the coronavirus. In rare cases, it causes a bit of a runny nose or diarrhea. But unfortunately they are also – the unfortunate exceptions – namely the cats, in which the coronavirus FIP triggers.
In fact, FIP is a typical disease of juveniles: over 50% of those die die at the age of about one year, another 20% at the age of four. Only the remaining 30% of cats fall ill at a higher age. Why the coronavirus is sometimes harmless and sometimes deadly, scientists point out that the virus, in the body of the cat, changes, it mutates. Incidentally, the mutant viruses can not be distinguished from the harmless viruses. This means that you can never determine the disease with a so-called FIP test alone. It is completely indifferent whether the antibodies against the virus or the virus itself is detected. The FIP test only says something in connection with other laboratory values and especially the clinical symptoms of a cat.
Infection with the Corona virus
The history of a FIP disease could look like this: All litter kittens are protected by their mother’s immune system shortly after birth. After four to five weeks, this protection subsides. At this point, the kittens become infected with their mother or another cat.Display: Make their cat happy with the coronavirus (around 80% of all cats have ever had contact with the virus). Many survive this infection without symptoms, some are a bit snuffy, others have some diarrhea, but by and large the infection is mild, and the kitten’s own immune system begins to fight the virus. In the first combat phase, the kittens have quite high so-called virus titers. If the fight is successful, the virus titer decreases over time. But the immune system does not kill all viruses. It can only keep the viruses in check, i. it causes the viruses to stop proliferating and gradually dying out. This cat can live well – it is not sick and does not have to be. However, as luck would have it, the immune system can fail at this stage: e.g. the stress that a kitten faces when moving to its new owners.
Failure of the immune system
Then the following happens: The viruses regain their upper hand and multiply rapidly. This leads to errors when reading the virus – the offspring of the original viruses are now changed. FIP viruses are not always produced, but the more viruses the kitten carries, the greater the risk that FIP actually develops. Not only does stress weaken the immune system but also parasites, a poor diet and other infections. In former times z. For example, most FIP cases are associated with FeLV infection (FeLV can lead to leukosis). After the leukosis vaccine was introduced, these cases dropped dramatically. In addition, inbreeding, z. In race cats, to a weak immune system. But stress is one of the main triggers. No one can predict what will put the cat under such stress that their immune system collapses: What does not bother the one cat, the other can lead to collapse. The majority of cats indicator: they make their cat a pleasure, however, e.g. including having too little room and retreat. Cats, which have to live together with many conspecifics in a small space, become significantly more likely to FIP. To make matters worse in multi-cat households also that the animals often use a toilet together. So they get infected again and again with the coronaviruses. The viruses can never completely die out. Great problems prepares the FIP in the diagnosis. There are basically two types of FIP: wet and dry. The wet form causes peritonitis. As a result of this peritonitis, from which the FIP also has its name, the abdominal cavity of the cat runs full of a viscous fluid – an ascites develops, and the cat’s body assumes a pear-shaped form. But before that, the cat already shows symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite and apathy.
Insidious are the many symptoms
This form of FIP can still be detected relatively easily – usually provides the fluid from the abdominal cavity safety. But more often occurs now the dry form of FIP. This does not cause ascites. The veterinarian must follow a specific diagnostic procedure, where the clinical symptoms, such as recurrent fever, loss of appetite, apathy, possibly jaundice and eye changes, are related to the FIP test and other laboratory values. The insidious thing about this form is that the symptoms are so diverse. In addition to the above, it can also lead to paralysis, behavioral changes, anemia, respiratory problems, etc., so that often after the death of the cat and a subsequent autopsy the final diagnosis FIP can be made. If the FIP is suspected, the veterinarian will try to alleviate the symptoms, and above all, he will look for another cause he may be able to treat. Because FIP itself is deadly and still not curable. There are always stories of miraculous recovery – but none of them has been proven so far. All methods have been successful in clinical trials so far. Interferon, which has been successfully used in the parvovirosis of dogs, has so far failed to meet the hopes that have been placed in the treatment of FIP.