It’s a life-threatening disease that currently, there are no effective therapies for. Unfortunately, the prognosis for FIP is poor.
There are two forms:
- A wet form which means that fluids accumulate in the body’s cavities.
- A dry form in which the cat develops neurological symptoms such as seizures or paralysis.
Cats that are infected with FIP, often show no signs of illness. Potential symptoms of FIP are vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, labored breathing, or an accumulation of fluids in the abdomen causing the cat to appear bloated. Although the prognosis for both forms is poor, there’s a more favorable outcome for the dry form. Management of cats with this infection is mainly focused on maintaining quality of life by draining any fluids in the body’s cavities and properly addressing any other health issues that arise.
There has been a promising trial for a new drug called Remdesivir. Researchers enrolled 31 cats in this study, of which 26 cats were able to complete the planned treatment. Of the original 31 cats 4 died within 2-5 days of beginning the treatment and a fifth died 26 days after, all due to the severity of their conditions. The clinical response in all of the 26 cats who completed the treatment was dramatic.
- Between 12-36 hours, the cats’ fevers resolved.
- Their appetites improved
- Activity levels increased
- They gained weight
Cats diagnosed with ‘dry’ FIP and older cats, responded just as well to Remdesivir as the younger cats and cats diagnosed with ‘wet’ FIP. To date, 24 of the 26 cats remain healthy. Sadly two cats who received full treatment passed away, one passed due to FIP and one to a presumably unrelated heart disease.
More work needs to be done to ensure the effectiveness and safety of this new drug, but we are very hopeful!