How Do Cats Get FIP?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease that affects cats. It is caused by a coronavirus, and is often fatal. There is no cure for FIP, but there are ways to prevent it.

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Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease that affects cats. The virus that causes FIP is related to the one that causes feline leukemia virus (FeLV), and both viruses are members of the family Retroviridae. FIP is seen most often in young kittens, but it can affect cats of any age. The disease is usually fatal, although some cats can recover with treatment.

There are two forms of FIP: wet and dry. Wet FIP refers to the more common form of the disease, which causes fluid to build up in the abdomen and chest. Dry FIP refers to a less common form of the disease, which causes inflammation of the brain and central nervous system.

What is FIP?

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a fatal viral disease that affects domestic cats. The disease is caused by a feline coronavirus, which is a type of virus that commonly infects cats. The virus can cause a number of different symptoms, depending on which form of the disease your cat has.

What are the symptoms of FIP?

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a serious disease that affects cats. It is caused by a virus, and symptoms can vary depending on which form of the disease your cat has.

The most common symptom of wet form FIP is a sudden onset of fluid accumulation in the abdomen (known as ascites). This can cause your cat’s belly to appear swollen. Other symptoms include:

-Loss of appetite
-Weight loss
-Difficulty breathing
-Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)– a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s inflammatory response to infection gets out of control.

The dry form of FIP is less common, and symptoms tend to be less severe. They can include:

-Weight loss
-Eye inflammation
-Skin lesions
-Joint pain

How is FIP diagnosed?

There is no single test that will definitively diagnose FIP. Your veterinarian will take a complete history of your cat’s health, including any possible exposures to the virus. A thorough physical examination will be performed. Your veterinarian may recommend some or all of the following tests:

-A complete blood count (CBC) to look for anemia, thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), or leukocytosis (high white blood cell count)
-A biochemistry profile to evaluate organ function
-Fecal flotation and culture for gastrointestinal parasites
-Radiographs (X-rays) or ultrasound of the abdomen to evaluate for effusion in the abdomen
-Thoracic radiographs (chest X-rays) to evaluate for effusion in the chest
-Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test of blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or other tissues to detect FIPV RNA

How is FIP treated?

There is no known cure or effective treatment for FIP. However, some cats can recover spontaneously, especially young kittens. There is anecdotal evidence that aggressive treatment with corticosteroids may help some cats, but this has not been proven in scientific studies. Treatment for FIP is typically supportive and includes good nursing care, pain control, hydration, and appetite stimulation. Some cats may require hospitalization for intensive supportive care.

Theories on How Cats Get FIP

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease that affects cats and is often fatal. There is no known cure for FIP and there is no way to prevent it. There are two theories on how cats get FIP. The first theory is that cats get FIP from a virus that is already in their system. The second theory is that cats get FIP from a virus that they are exposed to.

Coronaviruses and FIP

A new study investigating the link between coronaviruses and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) has found that all cats with FIP had coronaviruses in their bodies.

The study, published in the journal Science, provides the strongest evidence yet that coronaviruses can cause FIP, a fatal disease that affects thousands of cats every year.

The researchers analyzed samples from more than 100 cats with FIP and found that all of them contained coronaviruses. The viruses were also found in the fluid around the cats’ brains and spinal cords, which is where FIP typically develops.

This is not the first time that scientists have linked coronaviruses to FIP, but the new study is by far the largest and most definitive to date.

There are many different types of coronaviruses, and most of them cause no harm to cats. But some strains can mutate and become pathogenic, causing diseases like FIP.

It’s still not clear why some cats develop FIP while others do not. The new study suggests that it may have something to do with the immune system’s response to the virus.

Environmental Factors

There are many ways in which a cat may be exposed to the FIP virus. It is thought that most cats are exposed to the virus at some point in their lives, but only a small percentage of them will go on to develop the disease. The following are some of the ways in which a cat may be exposed to the FIP virus:

-Soil: The FIP virus can be present in soil, and cats may become exposed if they dig or roll in contaminated soil.
-Litter: Litter that is contaminated with the FIP virus can expose cats if they use it.
-Fleas: Fleas can transmit the FIP virus from one cat to another.
-Fighting: Cats that fight with each other can transmit the virus through their saliva.
-Bites: Bites from an infected cat can transmit the FIP virus.

Genetic Factors

There are two well-accepted hypotheses on how cats develop FIP, and both of them involve the coronavirus. The first is that some cats are born with a genetic predisposition to developing the disease. These cats may have a defective innate immune system or may be unable to produce sufficient levels of antibodies to fight the virus. The second theory is that all cats are susceptible to the virus, but only those with a compromised immune system will develop FIP. This theory is supported by the fact that most cases of FIP occur in kittens or young cats, which have not yet developed a fully functioning immune system.


While the exact cause of FIP is still unknown, it is believed to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Cats who are exposed to certain viruses (such as the feline coronavirus) are more likely to develop FIP, and some cats may be genetically predisposed to developing the disease. There is no known cure for FIP, but there are some treatments that may improve a cat’s symptoms and quality of life.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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