Feline Infectious Peritonitis FAQ

PLEASE NOTE: This FAQ is dated 1995. There are no plans to update this reference. I believe the materials to still be useful to cat owners, but I recommend you do an Internet search, such as at www.google.com on Feline Infectious Peritonitis to gather more current information. A good place to start is http://web.vet.cornell.edu/public/fhc/fip.html.


The main author of this FAQ is Erin Miller [ermiller@dgsys.com]. However, this FAQ could never have been written without the information, editing, re-writing and general encouragement of Norman Auspitz [L13264%M9RSCS.GESNINET@GE1VM.SCHDY.GE.COM]. Also thanks to Lorraine Shelton [Lorraine_Shelton_at_HYL101@ccmailgw.mcgawpark.baxter.com] for her advice and references.

The purpose of this FAQ is to answer frequently asked questions about Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), which is one of the most difficult diseases in the feline community today. This FAQ is divided into two parts, the first is general information about the disease, and the second is about management of FIP in a multi-cat and cattery environment. The sources for this FAQ are listed at the end, as well as some additional recommended readings. Recently an excellent source of information on FIP has become available on the WWW as well. This article is much more technical and many cat owners may find it much more dense than this FAQ.


I want to point out first and foremost that I am not a veterinarian, nor even a person who has training in animal science such as a veterinary technician. I am a graduate student of physical anthropology, and an ailurophile. My goal with these FAQs is to take information from the medical literature and convey the parts that are most useful to the average cat owner and translate them into general terms that are easy to understand. I attempted to keep the FAQ as untechnical as possible, but unfortunately with such a complex disease that becomes very difficult. I hope this prooves to be of some usefulness. Also keep in mind that this disease is one of the most controversial subjects in feline health care. This is not a definitive guide to FIP, but only an attempt to compile the most current information. Ideally the reader of this FAQ should use this as a starting point when discussing FIP with their veterinarian. Vets and breeders will hold a wide variety of opinions on this disease, some of which may be based on current information, some of which may be based on hearsay and anecdotal evidence. You can only do your best to become as educated as possible and make your decisions on the course of treatment or preventive care. Always remember, your cats is YOUR responsibility, and no one, not your vet, not a breeder, not a friend-who-knows-everything-there-is-to-know-about-cats, nor the writer of an internet FAQ can force you do take an action that you don't feel comfortable with. Do what you think is best for your cat. Period.


To begin and unfortunately in sum: There is NO effective treatment, there is NO diagnostic test, there is NO way to positively identify asymptomatic carriers (cats which shed the virus, but do not themselves show outward signs of illness), the incubation time is UNKNOWN, NO one is 100% sure of how it is spread between cats, and there is NO proven effective way to control its spread in a multi-cat household or cattery. So what is known? Read on.

PART I: General Information about FIP

I've heard FIP is like AIDS. Can I catch AIDS or anything else from it?

So what *is* FIP?

What are the symptoms of FIP?

What are the differences between FIP and FECV?

Is my cat at high risk?

How is it transmitted?

If the virus can last so long on dry surfaces, what happens if I unknowingly come in contact with a cat with FIP? Can I give it to my cats?

Is there a test?

What about the vaccine?

So are these the only test results?

So that is Cornell's opinion, are there any other points of view?

What is a seropositive cat?

Have there been any more recent studies?

So what does this all mean?

My vet believes that my cat has FIP, what is the best thing to do?

PART II: Multi-Cat Household/Cattery Management

I have a lot of cats, what can I do to keep the risk of FIP down?

What if one of my cats if pregnant?

Is there any evidence for this?

That sounds absolutely ridiculous! Who would go through all that?


Additional Readings:

This article is Copyright (c) 1995 by [ ermiller@dgsys.com]
All rights reserved, please ask about redistribution.