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Experiences with FIP....

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone!

I just got a diagnoses of FIP for one of my three beautiful cats. I just took off from work because the vet told my husband our kitty was dying and it is contagious. I am devastated, he is just 11 months old. I am just starting my research, but what are your experiences with this disease?
post #2 of 18
Do you mean fip?
I had a cat with that if you do.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
I do mean FIP, sorry. thank you for your quick response!! any information would be appreciated!

we love him so much and have started to calm down a little bit, especially since my husband came home. we have antibiotics, the vet didn't say if it was dry or wet, but said that he had weeks - months to live and when he starts showing pain we should put him down.

post #4 of 18
Did the vet sayif its wet or dry fip?
I was told my Yoshi had dry.
He also had kidney stones taht could noy be removed.
Even a pos fip test dosemt mean your cat has it.
The vet told me that with Yoshi also.
I have his mom and she is fine and so are my other cats.
They were all near Yoshi.
Sadly i lost him Jan 11 last year after fighting it for 8 months.
post #5 of 18
I had a cat die from FIP. He was 8 months old. It was so very sad and hard to go through. He had the wet form. He was full of fluid and very sick. My vet recommended that I put him to sleep, as with the wet form, most cats don't live. I agreed with him and had him put down. I only had him for a short time but I still to this day miss him. He was my first Ragdoll cat. I now have three. Before I brought another kitten home I disinfected my entire home. I scrubed the carpeting, got new dishes,ect. If I had it to do all over again today I am not sure if I would have put him to sleep so quickly. You can't tell for sure that a cat has FIP until they die. My vet checked the fluid in his abdomen and from the levels of certain things came to FIP. Ask you vet what he recommends. Keep you cat away from the others, as I have heard of entire litters dying from FIP. Good luck. I will say a prayer that things go well for you and your cat.
post #6 of 18
I've asked zoeysmom to "drop by"....she's my own "personal expert" on TCS for FIP.

Meantime, you could have a read of one of her earlier posts.
post #7 of 18
I am very sorry that you have gotten an FIP diagnosis. It's a horrible disease.

What is your vet's diagnosis based on? You didn't mention what symptoms your cat (what is his name?) is displaying that is resulting in this diagnosis. If you don't know whether it is wet or dry FIP, I'm guessing there is no fluid buildup in his abdomen or chest (that would indicate wet FIP).

One thing you must know about FIP is that it cannot be conclusively diagnosed except throught necropsy. What tests have been conducted?

My cat Zoey was diagnosed with dry FIP back in March and was put to sleep in April. I do not believe she had FIP, but I found that since no one could figure out what was actually wrong with her, they overly relied on the FIP diagnosis and missed what was actually the problem (like a broken tail...missed at the vet's first glance at an x-ray).

Do not let this be a death sentence for your cat....at least not until you know more about his case. Please take the time to read the posts that I have written about FIP in other threads. It has been a while since I lost Zoey and my memory about everything is starting to wane - but these posts were written when I was much more "on my game" about FIP.

PM me if you have any questions! I will try to keep an eye on this thread!

that things turn around...

Edited to add: FIP is not contagious. Coronavirus is, but chances are if your 3 cats have been living together, they are all infected with that. Not a huge deal - most cats are! FIP results from a mysterious mutation of coronavirus that occurs INSIDE the cat. Do not worry too much about your other cats. If your vet is insisting that FIP is contagious...it is time for a second opinion (which I would recommend anyway).


I'm going to copy and paste what I said recently in another thread. I hope it helps. Make sure you rule out other possibilities (toxoplasmosis, bartonella, etc.). I guess hope for the best, but expect the worse. Get a second opinion. Zoey hasn't been doing well the last couple of days (likely because she was taken off the antibiotics despite a very high white blood cell count)), but I still feel like the research and effort I have put into her is worth it. FIP is a very tricky diagnosis - and my experience thus far is that once they get that label, it's hard to get new vets to ignore it, even if blood results aren't indicating it. Zoey is very sick....but I don't think she has FIP. That said, there are lots of cats who are diagnosed with FIP and do actually have it. It's a very fine line, but I think as long as your cat has some fight in her, you need to give her a chance.

for you and Babe. I truly hope this is not FIP and that she is doing better!


"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.

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!"

Having just gone through a suspected case of FIP with my 8 month old kitten (we have put her to sleep, but I still do not believe she had FIP), I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I have definitely done plenty of research and have plenty of advice for those facing an FIP "diagnosis".

The first thing you should know (and I wouldn't be surprised if the vet approved literature didn't tell you this) is that FIP is very difficult to diagnose, especially the dry form. It is often misdiagnosed. The only definitive way of diagnosising FIP is through autopsy. This is not to say that your cat does not have FIP. But, there have been many cats who have been "diagnosed" with FIP and lived for years after. Whether they had FIP or not, who knows.

So, my first question to ask the vet would be what are they basing the diagnosis on. I'm hoping they have done blood work. If they are diagnosing FIP without doing blood work, find another vet...immediately.

Things they might see in symptoms (you will notice these symptoms match many other cat illnesses):
- lethargy
- weight loss (often over a long period of time, before symptoms are noticed)
- inappetance
- neurological symptoms (loss of balance/coordination, tremors)
- occular problems (uveitis, inflammation in eye, etc)
- persistent fever that typically does not respond to antibiotics (your cat's immune system is in overdrive)

Things they might see on blood work:
- low albumin to globulin ratio (these are blood proteins and aren't always included in standard blood work, you may have to ask for them to check this - and check it everytime you do blood work)
- high globulin (usually, the low a:g ratio is caused by high globulin - there is a test that can check which globulins are high, and "gamma globulins" are usually eleveated with FIP)
- high neutrophils (a type of white blood cell)
- low lymphocites (your vet might refer to this as "lymphopenia")
- high coronavirus titer (this is usually a separate test...and again, if your vet is basing the FIP diagnosis purely on a high coronavirus titer, find another vet - most cats will be positive for this...it DOES NOT mean they have FIP, but it is a possibility (if the test was negative, then FIP would be ruled out))
- anemia

None of these things, in isolation, tells you it is FIP. The more of them that accumulate, the more likely FIP is. However, there are a lot of diseases that FIP mimics and causes similar symptoms/blood work values.

I would suggest joining this group: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/FIPCatSupport/

I would say a couple of them are "experts" on FIP. If you post your cat's blood results there (just ask your vet for a copy), they will help you interpret them. I will look out for your post!

My best suggestion would be to be sure you ASK QUESTIONS and DO RESEARCH (search FIP, as well as your cat's symptoms to see what else could cause those). You are already on the right path by coming here and trying to find out more. I would also recommend a second opinion. My experience is that once a vet has FIP in their mind, it's hard to change it. Find a reputable vet in your area and take your cat and his blood work there for a second peak. They may very well say FIP as well, but at least you gave it a shot. I wouldn't even be afraid to ask for a third opinion, if you still weren't comfortable with the diagnosis. I had 3 vets say FIP about Zoey - and I KNOW 2 of them based that information solely on the "diagnosis" of the first vet. Had they looked at her most recent blood work, FIP would not have been on the top of their list (for the record, I believe she had an severe infection that became harder to fight after she broke her tail, somehow - a broken tail that was MISSED on the first look at the x-rays because the vet was so set on FIP).

Without knowing what other symptoms your cat has and what his/her blood values are, I can't give you a whole lot more information at the moment about other possibilities. There are a lot of them, however, and posting some info about your cat would be helpful.

The one thing that strikes me is that your cat responded well to antibiotics. From my understanding, FIP should not respond to antibiotics, unless it is fighting a secondary infection (which could certainly be the case). FIP is caused by a virus, not a bacteria. Standard treatment for FIP is prednisone and antibiotic (antibiotic only because prednisone supresses the immune system). Be careful with prednisone - if your vet puts your cat on it, and he/she does not have FIP, but some other infection instead, prednisone could worsen the infection.

Please do not write your cat off yet. And certainly don't let your vet write him/her off either!

I hope this helps a bit! I know it is very hard to get such bad news and to feel there is no way you can help him/her. But try to stay positive and hopeful!
post #8 of 18
So sorry to hear about your kitty. One thing to keep in mind as has been pointed out is there is no sure way to diagnose FIP, it is often misdiagnosed. Another is that it is not always a death sentence. I had a cat that my vet said he thought had FIP when she was a kitten, she lived well for 16 years. She finally did die of what I feel was FIP. My daughter's vet said her cat had FIP and would be dead in a year, she lived 6 more and also died at 16. It depends on so many variables so don't give up yet. You have gotten some good advice and links. Also my other cats never got sick, it is the virus and not the FIP that is contagious and most cats handle the virus in a noraml way. Good luck.
post #9 of 18
My kitten died of FIP a month ago- I'm so grateful of this message board to hear about people's experiences.

My kitten stopped eating, walking, using the litterbox, and eyes were always dilated within 24 hrs of being diagnosed.

Is your cat eating normally?
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
thank you thank you thank you, for your hope and your stories. It means so much!!!

There is so much information. I will DEF do more research!! My baby's name is Snowball by the way.

We took him to the vet because we thought he had a UTI. About a week ago, he was peeing on the bed, but didn't have any other UTI symptoms. We changed the litter situation and used feliway, in case it was because he was going through hormonal changes. He stopped peeing on the bed, but 2 days later when I got home from work, my husband reported he was acting lethargic and poor baby was sleepy and acting weak. He did eat, drink and go potty though, that night he was breathing heavy and didn't move at all just stayed on my husband's pillow all night (which is unique for him). in the morning we brought him to the vet, he kept him for the night and did blood work and this morning when my husband picked him up, he said the blood work showed FIP. He had a slight fever when we brought him in of 103. He is a small cat, he has always been the smallest of our three though, so I don't think he lost weight.

Other symptoms he had was throwing up his food if we gave him too much, also started in the past week. I thought he had a hairball, because he acted like he was going to cough one up. I just gave him food 3x in smaller amounts. (probably should have brought him in then).

Now that he is home, lethargy is his only sign. He is eating. The vet didn't say if it was wet/dry. We assume dry, but don't know. I will check out the forums you listed. The vet gave us Welactin to give to him everyday and said it would make him feel better. I am looking at the ingredients though and it says salmon oil, d-alpha tocopheryl acetate. We give him salmon oil on a regular basis anyhow because one of our kitties had a rodent ulcer. The salmon oil cleared it up and the other kitties like it too, so we put it on their food about 2x a week.

when I look at the blood test I don't know what any of the stuff is, so it is really hard to read, but on the last page it says FIP (weak positive 1:200 titer)

We adopted our kitties off the street (they were either abandoned or their mommy had died, they were very young).

post #11 of 18

Please post the results of Snowball's blood tests here or (better yet) on the yahoo group I told you about.

I am really suspicious of this diagnosis (as I am with most FIP diagnoses). Zoey's coronavirus titer was 1:1600 (strong positive) and I still didn't buy that she had FIP.

How was her red blood cell count...did the vet mention any anemia? And are there any results for albumin/globulin on the blood results?

Without much else to base it on other than lethargy and a positive coronavirus test (which means NOTHING...if it was negative, it would rule out FIP....that's it), Snowball really could be fighting off any type of infection.

What type of antibiotics is he on? Zoey was on Amoxil tabs and they didn't seem to do anything. Clavomax seemed to work better for her. It was when she stopped taking the Clavomax that she once again deteriorated. Moral of the story is that you might have to try a couple different antibiotics before one works.

To give you something to compare Snowball's condition to: When Zoey was sick, she could barely walk. She had no balance and would tip over...if she could stand up at all. She wouldn't eat....so we had to force feed her. She wouldn't drink a thing. She was extremely constipated and started urinatating outside her litter box. This got better for a bit and then once she was off antibiotics, quickly deteriorated to the point where she was having seizures. She was a VERY sick little kitty and I still don't think she had FIP. I would have, except that her blood work didn't show it! If Snowball is still eating/using the litter box on his own, and moving around OK....he is doing OK.

I would really recommend that tomorrow you get on the phone and book an appointment at another vet. Take all your blood work...as well as a detailed account of the symptoms as they appeared and the treatment that has been tried so far.

I found keeping a notebook with all of this information in it was helpful. I also wrote down any questions I had for the vet on my next visit.
post #12 of 18
As the others have said, there is no accurate diagnosis of FIP till after the cat has passed, so I won't repeat what's already been said.

If it's the wet form, there's not much that can be done I'm sorry to say. But there may be hope if it's the dry form. I have 2 cats now who were 'diagnosed' with the dry form, and are being treated with Interferon. It's not a cure, but it is helping them stay in remission. Both are doing very well on the treatment so far.

You may want to ask your vet about prescribing Interferon for your baby. I'm no expert of course, but I do know that it's helping my babies.

Good luck!
post #13 of 18
Originally Posted by luv2laugh View Post
...There is so much information.
There is, indeed.

Many people who have to face and begin dealing with cat's chronic illness/condition find great comfort, expert advice and practical help in online support groups made up of other, more experienced caregivers who have already "been-there-done-that". I'm sure you'd be warmly welcomed by them and be guided through the maze of information available. zoeysmom has already given you directions

Originally Posted by zoeysmom View Post
...I would suggest joining this group: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/FIPCatSupport/
I second that suggestion!
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
you guys are amazing!!! If snowball has FIP that is one thing, but I am not going to risk him not getting correct information if it is something else altogether. We will def. be booking a second opinion. For snowball, lethargy is his only symptom and he is acting weak. he just ate food though, went potty and came up here to sit with me.

there were actually two medications
1) Lincocin Aquadrops
2) salmon oil one

These are his blood results.

Albumin 2.5
Globulin 3.5 Low
A/G Ratio .7 High

Lymphs - 13 Low
lymphs/absolute 1300 Low

Other abnormalities:
Alkaline Phosphatase VT 9 Low
Chloride 124 High
C02 12 Low
T4-Total (thyroxine) 1.2 L
T-uptake 36 Low
Free T4 .3 Low
Polys 85 High
EOS 0 Low
Platelet Count 140 Low

otherwise everything is normal including his RBC.

thank you ALL soooo much for your help!
post #15 of 18
From my understanding, Globulins are usually HIGH with FIP. And an A:G ratio of 0.7....that doesn't seem high to me at all. SLIGHTLY low, if anything. Zoey's was 0.2 initially and I was excited when it went up to 0.6, which still wasn't GREAT.

Low lymphocytes can be indicitive of FIP...but I don't know HOW low it is. I do notice that there is nothing about Neutorphils in there....which later in the disease are usually HIGH (kind of the last line of defense).

No amemia is a good sign.

Unfortunately, I don't know much else about the other values. Zoey was completely normal except for her white blood cells (HIGH - that's those neutrophils) and Globulin.

I am glad to see you posted about Snowball on Yahoo and hope that someone there can give you more information soon! Hopefully they will have some differentials for you!

Give Snowball lots of cuddles if he will let you!
post #16 of 18
i lost my precious boy to FIP last october. i won't say more than that as i feel you are getting fantastic advice and it also depends on whether it is in the wet or dry form.

i just want to send you tons of for snowball and for you to know he's in my prayers.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your well wishes, advice and information!!! And also thank you for sharing your stories.

From all the information I have read, I think it is a misdiagnosis. We were so worried for our poor babies life. Thank you so much for sharing all your stories of your babies with me and my husband (I read him the responses).

We appreciate the support so much. Snowball is feeling much better and acting like himself again. I don't know how long this will last (if he has FIP), but from everything I have seen and read, it seems like the vet had no right to diagnose him (he simply didn't have the right signs for FIP!)

so, again, thank you, thank you, thankyou!!!!!
post #18 of 18
I've been following your thread at Yahoo as well as here. I am glad to hear that Snowball is on the mend and am glad that others agreed with my questions about the diagnosis!

I would recommend discussing the issue further with your vet. Just a caution though...my experience is that vets do not like to be questioned/doubted. That is not to say you shouldn't raise your concerns, but be prepared for your vet to go on the defense. And stick to your guns...even if it means finding a new vet (I know how hard this can be!).

Also, from my experience with Zoey....it seems that it is likely the antibiotics that are making Snowball feel better. Be careful with taking him off. He can't stay on them forever, but keep a close eye on him once he comes off. Since Snowball's WBCs aren't high, I wouldn't think there would be a problem....but just keep an eye out and call the vet at the first sign of trouble.

Even though Snowball is feeling better....I'm still curious to see what was actually making him ill. I REALLY don't think it is FIP....so what else? that he recovers fully and the answer to that question becomes irrelevant!

Have I mentioned that I hate FIP? Between the cats that die from the actual disease, and those who die (or suffer with another illness) because a vet has misdiagnosed them....I can't stand those 3 letters!

Good luck to you and Snowball! I will be thinking about you!
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