First broadcast on  

This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Feline infectious peritonitis is an extremely serious, potentially fatal disease of cats which is caused by a virus.

Although the name of the disease caused by Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) Virus implies that the virus causes inflammation of the peritoneal lining of the abdominal cavity not all animals infected with the virus will show the clinical signs of peritonitis. Some may only develop a mild diarrhoea or signs associated with other organs.

Unfortunately, making a clinical diagnosis of acute FIP is difficult and requires tissue samples, and the virus can incubate for years in an individual before clinical signs are seen. However, following exposure to the virus a cat will develop antibodies which can be detected in a blood test. This test should be used to screen cats before they enter a multicat household or cattery in which it will come into contact with other cats. Screening for FIP  is also advised before the use of an FIP vaccine which is now available in some parts of the world. There is no point vaccinating a cat if it has already been in contact with the virus.

Cats with FIP invariably die whatever treatment is given, but a few will respond to therapy with corticosteroids and other drugs that affect the immune system. There are also rare reports of cats making a total recovery.

Cats which are found to be positive to FIP should not be allowed into contact with other cats.

If you would like more technical information about FIP - CLICK HERE to go to the veterinary pages on the subject.


Updated October 2013