FIP Diagnostics

Clinical Symptoms of FIP

If you are reading this page, it may have led you to suspect that your cat has FIP. If so, your cat may have some of the symptoms listed below.

For FIP, cats are predisposed to 2 years of age, but older cats may become ill.
In any case, the manifestations of FIP are in themselves very unspecific, and the diagnosis is usually made when several symptoms are concurrent.

UPOZORNENIE !!!

Hlavne u vlhkej FIP môže dôjsť k vzniku výpotku v pleurálnej (hrudnej) dutine. Zmerajte dychovú frekvenciu mačky. Normálna dychová frekvencia je okolo 20-30 dychov za minútu. Pokiaľ spozorujete vyššiu frekvenciu dýchania, alebo veľmi plytký dych (viď nižšie), okamžite vyhľadajte pomoc veterinára!!! Možno bude nutné odsatie časti kvapaliny z hrudnej dutiny. Inak mačke hrozí udusenie alebo zástava srdca. Vaša mačka potrebuje prvú pomoc.

Wet FIP

  • Wet FIP is typical especially for young cats
  • Abdominal distention
  • Sometimes fluid appears in the chest cavity, causing it to make breathing difficult and faster, and the heart is also very stressed.
  • Anorexia
  • Fatigue
  • Apathy
  • Periodic fevers lasting more than 4 days that do not respond to ATB or antipyretics (> 39 ℃)
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice may appear

The cat breathes hard due to effusion in the pleural cavity

Luna - The world's first privately owned cat treated with GS441524. Photo from the time of diagnosis of wet FIP
Abdomen enlarged with wet FIP.

Dry FIP

  • Dry FIP is typical especially for older cats
  • Anorexia
  • Fatigue
  • Apathy
  • Periodic fevers lasting more than 4 days that do not respond to ATB or antipyretics (> 39 ℃)
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice may appear
  • Pay special attention if the symptoms of the disease have lasted for a long time (more than a month). Dry FIP at a later stage may progress to a wet form, or to even more complicated forms, such as ocular or neurological FIP.

Ocular FIP

The same symptoms as with dry FIP, plus the ones listed below.

  • Ocular lesions (uveitis - inflammation of the uvea, middle layer of the eye ball)
  • Bloody or cloudy eye

Ocular FIP is usually associated with dry FIP, rarely occurring in combination with the wet variant, although this is not completely ruled out.

Cat with ocular form of FIP
Anterior uveitis of a cat with FIP

Neurological FIP

Mačka s neurologickou FIP

The same symptoms apply as for dry FIP and in addition the following may occur:

  • chills,
  • weakness in the hind legs,
  • rigidity,
  • bradykinesia (slow motion),
  • balance disorders,
  • confusion,
  • urinating and performing needs outside the toilet,
  • incontinence,
  • seizures,
  • cramps,
  • paralysis,
  • disorientation,
  • shock conditions.

The spectrum of neurological symptoms is practically unlimited and depends on which areas of the central nervous system are affected.

Dr. Pedersen is of the opinion that the diagnosis of FIP can also be confirmed by starting treatment with GS441524. He recommends it especially in neurological FIP, where most examination methods are very expensive. The cat responds very quickly to the start of treatment with GS. If this happens, it is essentially a confirmation of the diagnosis of FIP.

Examination by a veterinarian

Any of the above symptoms should lead you to a veterinarian, where you should work to confirm or refute the diagnosis of FIP. He should do basic examinations and, if necessary, reach for some specialized ones.

  • basic biochemistry
  • basic hematology
  • test FIV/FeLV
  • medical ultrasound
  • electrophoresis of serum proteins
  • in case of wet FIP it is good to make a punction and send the fluid for PCR test, or at least visually evaluate its color and consistency…
  • Rivalta test - used to differentiate between exudate and transudate
  • The frequently used SNAP test for blood antibodies usually has no meaning because it cannot detect whether it is a mutated FIPV virus or just a common and harmless coronavirus FCoV, which is estimated to have about 70-80% of cats. However, it is important if it is made from a sample of effusion fluid.

The findings for FIP usually correspond to the following findings:

  • The effusion in wet FIP is usually yellow, viscous, sticky, fibrin fibers are formed in it. The presence of liquid will also be shown by sonographic examination. See pictures below.
  • enlarged lymph nodes visible on sonography
  • in dry FIP, local inflammatory foci (granulomas) often occur in some organs, such as the liver or kidneys. They are visible on ultrasound.
  • high coronavirus titer (≥1: 3200)
  • isolated exudates around organs in abdominal cavity
Blood

Selected blood parameters important in the diagnosis of FIP

ParameterWet FIPDry FIP
Hematocritdecreasednormal to decreased
Reticulocytesnormal to decreasednormal to decreased
Neutrophilselevatedelevated
Lymphocytesdecreasednormal to decreased
MCVdecreaseddecreased
Total proteinnormal to elevatednormal to elevated
Albuminnormal to decreasednormal to decreased
Globulinselevatedelevated
Gamma globulinselevatedelevated
A:Gdecreased (<0.5)decreased (<0.5)
Bilirubinelevatednormal to elevated
Acute-phase proteinselevatedelevated
Ultrasound

Ultrasound image showing abdominal effusion in a cat with wet FIP. Anechoic fluid is present between organs, distending the abdomen. FF = free fluid; L = liver; S = spleen; K = kidney


Efusion fluid in wet FIP
Peritoneal effusion from a cat with classic wet (or effusive) form of FIP.
(A) Characteristic color of peritoneal effusion collected by abdominocentesis.
(B) Close view of a plastic bag containing 350 ml of abdominal effusion and large clumps of fibrin.
Positive Rivalt test in a cat with wet FIP

The final diagnosis itself belongs to the veterinarian. Needless to say, you should have a really good vet.

Selected bloodwork reference values here.