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FIP Advice???

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi, everyone. I am new to the site, which I discovered this afternoon while searching the web for information about FIP, and I need your help and advice.

Over the past couple of weeks my kitty Ruthie, almost a year and a half old, had started to get what I was classifying as "lazy". Then suddenly, over the last two days, her health went downhill extremely quickly. I watched her closely for an entire day and she ate a very small amount, and was very lethargic. Yesterday morning I woke up at 4:45 a.m. to find her weak and unable even to purr - she had always been extremely affectionate and could be heard purring across the room whenever anyone touched her. We took her to the vet immediately, and he told me after examining her that he believed she most likely had FIP and would die within days. (He actually told me that no matter what she had, she would die, based on his 27 years of experience and the shape she was in.) She had the symptoms which, I know now, are typical - lethargy, depression, distended, fluid-filled abdomen, sudden weight loss. Rather than put her through more pain, at my vet's recommendation, I put her to sleep. It was terrible, even moreso because I had no idea she was really sick until the last two days.

Besides the overwhelming sadness at losing my friend, I also feel guilty, even though I know there is nothing I could have done to prevent this happening to her. Her decline was unbelievably rapid, and I hate that my kitty was so sick and I didn't know it. I also find it incredible that I have been a cat-worshipper my entire life and have never heard of this terrible disease.

My question revolves around my remaining cat, Owen, a 5-year-old angel who is by all appearances completely healthy. He is being tested immediately for all communicable diseases, but I have read that cats who carry the virus that causes FIP may not necessarily test positive for the virus themselves. I know Owen will miss his feline companion very much and would like to get him another, but how can I be sure he does not carry this virus and will not pass it on?

Unfortunately, I did not know that the virus is so hard to detect while I was at the vet last night, and he did not run any tests to determine what definitively happened to Ruthie. I didn't want to put her through any more discomfort if she was not going to make it anyway.

Help! It is safe to get another cat? The last thing I want to do is put another cat through what my Ruthie went through in the last two days. Thanks in advance for your expertise!
post #2 of 6
If, God forbid, your Owen is positive for FIP, perhaps you could take in another FIP+ kitty. I have a friend who takes in "special needs" cats as part of her participation in a rescue service. She has given many cats a loving home for their final days or in many cases, years. This would give Owen a companion and allow another kitty to have a loving home rather than be euthanized immediately.I know it it so hard to lose your furbabies. I lost one 2 years ago to FeLV and currently have another that was infected by the sick one before we knew anyone was sick. Fortunately the others were negative and were vaccinated in time. I am very sorry for your loss. Please don't feel guilty about this. It is hard to detect many illnesses and I am sure you would have done all you could if you had known. My little guy declined in a matter of days, also. He went from a lively, playful kitten, to having to be euthaized to end his suffering in less than a week. Once again, I am sorry for your loss.
post #3 of 6
So sorry about your cat passing away. l I just wanted to relate my one and only experience with FIP.

I had a 8 month old kitten. I actually had him and his two brothers who I rescued from the streets when they were only 3 months old.

Anyone, Simba was a yard cat and everyday I'd see him and he'd talk to me when he came to get food.

One day I walked outside and noticed he didn't look right. I didn't think too much about it, but then the next day I noticed that he looked like he had lost half of his weight and was skin and bones. I immediately rushed him to the emergency hospital (it is was night). The vet on duty diagnosed him with FIP. I was a little skeptical because I know FIP is very hard to diagnos. The next day I brought Simba to my vet and he began taking a ton of tests. He told me there were no positive tests, but they figured the diagnosis by the process of elimination. Well, by the time the tests came back confirming the FIP I had already made the decision to put him to sleep.

This happy, healthy kitten, went from perfectly healthy to not being about to walk within 2 days. I will mention the dr's right of way ruled out FIV or Feluk because he had been tested and vaccinated fore the feluk not 3 months earlier.

Anyway, I still have one of his brothers, who is a big cow. The other brother managed to beat our cat fence in system and left home.

The way my vet explais FIP to me is all cats are exposed to the virus, but only some will actually become sick. He said that it's a waste of money to vaccinate for the virus because it has not been proven to be 100% effective. Also, if you have cats that were exposed already, the vac is useless.

It's a waiting game to see if anyone else gets sick. It's been 2 years since Simba passed and no other cat has come down with the virus. I also have a friend who lost a cat to FIP and one of her other cats have ever gotten sick. That was 4 years ago.

I hope the information I have provided is of assistance to you.
post #4 of 6
Me and my brother and his wife once shared a house with a total of five cats between us. A friend brought over a little stray kitten who was later found to have FIP (as well as two broken hips - one congenital and one as a result of abuse). He did not live to see his first birthday, but we loved him hard for his short few remaining months to try to make up for his miserable first few months. We had his belly aspirated occasionally to make him more comfortable. Eventually, though, it was filling up daily, and his poor mangled hips could no longer carry the weight, so late one night I took him to the 24-hour vet and said goodbye. I still cry over that little sweet guy who would sleep in my son's crib with him.

But the good part of this story is that none of the other cats ever came down with FIP and all lived very long lives.

So Owen could very well be okay - have him tested as soon as possible.
And, on the sad chance that he is also positive, kk2's idea is a very good one.

Please accept my condolences on the loss of your sweet Ruthie.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Owen came back negative last night! We have to get him tested in 2 to 4 months because of the virus's incubation period, but it looks like he is going to be OK. My vet seems to think it is entirely possible that somehow the virus just did not jump to him from Ruthie. I am so relieved!

Thank you all so much for your advice and condolences. I vow to be a more educated cat owner from now on!
post #6 of 6
I am so glad to hear Owen is OK!
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