Dry FIP

Ivanhoe - Somali cat who died of FIP - Photo Finn Frode

FIP stands for Feline Infectious Peritonitis. There are two forms, wet and dry FIP. Both are "invariably fatal"1. A Victim of FIP.

I have already written about feline infectious peritonitis on this page: Feline FIP, where you can read about the disease generally including its cause, which is believed to be a mutation of the benign coronavirus.

Click on the following link to read about how certain breeds of cats are more susceptible than others: Prevalence of feline infectious peritonitis in specific cat breeds.

Dry FIP is also called, "disseminated form". Signs of the illness are not specific. They include:
  • loss of weight and appetite
  • listlessness
  • depression
  • cat obviously very ill
This illness is difficult to diagnose.  The disease affects the eyes, brain, liver, kidney and pancreas. Sixty percent of cases involve the eye or brain or both.

The diagnosis may require surgical exploration. During this procedure the vet may see "sticky mucous or strands of fibrous protein" on the surface of the liver spleen or intestines. About five percent of cats with dry FIP are also infected with the feline leukemia virus. Organ biopsy is the only certain diagnostic test.

Other tests for diagnosis include
  • blood count
  • liver function tests
  • "abnormal serum protein pattern"
  • analysis of chest fluid
  • tests to detect the coronavirus antibodies
Once a cat has signs of secondary disease (the stage from benign to virulent) the cat will die after up to one year of a decent quality of life.

Medication may improve the quality of life and it may be prolonged with chemotherapy. Vitamin C can be helpful1. Aspirin cat reduce inflammation - only administer with vets supervision - Feline Pain Relief.

Prevention is clearly better than cure. This is a deadly disease at the secondary stage. Multicat households, breeders, boarding catteries and shelters are more at risk. See for example: FIP In Breeding Cattery Cats.

Excellent facility and cat management is required including:
  • parasite control
  • prompt treatment of health problems
  • regular grooming
  • excellent nutrition
  • use of effective disinfectant (diluted bleach 1:32)
  • spacious quarters for cats
  • exercise for cats
  • new cats can be isolated for 2 weeks and tested for FIP

Dry FIP -- Note:

1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook updated current edition page 87.

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