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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Marta is gone to FIP

It has been 3.5 months since we lost Marta to FIP. It is still hard to talk about it, but I think I owe it to her to share the info we learned about FIP during one and half month long battle.

First thing I learned, that even though vets are very fast to bring FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) diagnoses to the table (even if confirming this diagnosis with tests isn’t easy), rarely they will have any healing plan for it.

Secondly, once FIP diagnosis is on the table, the only two suggestions you get from a vet are prednisone shot or two (to bring appetite up a bit) or/and euthanasia, eventually.

And both of these are sad, because from what I saw while searching for info in internet, FIP occurs much more often than vets let you believe and many cats die from it every year without much chance to survive.

Where FIP comes from?

I guess this is more or less clear: FIP virus is a mutation of Feline Corona Virus, pretty common sickness amongst cats. Some sources say many cats are now or were at some point exposed to it. Corona Virus still needs to mutate into FIP virus before it is FIP, that is why if your cat is tested positive to antibodies to FeCoV it doesn't necessary means they have FIP, it may lead to it or may not.

I don't think anybody knows what exactly triggers this mutation. Whatever it depends on the strain of FeCoV, or cat's immunity and health conditions, or what conditions cat lives in and what cat eats. And I don't think I will be too far off if I suggest it is a combination of these factors, and maybe some more, like genetics and such. After all, I am not a vet or doctor, I am just a former owner of a cat who was unlucky enough to get the mutation going.

Some internet resources link FIP mutation to damaged thymus gland, one of cause of which can be practice of over-vaccination of cats. I don’t know how much this contribute to the case, but Marta didn’t have any vaccinations (due to breeder requirements) and still she got FIP. In fact, she also got a Calici infection at the end, which may have been prevented if she had shots. But that is again, just my thought, and I am not a vet.

What to do?

I think there is no clear answer to that question either. These are suggestions which I found and I believe following these will not hurt whatever treatment you and your vet chose:

  • Make sure cat eats (if they stop eating their body starts consuming muscle tissue), assist feed if needed, beechnut meat baby food or hills a/d diluted with water works good for assist feeding.
  • Unfortunately a lot of cat food has ingredients toxic for cats, such as alfalfa, yucca, garlic, grapes and other high-antioxidant fruits. These need to be avoided as much as possible. Cat should get high protein and high calories food to maintain muscle mass and avoid toxins to keep health. If you can get hills a/d food from vet, do it.
  • Get cat on vitamins (C, E), taurine.
  • Liquids are important to remove toxins produced by FIP. If cat doesn’t drink on their own, you may need to help them either by feeding water with food or giving IVs (with a help of vet of course). Ringers lactate fluid hydration with potassium and vitamins will help if you have access to these. Glucose is a good addition to IV liquids, especially if cat doesn’t eat enough.
  • Fish oil gradually mixed into day food is good.
  • Bifidyn powder probiotic and PABA will help with irritated digestive system, if loose stool add a bit of slippery elm bark to each meal, a bit of plain pumpkin and rice bran will help too.
  • Pet-tinic syrup (iron with copper and vitamins syrup) helps prevent anemia which is developing in cats with FIP.
  • While cleaning avoid household cleaners such as lysol, chlorine, etc, they are toxic, clean with baking soda instead.

Please don’t take this list as a healing advice, and by no means it is complete, these are just helpful facts, most of which I got from reading info posted by Irene de Villiers, B.Sc,D.I.Hom/D.Vet.Hom. If you are interested to read her publications follow the links:

Even if you are not into alternative medicine (Irene practices homeopathy), it is still very useful information which will help you understand what FIP is about, what types of FIP are there and what cat experiences while is sick.

This information will most certainly help you to make sure whatever you do doesn’t contribute into making the sickness any worse than it already is. I personally was very upset to figure out what most of dry/canned cat food contains ingredients which are toxic for cats (healthy cat may be able to take it, but FIP cat most certainly cannot)... Really almost all cat foods... It is so sad that companies who produce them don’t pay attention to such things.

I must say, I found Irene’s info too late. Marta was eating dry food which is “pure poison” for couple of weeks, and she almost stopped eating on her own. At that point was I willing to try anything, but by the time I received matched remedies Marta was already dead.

I hope somebody is able to find a cure to this vicious sickness soon. And cat owners will not suffer from hopeless panic trying to find at least something they can do to help their furry friends, other than euthanasia...

Have a good hunt over the rainbow, baby Marta, we miss you...