Feline infectious peritonitis

CORONAVIRUS INFECTION IN CATS (feline infectious peritonitis, corona virus enteritis)

General Information

Feline corona viruses include those that cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and those that cause only a mild intestinal disease (corona virus enteritis). The viruses are not the same, but they cannot be differentiated by the current blood test. A positive blood test will alert the doctor to the possibility of these diseases, and a negative test will help rule them out. Blood tests have value in the overall diagnosis and evaluation of your pet’s illness.

Feline infectious peritonitis is relatively uncommon and generally fatal. It occurs primarily in cats between 6 months and 5 years of age. Two forms of FIP occur: (1) a disease of the lining of the abdominal and/or chest cavities, in which massive fluid accumulations occur (“wet” FIP), and (2) a disease of various organs, such as the lymph nodes, kidneys, eyes and brain (“dry” FIP).

Feline enteric corona viruses cause mild intestinal disease in kittens up to 12 weeks. The infection is common and probably exists in most homes with more than one cat. It may recur throughout the cat’s life but is rarely serious.

Higher risk situations

Cat is permitted to go outdoors Cat lives in household with one or more cats that may be exposed or infected

Factors in the decision to vaccinate

Is it in one of the higher risk situations, especially frequent contact with other cats?


Preventative vaccine is available for FIP

Currently, vaccines are not available for the prevention of feline corona virus infection.

Premises where FIP-affected cats have been kept should be treated with a disinfectant and left cat-free for some time. Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations.

Important Points in Treatment

The prognosis for cats with FIP is poor. Most authorities consider the disease incurable. Treatment may ease your cat’s discomfort and prolong life for a short time.

The prognosis for cats with corona virus enteritis is excellent. It is a self-limiting, mild diarrheal disease.

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