People might have often heard about Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FeIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) but rarely regarding Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).
To begin with, it is an uncommon but deadly viral disease that can affect domestic cats of all ages and breeds. FIP is caused by specific Feline CoronaVirus (FCoV) strains and typically develops in kittens below two years of age.
Cats infected by FCoV may hardly show any symptoms; however, their immune systems will develop antibodies in response to the foreign invasion and be prepared to fight the disease. Some cats infected by FCoV develop FIP when the virus undergoes mutation or when there is an abnormal immune response.
Such health situations can be alarming and require timely medical intervention. Take your cat to the nearest pet emergency hospital or vet clinic if you suspect any serious medical issues. Also, consider being prepared with the best pet insurance so that getting medical help need not be financially burdening.
Cat insurance allows you to support your fluffy furball with quality health care in challenging times of health, which is why you should contemplate buying a policy. In the meantime, read this article to learn who is at the most risk of developing FIP.
FIP gradually spreads throughout a feline’s body, leading to chronic inflammation within vital organs like the brain, abdomen, and kidneys. The disease will progress faster at this stage and likely lead to fatality.
Unfortunately, any amount of testing may not help to distinguish between FCoV strains that can cause FIP and those that don’t. Currently, medical experts worldwide are trying to understand the root causes of FIP, and some believe that genetics and reinfection of FCoV may have a role to play in cats developing FIP.
Who is at the most risk?
Cats having a history of being infected by specific FCoV strains are at the most risk of developing FIP due to mutation of the particular coronaviruses. Further, feline fur babies with weak immune systems are more vulnerable to this disease. For instance, young kittens, cats infected with FeLV, and geriatric cats belong to the high-risk category.
FCoV thrives hugely in the saliva and feces of an acutely infected cat. These viruses are also found in kitty cats recovering from the infection to some extent. These recovering cats may act as carriers and help spread the disease through exposure to infected feces or direct contact.
At the same time, infected mother cats may spread the disease to the litter while nursing. This usually happens when the kittens are about four weeks old or more. However, FIP isn’t categorized as a highly contagious disease as only a small amount of virus is shed during the beginning stage of infection.
Although it is considered a rare disease, FIP is commonly seen in catteries, cat shelters, and multi-pet environments because the chances of contact with infected cats or their feces are higher in such places.
This is one reason you should take your furball to the vet soon after adopting it, especially if your new cat comes from a shelter home. Also, consider being prepared with the best pet insurance just in case your furry pet is diagnosed with severe illness and requires timely medical care.
Cat insurance is available in different levels of cover, so contemplate purchasing a policy that best suits your furball’s health and your budget.