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How to Identify Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) in Cats

Updated: 3 days ago

fip cats test

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is a serious and often fatal illness in cats caused by Feline Coronavirus (FCoV). Early detection and treatment are crucial to ensuring the best possible outcome and recovery of affected cats. This article will discuss the steps you can take to identify FIP in your cat.

Symptoms of FIP Cats

FIP symptoms can vary great inly, depending on the form of the virus. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Abdominal swelling

  • Coughing

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Fluid accumulation in the chest or abdominal cavity

Diagnostic Tests for FIP Cats

There is no single test that can conclusively determine if your cat has contracted Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus (FIPV).  However, these tests do alert medical professionals to potential infections by detecting the antigen inside your cat's body fluid and faecal matters. Experienced veterinarians use these tests, along with experience and trained eyes to determines the likelihood of an FIPV infection. 

1. Titre Test

A titre test measures the level of antibodies circulating in the blood. These antibodies are produced when pathogens such as viruses or bacterias produce a response from the immune system. You can read more about the titre test here.

2. Histopathology

An examination of samples of whole tissues, and is performed on a solid piece of tissue that has been collected surgically. The piece of tissue is prepared through a process called histology by preserving, thinly slicing or sectioning, and staining the tissue sample with dyes.

Once prepared, the tissue sections are examined under the microscope by a veterinary pathologist. Histopathology focuses on the architecture of the tissue.

The accuracy of a diagnosis is usually high. A veterinary pathologist can often offer an opinion on the likely course of the disease, called a prognosis.  This information helps your veterinarian to decide the best course of treatment for your pet. You can read more about this testing process here.

3. Rivalta Test 

A simple yet useful test to determine the WET form of FIP. The test is performed by collecting sample fluid from the cat’s abdominal or chest cavity, adding it to a test tube filled with distilled water and one drop of 98% acetic acid. You can see a video of Rivalta Test performed here.

fip cat test

4. Blood Test

A blood test is the most comprehensive test used to determine the likelihood of a FIP viral infection in cats. The white blood cells might be low, normal or high, depending on how long the Feline Infectious Peritonitis viruses have been present, and if other problems also exist. The red blood cell count might be normal or low (anemia). The biochemistry profile commonly reveals an increase in total protein and globulins. This increase is caused by the inflammatory process occurring as the cat's body responds to the virus. veterinarians often look at A:G ratios as the first sign of potential FIP infection in cats.

FIP Cats
This sample blood report showing an increase of Total Protein and Globulin (hyperglobulinemia) in a FIP positive cat.

Treatment for FIP

FIP was once considered a death sentence for cats. However, with the availability of GS-441524 treatment, the prognosis for FIP cats has greatly improved. This treatment has been proven effective in treating FIP, and it is now possible for cats with FIP to lead long and healthy lives. If you suspect that your cat has FIP, it is important to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure prompt and effective treatment.

Diagnostic treatment When the condition arises where all of the diagnostic tests do not clearly indicate if a cat is FIP likely, but the cat is exhibiting FIP symptoms, a diagnostic treatment will be recommended. Diagnostic treatment, which is to give the cat FIP treatment for about 2 weeks - and determine if the cat is responding well to the treatment.

2 scenarios:

  • Cat responds well to the treatment, this will confirm the FIP of the cat and the treatment will need to be completed in 84 days.

  • Cat does not respond to the treatment- this shows that the drug is not helping the cat and it is likely the cat does not have FIP, further diagnosis will be advised.

Conclusion In conclusion, FIP is a serious illness that can have a devastating impact on cats. By understanding the symptoms and diagnostic tests for FIP, you can take the necessary steps to protect your cat from this serious condition. If you suspect your cat has FIP, we recommend consulting us at Basmi FIP via WhatsApp for further information on treatment options. If you want to discuss more about FIP Virus and its treatment, you can contact us on Facebook or visit our Instagram to get in touch with our expert team.


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