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Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral infectious disease that is still frequently fatal. The viruses responsible are caused by a mutation of harmless corona viruses (FCoV), which are widespread in the cat population and are transmitted through saliva and faeces. The exact reasons for this mutation are not yet fully understood, but stress and population density are considered the main risk factors for viral mutation.

Depending on the virus alteration, a distinction is made between the wet and the dry form of FIP. For the wet form, abdominal dropsy is typical, which is accompanied by progressive emaciation and a simultaneously thick, fluid-filled abdomen. In the dry form of FIP, there is an inflammation of the internal organs (liver, kidney, spleen, etc.) with episodes of fever and sometimes breathing difficulties. Because the typical fluid accumulations are missing here, the diagnosis is much more difficult than with the wet form. Both forms can also merge into one another.

Attempts at treatment are purely symptomatic and have so far usually not been satisfactory due to poor tolerance or insufficient efficacy, so that the affected cats usually had to be euthanised. Since 1995, a vaccine has been available which is instilled into the cat’s nose from the age of 16 weeks. It is recommended to vaccinate only animals that have not yet been in contact with FCoV, otherwise the efficacy is limited. So far, no approved drugs have been available in FIP therapy, but this could soon change with the recently published study by LMU Munich (Krentz et al.2021).