I just lost my 10-month old monster kitten, whom we nicknamed "Gorack" for his cave-mannish smiting abilities, to F.I.P (feline infectious peritonitis). We put him to sleep on Saturday, after he had a precipitous 12 hour decline.
Until recently, I knew nothing about this disease. I (used to) consider myself a fairly educated pet owner. F.I.P. is the DEVIL. It is hard to diagnose, extremely insidious (a mutated corona virus gets into white blood cells and the immune system goes haywire), and even if vets are able to diagnose it before a cat's death, there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it, other than a course of steroids. It is 100% fatal, both vets told me. Our vet told us it was the worst disease a cat could have.
In our kitten's case, the only symptom for several weeks was a growing mass or tumor of some sort in his eye. He was totally healthy otherwise, so much so that he baffled the vet and the opthalmologist.
We struggled with the idea of enucleation, given the fact that both vets thought he probably had FIP, but because he seemed so healthy we planned to go ahead with it this week and give him a chance.
Gorack made the decision for us - in a short space of time, from Friday night to Saturday morning, he developed some wobbliness, virtually stopped playing, complained a whole lot about eye drops, pills, and being handled, and Saturday morning he began running a temperature and his eye looked AWFUL and was causing him discomfort. We took him in to our vet, and he agreed that euth. was the most humane course because all the symptoms now fit with F.I.P.
And so we said goodbye to wee Gorack, the very definition of cool cat, he of waking-us-up-by-sticking-his-face-in-our mouths, or jumping on stomachs...he even awakened us as usual that fateful morning, and ate his breakfast with gusto. Iím glad that he died while he still had a decent quality of life, and that his suffering was short-lived.
Now I'm trying hard not to worry that FIP will 'get' his sister or mum (we are now down to two). I have no doubt they were exposed to the corona virus too - the question is will it mutate into FIP.
Has anyone out there had any experience with FIP? If so, did your other cats come down with the virulent form of FIP? Did you take any precautions or make any cat-keeping changes? Did you draw titers instead of vaccinating/boostering?
We lost our "Toaster" (from The Brave Little Toaster) to FIP about three years ago. He wasn't quite a year old. We have several other cats including his two litter mates and his momma cat. No one else contracted the disease.
FTR, the momma cat was abandoned pregnant, we took her in and she and her kittens were spayed/neutered as soon as possible.
Sending hugs and hoping the other cats are fine. Vet thought we might be dealing with it with a cat I had back in August. Fortunately, turned out not to be. Unfortunately, it was most likely heart related and I had to have him put down but at least I didn't have to worry about the other 3. Again, I'm so sorry and jingling for the other cats.
Thank you, all, for your kind words. So far so good.
mswillie - that was our scenario too. Poor mother was crawling with fleas/worms/ear mites, and so skinny. We vacc'd, spayed/neutered etc. and found homes for most of the kittens. Kept the mother and two of her offspring (Gorack and Pester).
Everything I found (and I do take everything found on the 'net with a grain of salt) suggested the FIP vaccination is worthless, if not potentially harmful particularly after exposure to the corona virus.
Two things really struck me: the contradiction and inconsistency among reputable sources re: mechanisms of FIP, and the seeming dearth of research into a disease that is 100% fatal. I wonder if it's because not many cats die of FIP(?), or no one cares because it seems to strike feral/strays(?), or what.
So sorry for your loss. I lost a beloved cat to FIP many years ago, a barn cat I brought home. He was about 2 when he died. He seemed a little off, I brought him to the vet, and the vet suggested he stay overnight. The next day he called to say Henry had died. All these years later it still shocks me how fast he went.