Pathogenesis of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) – the infection of the monocyte

The key event in the development of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is the infection of the monocyte (a white blood cell) by feline coronavirus (FCoV). From the moment of infection of the monocyte, the cat’s fate hangs on whether or not that monocyte can contain the virus and eventually defeat it, or whether the virus wins, and begins replicating within the monocyte. In this animation, we depict the latter. We show how the virus hijacks the immune system, leading to an inflammatory sequence of events which results in a pyogranuloma forming around a blood vessel. In the film we show the development of acute FIP, where there is a lot of virus, many blood vessels affected, and the resulting leakage from damaged blood vessels causes the clinical signs of effusive FIP: ascites, thoracic effusion, pericardial effusion.

In non-effusive FIP the course is more chronic: fewer blood vessels are affected, the cat’s immune system tries harder to contain the infection, leading to larger pyogranulomata and the clinical signs of chronic inflammation and relating to the organ(s) containing the pyogranulomas.

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Dr Diane D. Addie is a veterinary virologist with two dreams: to eradicate feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) from the face of the earth, and to find a cure for feline chronic gingivostomatitis. You can read more about her work and these cat diseases on her website —

Dr François Bagaini is a veterinary surgeon with a considerable talent for animation. His veterinary cytology and haematology website is If you wish to contact him to commission an animation, his email address is

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