in before hand like the tests for FeLV or FIV. The so called anti-body titer tests only test for the presence of feline corona viruses FCoV and have been and are still widely and irrationally used as tests against FIP.
Corona viruses are always present in every cat, and their amount is higher if the cat has any inflammation or had a problem with diarrhoea.
Anti-body titer tests might be only useful if the veterinarian wants to proof his diagnosis that a cat is already ill from FIP.
When reading about the anti-body titer tests in the above mentioned articles, it turns out pretty soon, that it does not make any sense to use the anti-body titer test to test a cat against FIP which does not show any signs being suspicious of FIP.

So do not spend money unnecessarily with the anti-body titer test.

Great hope is still laid on the so called Polymerase Chain Reaction test, shortly called PCR test, which tests the presence of the virus itself. But this test mostly has to be done by a VetMed university.

What can be done to rescue a cattery from FIP ?

If a cat died from FIP there is no reason to give up, but a lot of patience to wait will be needed.

Build groups of negative tested and positive tested cats

As it is common knowledge, the virus causing FIP decreases over the time. The estimated time is between 18 months and 35 months, until FIP has disappeared completely.

  • Build groups by separating the positive from the negative cats.
    If it is possible to have the PCR test done by the university, all the cats should be tested in the first run and groups should be built by separating the positive from the negative cats.
    If there is only the anti-body titer test available, never the less, make use of it to separate the sero-positive from the sero-negative cats.
  • One test series is not enough, the test should be repeated every 6-8 weeks.
  • Keep the negative tested cats strictly separated from the positive tested cats.
  • All cats which are one time negative and on the second test positive should be separated into a separated group.
  • Keep only twice tested positive cats together in one group and do the same with the twice tested negative cats. The rest, which is once positive and then negative tested are kept in a separate group.

When this grouping of cats is done, three groups are built, and the test series is repeated every 6-8 weeks.
And sooner or later all the cats will be negative over the time, because the virus decreases by itself. You must be only a little bit patient and wait.

Rear kittens isolated from the mother cat

Kittens get the necessary protection through the milk they suck from their mom. But the protection and immunity against diseases will be only in the first 4-5 weeks. After this time the kitten will not be fully immune against diseases.

Therefore the kitten have to be separated latest with 5 weeks age, best with 4 weeks age to be on the safe side. They have to be reared isolated in a separate room.
With this method you will get 100% FIP free kitten and the whole cattery can be rescued over the time, if this procedure is repeated with all the litters within the next 2 - 2,5 years.

Hygiene in the cattery is the most important

When the cats are separated and groups are built, their dishes and their litter boxes must be kept strictly separated from each other.
The virus causing FIP cannot survive very long outside of its host, the virus dies within minutes. The virus can be killed easily by using any normal disinfectant which one can buy in any pharmacy.

  • So before the dishes are put into your dish washer they shall be disinfected.
  • Disinfectants shall be used when cleaning the floors.
  • Disinfectants shall be used when cleaning the litter boxes of the cats.
  • Litter boxes of the cats must be cleaned every day.
  • Disinfect your hands and shoes after touching cats of the "positive" group. The veterinarian does simply the same, he disinfects his hands every time after each animal he has treated, otherwise a lot of cats would be already infected with FIP.
  • Visits to other people's home who have animals, shall be avoided whenever possible. When coming home, the cloths shall be changed and shall be put into the washing machine, disinfectant shall be used for rinsing, shoes and hands must be disinfected.

Keep the stress level in the cattery to the absolute minimum

This is the most important thing one can do. Researches done on FIP have found out, the lower the stress level is the faster the virus level decreases.
Every death of a cat increases the virus level and it will take longer to decrease the virus level.

Avoid any stress for the cattery:

  • NO NEW ANIMALS shall be introduced into the cattery, every new animal increases the stress for the other cats and increases the virus level.
  • All the males shall be neutered, if they are not really needed for breeding, only very few might be not neutered. Unneutered males shall be kept separated from each other, every fight increases the stress level and the virus level.
  • NO BREEDING. Every pregnancy and delivery is an enormous stress for the cats and multiplies the virus level in the cattery. Thus the queens shall be calmed down, a hormone shot shall be administered when they come into heat. Even there might remain the risk that a queen will not be able to breed any longer after the hormone shots, what is more important "breeding or living" ? If the lives of the cats can be saved, the risks of hormone treatments must be taken.
  • NO SHOWS for any cat. Every show is a stress for the cats and increases the virus level. Besides, it would be very unfair to all the other cats in a show which could be infected by your cat.
  • The amount of cats shall be reduced. It is not easy to place cats and give them away, which one loves and on which one has spent so much time and money. But, a new home where the cat is single, might save the life of this cat and all the other cats remaining at home.

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