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    kitten died of FIP
    laura_ashley_85 posted:
    Hi everyone. Just wanted to share that my kitten, who was really more like my baby, died this week of FIP. I had never heard of it and wanted to share in case (God forbid) this ever happens to you. Our little guy gradually showed symptoms of lethargy, losing appetite, no interest in any toys... he just slept all the time. We took him to the vet as soon as we realized he was sleeping way more than normal, and they put him in the hospital thinking it was a parasite that was attacking his red blood cells and causing him to be anemic. After a day & a night in the emergency clinic, the doctor discovered that his belly was swelling with fluid. At that point, I was at a family funeral, but my husband was home and went immediately to the hospital to be with him for a few minutes. After discussing the condition, we learned that it was fatal, incurable, and could not have been prevented. So because of his pain, we decided to let him go. It's been heartbreaking, especially because he was only 8 months old. He was the most beautiful Russian Blue with a personality that kept us laughing. He lived to cuddle with us and make us happy. If you feel like your cat is exhibiting unusual lethargy, I encourage you to quickly take him to your vet. If it's a less dangerous condition, you might have a chance to keep him healthy! We have fond memories and will miss our little guy very much.
    Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS responded:
    How very sad!!!! Russian Blue cats are beautiful and I can tell from what you say that he was a special kitten. FIP is a nasty disease and the really sad part is that there isn't much we can do to successfully treat it, nor to really prevent it.

    I am sure you kitty appreciated your loivng care, and I know the memories will bring smiles through the tears.
    Annie_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Hi laura,

    I'm sorry that your kitten has passed away. If that's your kitten in your avatar he looks so cute! I currrently have a 7 month old kitten, he's a mutt named Charlie but I wouldn't have him today if my other cat, Samantha who you can see in my avatar didn't pass away last September. She was a Russian Blue too so I know how special and cuddly they can be!

    I hope that you will keep the good thoughts of your baby forever and when the time is right I hope that another cat will come into your life like it did with mine!

    - Annie
    121sweetie replied to Annie_WebMD_Staff's response:
    What is FIP???
    Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS replied to 121sweetie's response:
    This gets a little complicated. FIP stands fro Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Originally the cat gets infected with a type of virus called a coronavirus. This might cause a little vomiting or diarrhea but nothing serious. This virus can mutate into the FIP form which is deadly. This FIP form affects blood vessels, causing them to leak. If they leak a lot of fluid out of the blood stream (called "wet FIP"), it tends to settle in the abdomen (making is enlarge from all the fluid in it) or to a lesser degree into the chest (making it hard to breathe) or into the sac around the heart (making the heart not work well). If the blood vessels don't leak as much (called "dry FIP") and the body responds by trying to plug the holes, then we see a lot of damage to all the organs (all organs have a blood supply) so the cat may come in for a wide variety of signs from neurological disease, to heart problems, to vomiting, and on and on.

    The biggest problem for this disease is that the vaccines available really do not protect against FIP and that there is no effective treatment.

    Thanks for asking.
    laura_ashley_85 replied to Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS's response:
    I am curious though. He was never around any other cats. They said sometimes they are born with a gene that causes the mutation. I guess I'm just not sure how he contracted the virus being our only indoor cat.
    Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS replied to laura_ashley_85's response:
    Most kittens are exposed to the enteric coronavirus (the benign kind) while still with their mothers and this virus is relative common in catteries. Thus the kitten had the coronavirus before you ever got him. The mutation to that enteric coronavirus occurred sometime later after you got him. That is the problem with this disease. Other that taking the kittens away for their mothers extremely early (like in the 1st week or so), it is almost impossible to stop the spread of the enteric coronavirus. There was no way for you to know that he had already had the enteric coronavirus or to anticipate that he would have that mutate into the FIP form. Bummer
    ooooy responded:
    I know how it feels to loose a kitten. One year ago my kitten died of FIP. He was only 6 months old and we only owned him for 2 months. From what I know, cats do not have to be exposed to get FIP. My kitten was a stray and was brought into a shelter, so he could have been. You may hear that FIP will stay on everything and anything even long after your pet has died. This isn't true. I currently own a 16 lb. F5 Bengal cat. I sprayed my house down with cleaner that would kill the FIP. Of course, I didn't want my new cat (Charlie) to get sick. I've had him for more than a year, and he's still a fat and happy kitty. I heard somewhere that FIP dies when hit with direct sunlight. If you adopt a new cat, just be careful to clean the places that sunlight wont reach.
    srstephanie replied to ooooy's response:
    Hi ooooy,

    One of the most frustrating aspects to FIP is that it isn't a virus that cats "catch". It is not shed in the environment. The good news is that it means that it is not a contagious disease.

    As Dr Beaver explained, FIP is a disease caused by a MUTATION of a very common and generally harmless virus called the coronavirus (or enteric coronavirus ... "enteric" means intestinal which is where it normally resides). The mutation occurs in each individual cat that develops FIP but is not shed in the environment.

    What cats do shed is the coronavirus and it is an extremely common virus that is harmless in about 95% of all cats. Cleaning the environment may be helpful in reducing the spread of the enteric coronavirus and where there is reduced coronavirus there is reduced chance of it mutating into FIP. But FIP itself is not shed in your house.

    Cats get coronavirus from the "fecal-oral" route ... i.e. it is shed in the feces and cats get it by ingesting it when grooming themselves after using the litterbox. So, the most important thing to keep clean is the litterbox ... but, of course, cats can spread it around if they step in the feces or sitting on areas prior to cleaning themselves, etc.

    The vast majority of cats have no illness from the cornoavirus ... and completely eliminating it is nearly impossible. While all cats with FIP first had the coronavirus ... most cats with coronavirus will never develop FIP.

    It is a very frustrating virus!

    One thing we can all do is to support the research into FIP. Two excellent places to donate money are:

    1) The SOCK FIP website. This is a site set up to support the work of one of the leading researchers in FIP, Dr Niels Pedersen at UC Davis. It is also one of the best places to go to get accurate and up-to-date info on FIP. Here is a link:

    2) Winn Feline Foundation: Bria Fund. Winn is one of the leading foundations that support research into many feline health issues. They set up a special fund, called the Bria Fund, dedicated to supporting FIP research. They support a number of different researchers, all working on aspects of FIP. Here is a link to the Winn page on the Bria Fund:

    Hope that helps.

    Stephanie in Montreal
    shellgg replied to srstephanie's response:
    Thanks everyone for the great information.

    My question is...
    My kitten is now 9 or 10 weeks old. She was rescued at 10 days old. Since she was not around her mother long, does this mean that she most likely does not have this?

    So scary!
    laura_ashley_85 replied to shellgg's response:
    Just jumping back in to share that we're doing well. Of course we miss our kitty but we're currently at the top of the list to adopt another this fall -- we're even getting one from the same mother as our previous kitten!
    Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM replied to laura_ashley_85's response:
    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for jumping back in. You will have to let us know about your new little kitty.

    FIP is a frustrating disease. We don;t see the disease often but occasionally it does rear its ugly head and like you mentioned earlier, it is so hard to lose a young kitten. The enteric coronavirus, the gut one that really doesn;t cause a problem, is everywhere especially where multiple cats live, and it really depends on the individual cat whether or not, once they are explosed to the virus, FIP will develop.

    Main thing is to adopt healthy kittens from healthy moms that come from clean catteries with healthy cats.

    I could not imagine life without cats. I look forward to hearing about your new kitten.

    Dr. Sandy
    Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM replied to shellgg's response:
    Dear Shellgg,

    As Dr. Beaver mentioned, less exposure to a carrier of corona virus could limit the chance of a kitten developing FIP. And you know, being weaned early as a routine habit can lead to problems of their own. But sometimes kittens like yours leave mom early.

    Just keep your new kitten healthy, happy and stress free. There is no way to predict if a kitten will develop FIP and testing for the virus antibody is not something I recommend. It just leaves one to worry.

    Enjoy your kitten and just let her grow up. And if she does get sick, see your veterinarian to make sure it isn't something less serious like a respiratory virus.

    Dr. Sandy
    shellgg replied to Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM's response:
    Thank you Dr. Sandy,
    My mom wants to get a companion for her now 11 week old kitten. She would like to get the kitten from the animal shelter. From what I am understanding, there really are no clear guidelines for picking an uninfected kitty, right? It scares me to think that we could introduce a sick kitty to our seemingly now healthy kittty. Years ago, I got my second cat from the shelter and everything turned out fine. He is a great cat.
    Thanks again
    Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM replied to shellgg's response:
    Hi Shellgg,

    Shelters will assess for the overall health of the kitten and most check for FeLV and FIV. Some shelters will do blood work on older pets to make sure they don't have problems with kidney, liver, anemia, etc. but generally shelters do not do blood work on puppies and kittens.

    Corona virus is everywhere. Corona virus is contagious between cats but FIP develops in an individual cat depending on many factors including stress,, immune-function, concurrent disease.

    We can tests for the corona virus using a blood test but positive results do not mean a kitty will get FIV. Negative results would give us a bit more confidence that the kitten wasn't exposed to corona virus, but it is am imperfect system.

    Have you mom pick out a healthy kitten and bring it to your family veterinarian for a good second physical exam. They could run a small kitten wellness panel on the blood to detect any subtle abnormalities. Discuss with the veterianarian whether they think doing a corona virus titer would be helpful.

    Then let the kittens be kittens and they should do fine. Isolation of one for more than the time it takes to see your veterinarian would really not help. And kittens really desire contact with other kittens for socialization and we us human types.

    Good luck. These are great questions. Unfortunately, answers aren't so exact.

    Dr. Sandy

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