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stages of FIP?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know what the stages of FIP are, once it's determined that the cat likely is infected?

My little Pix... sweet little thing.... my heart just aches for her. I've posted about her battles with chronic constipation and colitis issues. She's 7 months old. She went in for an enema on the 27th, after not having passed any stool in 2 weeks. The vet found no stool inside her. Only mucous. So we decided to have surgery on the 28th to get biopsies of her colon and intestines, as well as a complete blood workup. Initially I did not want to do this, but the vet initially thought she could have FIP or cancer. What she found was that he colon was EXTREMELY enflamed, and her lymph nodes were very swollen.

Among the initial findings -- her white blood cell count is normal, but her liver enzimes are very high. (The vet also sent a biopsy of her liver, since it had red spots all over). I can't quite recall the rest of the blood work results.

The report from the biopsy came back and said it was 'strongly suggestive of FIP'. However, we are waiting for a second test to 'confirm'.

Meanwhile, she's home and doing relatively better. There is no vomiting, no diarrhea. Except, she's lost weight (she's about 5 pounds, down from 6 a month ago), and she'd developed a sneeze, and what I think is a cough (she swallows hard too) and sometimes has watery eyes. Her eyes are not runny though, and she has no discharge from her nose. She is eating more each day, and drinking more than before the surgery, so her urination output seems normal. She is still quite depressed, although, her eyes are bright and she's alert. She will play a little if I engage her.

Ironically, since I've been giving her Nature's Variety Instinct (Venison), her stool has been perfect -- almost like she never had any stool issues. Go figure.

So of course, I wonder each day if today's the day she's going to start to show signs of extreme weakening, leading to the inevitable. I wonder if there is some sign that will help me know when it's time to let her go. I dread when that moment comes, but I am preparing myself. At the end of the day, I guess it doesn't really matter what the stages of FIP are -- what matters is that I just enjoy every minute with her that I can.

Sorry for the long post. But thanks for reading.
post #2 of 27
Did the Vet say if it was the Dry or Wet form of Fip?
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
The vet really didn't say, and I'm not sure if the report specifically stated. But she doesn't have any swelling in the abdomen, an no fluids in the chest. However, I think she has a slight wease -- but I'm not sure I'd classifiy it as 'difficulty breathing'.

This likely all stemmed from her intestinal issues, which makes me think it's dry. A litter-mate died suddenly after we rescued her from the shelter, and she had similar respiratory issues (sneezing, watery eyes, coughing), but she wasn't around long enough for me to know what her BMs were like.

The other litter-mate, Ty, who is healthy as a horse, also had a slight bowel infection after we brought her home, but she is doing fine now. Almost 9 pounds and is bouncing off the walls.

I suppose if Pix definitely has FIP, I'll have to find out how it can affect Ty.

I'll be talking with the vet tomorrow, so I'll have many questions.
post #4 of 27
I am so sorry your little one has been sick. I pray that it is not FIP and that Pix is going to recover. FIP is very tricky because she could have been exposed to the corona(sp) virus but that doesn't mean she will get the full blown case of FIP. I hope I said that right. There will be others that will explain this better than I am. I did have a cat that had the dry form of FIP and he deteriorated on me pretty fast. Sending healing vibes to Pix

None of my other cats who lived in house contracted the disease
post #5 of 27
This is my Post when Yoshi got Sick if it helps.
Yoshi is sick. He has a terible smell and is losing weight. He looks sick too. We are going to the Vet tomorrow at 10:45. Thanks All,
He is staying at the Vets overnight. He has to have alot of tests and he looks terrible. He is only 8.2 pounds and used to be 14 Pounds Thanks,
They said they will call around 10 today. They are witing for a Thyroid test to come back. They still do not know what it is. Bun and Creatine and Gluclose are high. They will do do Xrays too. They are saying Fip How can he get that he never has been outside. She did say it might be a false Positive. They will try Antibiotics and if they do not work then they said to have him Pts. He is staying there again and is not better at all. He has less then 2 years to live. His Kidneys are full of stones that can not be removed. the only choice is a Transplant at Uc Davis. He didnt qualify for one and he was Pts Jan 11. She was saying Dry Fip. When he was pts he was 5.2 Pounds down from 7.5 Pounds on Dec 21. The Posts are from last May. I hope your Cat gets better. The Vet had given Yoshi 6 Months to 2 Years but he only lasted until Jan.
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
i'm so sorry about your yoshi. how terrible that must have been for you. thank you for your posts. I'm hoping it's something else, and that she'll start to gain weight. But I don't know.
post #7 of 27
I have no experience with the dry form of FIP but lost a cat to the wet form many years ago. Many cats can be exposed to the corona virus without it ever turning into FIP. There are no conclusive tests outside of an autopsy that can prove that a cat has FIP. Be very wary about the advice you are given.

With wet FIP, most cats succumb to it within a few weeks. It is always fatal and happens very fast. With that said, it is highly doubtful that your little girl has wet FIP.

I'm sending positive vibes your way that you can find what is ailing your girl and it is easily treatable.
post #8 of 27
Thanks it was Terriblewatching him get worse. I hope your Cat will be ok
post #9 of 27
To anyone who is dealing with a chronic feline disease, I almost always recommend that they join an existing group of pet parents who are also dealing with that same disease/condition.

There is such a group here http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/FIP/ who are caregivers to FIP cats.

I have not participated in that particular group - I am part of another online group which focuses on kidney failure. Nowhere else have I seen such a level of knowledge and experience as exists in that group. One common conclusion there is that the collective body of practical knowledge far exceeds the level of chronic disease expertise available from many Veterinarians.

You have certainly nothing to lose - you could join, then stand back and watch posts and replies until you decide whether to stay, participate or leave.

For me, it has been an eye-opener.
post #10 of 27
I use to have a Crf Group years ago when Stripe had it. we helped alot of people. I aslo joined some other Crf Groups. I joind a Group for fcks because Oreo has it. I am also in Feline Asthma Groups but they are dead Groups.
post #11 of 27
I am very sorry that you have gotten this bad news about your kitten!

However, I am with those suggesting that you be cautious about the diagnosis. I'd guess that biopsy results are significantly more reliable than blood tests, but unless they are absolutely sure, I would be hesitant to put a cat to sleep before giving it a chance to recover. Sounds like you've changed her diet to a new protein source, which is great. If she's getting better, just see how she does. If she's been through surgery and everything else, it might take her a bit of time to emotionally recover. Until you see her suffering, I would see how it goes. I have never been through this, but most say that the cat will "tell you" when they are ready to go.

My little Zoey has been through a lot in the last 4 weeks, including an FIP diagnosis. At first, I was hesitant to accept the FIP diagnosis, but after doing a lot of research, and seeing her progress, I accepted it. Then, she started getting better and it became evident that she had a broken tail (missed on initial glance at the x-rays). Explained many of her symptoms, but not all. In my opinion, the latest blood work does not indicate FIP. It indicates some other sort of infection, possibly an ear infection (she was treated for ear mites at the vet, but her ears are still really gunky). I never gave my vet the chance to suggest I put her to sleep, but I know he was giving me that possibility by the way he spoke of treatments - he called it palliative care. There was one day that I would have very likely put her to sleep (based on the reports of people I had checking on her, she appeared to be suffering more than I had seen), but luckily I was at work that day and she was much better by the time I got home. Then, her eyes were acting wonky one day and an emergency vet suggested we put her to sleep (despite blood work indicating that she was improving). If I would have PTS on any of these occasions, I would not have seen Zoey walking normally, eating well, playing, and "talking" as she is now. She is not yet back to her old self, but everyday I feel we make a step back toward normal.

The reason I talk about Zoey so in depth is that I truly felt that I needed to give her a chance to recover from everything that was going on with her. FIP is such a difficult disease to diagnose, and there are many treatable things that it could be mistaken for. Make sure you are confident with the diagnosis before making and decisions, and don't put her to sleep because you fear she might get worse. Cross that bridge when you get there. Even if you are expecting the worst, you might be pleasantly surprised by the best!

Do her blood results indicate that she may have FIP? Albumin/Globulin levels, anemia, lymphocytes? FIP titer (not that I'd trust this for anything...)? The more evidence the builds, the more likely the diagnosis.

for you and Pix! Good luck!

Edited: To add to what Blaise said, I joined that particular FIP group when I was dealing with Zoey. Through that, I found http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/FIPCatSupport/ , which gets a bit more activity. I think many of the people posting on these groups are the same. However, they are EXTREMELY helpful. If you post blood and test results, they will help you interpret them. They will give you differentials to check out. They will suggest possible courses of action as well. If Pix does have FIP, they will provide great support for you as her disease progresses. Please check the two groups out!
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
thank you so much for your replies. you don't know how much this has helped me! i am very hesitant to accept a diagnosis of FIP, unless there is plenty of evidence to support it and her symptoms truly deteriorate. Other than this respiratory issue and her slight mailaise, I think she is doing great. She is still very skinny, but I have to remember that she just had major surgery one week ago, and was hardly eating for a week before that. I definitely don't see her suffering, and would surely cross the bridge when we come to it. I am a person who tends to see the worst, so I know I need to remember to focus on the positive and give her time to recover, improve and get better. thank you for helping me to see that.

I'm going to ask the vet to fax me the bloodwork results. It's so hard to remember what they say when you're standing there with this tiny ball of fur in your arms. I don't believe the blood results indicated FIP outright, but the first biopsy report did. I know I want to look at those bloodwork numbers more closely and check out those groups you all posted. Thank you again for posting them.

good vibes to your zoey... it sounds like she is doing much better. thank you for sharing your story.
post #13 of 27
Thank you! I have been on quite the emotional rollercoaster over the last few weeks. I can only imagine how you are feeling right now. Try to keep your spirits up, and stay optimistic. That said, be realistic as well. If FIP is a possibility, you do need to recognize that as well. Hope for the best...and try to rule everything else out...but there are cats who are diagnosed with FIP and do succomb to it. There are also cats that are diagnosed with FIP and survive.

I'm saying this because I know I would just accept the very likely possibility of FIP and grieve for Zoey while she was still here with me (I think I went through a whole box of tissues on the first day the term FIP was mentioned - the next day, I woke up determined to help Zoey fight). Then, I would find some sort of information about an alternative idea, and get my hopes up. Then, when that didn't pan out, or when she would have a bad day, I felt like I was starting from square 1 all over again and be devastated. As I said, it is an emotional rollercoaster and you just have to take it as it comes!

If you haven't already, you may want to get a second opinion. We are actually on Zoey's 3rd vet. Still, I feel that he has the idea of FIP in his head because she came with that diagnosis from the other vet. I really don't think that if he was given her latest blood work initially and FIP hadn't been mentioned, it would not be on the top of his list. I like this vet, so I'm trying to stick with him, but I would stongly advise that you have at least 2 vets's opinions on this!

I'm not an expert by any means, but if you have any questions, feel free to PM me or send me an email (you can see my messages about Zoey on the yahoo groups).

post #14 of 27
With Willow, who died as a result of dry FIP, her primary symptoms were eating less and then not eating at all, along with moving less and less. Ultrasound showed spots on her liver and spleen as well as an enlarged lymph node. Her bloodwork was also consistent with FIP. Despite that, I kept hunting for other possibilities and used supportive therapy (B12 injections and a feeding tube) to try to keep her strength up. Unfortunately, she succombed to the disease about 5 weeks after I had taken her in to the vet--that first vet visit was because I didn't think she was eating enough. She never really had any other symptoms until the very end. I agree with Zoeysmom--prepare for the worst while hoping for the best and doing research on other possibilities. FIP is nearly impossible to diagnose with certainity (Willow's case was confirmed after she passed), and the symptoms are often non-specific, so it's worthwhile to rule out other possibilities.
post #15 of 27
Also, I'm not sure how specific the biopsies from the intestines are for FIP. Do you know where the samples were sent or which test was performed? A titer test would not be able to distinguish between FCoV and FIP, where as PCR may be more useful. While the intestinal biopsy may have been useful in ruling out some other issues, like IBD or lymphoma, I don't know whether it can be used to definitively rule in FIP.

post #16 of 27
Typix, I sent you a PM..

post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
hi everyone.... i wanted to give an update on Pix. after I posted last, she started to get a little better. Was eating more, and even had some energy to play on her own. After the sugergy, the vet had her on Amoxacillan and some steroids (pred), but she developed that sneeze. So, when I took her back for a checkup on the 1st, the vet said to stop giving her the steroid, as it might have been lowering her immune system to fight the respiratory issue.

After we did that, he seemed to perk up a lot. The sneezing has stopped for the most part, and she definitely has no runny eyes or nose. (She's taking Clavamax now, instead of Amox).

The only thing now is this hard swallowing that she's doing. She does it sometimes, and I'm not sure what would cause it. The vet suggested we try to give the Clavamax through the side of her teeth, rather than opening her mouth to give the meds.

She hasn't been weighed since the 2nd, when she was down to 5 pounds, but I think she's even gained a little. The side of her body doesn't seem to cave in like it did after the sugery. The vet gave us a few cans of a/d to try, because she said it was high cal/fat. So I'm giving her that, along with the NV-Venison and whatever dry she wants. She sometimes walks away from the wet food I give her, but with a little persistence, she'll eat it all. (She's always been a slow eater). She's not as depressed as she was either, she moves around, jumps in the windows, on the counters, cleans herself and rolls around to have her belly rubbed.

Thanks to everyone for the vibes and suggestions. I'm hoping that these are all good signs. Keep your fingers cross that we are almost through the woods.
post #18 of 27
Originally Posted by typix View Post
...She's not as depressed as she was either, she moves around, jumps in the windows, on the counters, cleans herself and rolls around to have her belly rubbed...
post #19 of 27
I hope she is getting better. Sometimes they get better slowly.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
This morning she was sneezing again. I thought she was starting to get through this. Her eating has slowed down again. I'm trying to get her to eat a full can of wet food a day, but she's probably only getting about a half can. (Some is Science Diet a/d and some is NV Instinct-Venison). Plus I have some dry Evo down that she nibbles on sometimes. I'm not sure how much she should be eating between the wet and dry. I do think she gained a little weight in the last 10 days, but the last few days she's been walking away from the wet food and I have to follow her around. I have a syringe, but I'm not sure if that would help.
post #21 of 27
You might ask the vet whether it would be beneficial to try giving lysine--if the sneezes are caused by a feline herpes infection, it could help. It sounds like she may be congested, and that can often cause a cat to eat less, either because it is hard to eat and breath and the same time or because they can't smell the food. You can try gently heating the food for a few seconds in the microwave to enhance the aroma, and you may want to try putting her in a steamy room or using a humidifier to help clear her nose. Actually, saline nose drops might help too.
post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 
thanks for the suggestions. I'll talk to the vet about that.

The eating thing is getting really exhausting. Especially since Ty will eat the kitchen table if I let her, so it's hard to leave Pix's food down without Ty gobbling it all up . And leaving Pix in a separate room is tough, because she only eats a tiny bit, then goes and sits in a corner until I come back and coax her to eat some more. Every night, I am just consumed with following her around trying to get her to eat more. She eats, but just in small doses. Maybe it is the congestion that's making her not want to eat much.

I used to leave Pix's food on the counter and she would jump up there and get it, but since the surgery, she doesn't jump that high. And I'm not sure she'd do it even if she could, because she just doesn't seem to be hungry.
post #23 of 27
When Willow stopped eating, I tried syringe feeding but found it very stressful for both of us. I finally asked the vet to insert a feeding tube--it's a very quick operation, and it was much, much easier to get food into her after that. While it didn't help her recover since her condition was terminal, I knew she wasn't starving. For cats who do recover from their condition, the feeding tube can be easily removed by a vet. It may be something to consider.
post #24 of 27
If it IS the dry form of FIP, Pix will alternate between having her "good" days and "bad" days. That's the way it was (and still is to some degree) before Geronimo & Winchester were put on the Interferon..

I'll continue to hope & pray for Pix to get better..

post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
For those of you that have been following along (thank you, by the way), we received new information from the vet today. After a second test was done on the biopsy, she said the results strongly suggest FIP.

I don't understand this. I know that there isn't a test that can accurately diagnose this. She agreed that there was a chance this wasn't FIP, but said the chances were slim.

I just don't understand how vets can diagnose something, at the same time knowing that a specific diagnosis is not possible. It's so frustrating.

Pix, meanwhile, has been doing a little better. Even though she's still reserved, she jumps and plays a little. She even runs to the kitchen when she's hungry. Granted she's not eating as much as I want her to, but she is eating.
post #26 of 27
I hope she feels better. Fip was never proved with Yoshi either.
post #27 of 27
Here are some positive vibes. I am going through the exact same thing with my little Babe. One day I think she is doing better the next I am not sure. I am hoping for the best. Babe did gain a pound and a half this last week so I am hoping this is a very positive sign. She likes her dry food and will like off all the sauce or juices of soft food. She won't eat as much soft food compared to dry food. I am thinking of you and your kitty and will hope for the best.
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