Cat disease FIP: diagnosis and treatment

FIP is often difficult to detect in a cat, especially if it is the dry form without fluid retention. Once the cat has been diagnosed, there is little hope for the sick animal. The FIP cat disease can be diagnosed via blood tests and withdrawal of fluid from the abdominal cavity - Image: Shutterstock / VP Photo Studio

Since a FIP disease usually begins with symptoms that can be interpreted broadly, such as fever, lack of appetite and shortness of breath, an exact diagnosis is difficult for the veterinarian. There is also no specific blood test that can be used to clearly test for cat disease. If the veterinarian tests for antibodies, he also cannot determine whether the cat has a harmless form of the corona virus or is infected with the dangerous form that triggers FIP.

FIP in the cat: difficult to diagnose

The dry form of FIP in particular is very difficult to diagnose because there is no fluid retention in the chest or abdomen that characterizes the moist variant of the cat disease. However, by taking and analyzing fluid from the cat's body cavities, the veterinarian can determine the moist FIP ​​form with relative certainty.

For this purpose, the so-called "rivalta sample" is carried out: a drop of the liquid taken is filled into a test tube containing distilled water and a drop of glacial acetic acid. If the drop of the liquid sample does not dissolve and sinks to the bottom, FIP can be diagnosed with a relative probability. FIP excludes a negative result with great certainty.

A blood test can also be used to detect antibodies against the FIP-triggering corona viruses or a higher level of globulin in the blood of the cat - both also signs of an infection with the serious disease.

Treatment with FIP: Therapy is not yet possible

The diagnosis does not bode well for the affected cat, because no treatment for this infection is known yet. Once the FIP diagnosis has been made, it can be assumed that the disease will lead to death within a few weeks. In this case, in order to save the affected animal unnecessary suffering, thought should be given to falling asleep.

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