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 More on FIP


Many thanks to Dr. Allen Cahill for providing this "public information".

From the Morris Animal Foundation, "Detecting the Elusive FIP Virus in Feline Patients", by Rob Hilsenroth, DVM. 

"Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is one of the most dreaded diseases of feline practice. A uniformly fatal disease, FIP also appears to be contagious and is usually associated with environments containing large populations of cats, such as catteries and animal shelters. The virus is also a threat to wild felids such as cheetahs, leopards, and tigers. The coronavirus responsible is believed to be a mutant of a minimally pathogenic coronavirus that causes transient, subclinical gastrointestinal disease. The FIP virus causes multisystemic disease by inciting a dramatic, and ultimately over powering, immune-mediated reaction in various tissues. Depending on the balance of the cell-mediated vs. The humoral immune response to the virus, animals can clear the infection, or develop peritonitis (the "wet" form of FIP) or widespread granulomatous disease (the "dry" form of FIP)." 

"Perhaps the real heartbreak of FIP is that, currently, it is very difficult to diagnose with certainty antemortem. Once cats are clinically ill from FIP and the condition is recognized, other cats have invariably been exposed. Since the majority of cases come form multi-cat facilities, this can potentially lead to outbreaks that are difficult to control at present, the diagnosis is ultimately made at necropsy by demonstrating characteristic histopathological lesions." 

" To date, serologic tests to diagnose FIP have been disappointing. The main problem is that antibodies produced against FIP virus cannot be distinguished from antibodies produced against less pathogenic coronaviruses. Since feline coronaviruses are prevalent, most cats tested will be positive. Moreover, negative results do not rule out a diagnosis of FIP, as some cats fail to mount an antibody response to the virus. Tests against viral antigens are likewise ineffective, since the viruses are so similar at the genetic level." 

"Morris Animal Foundation is funding research to investigate the FIP virus and its genetic relationships to less virulent strains of coronavirus to try and identify subtle differences between these viruses. A specific region of the gene sequence has been targeted. With the use of advanced technology such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), genetic sequences of the viruses can be amplified and studied for variances. The dramatic specificity and sensitivity offered by PCR enhances the probability of identifying these distinct regions. The protein products of these genes that may be identified with PCR can potentially be utilized to devise an ELISA assay. The generation of such an assay may provide an invaluable tool that will give cats, their owners, and veterinarians the upper hand in the fight against FIP." 

Dr. Allen Cahill
DyNAgenics Vet. Diagnostics
PO Box 39079
Denver, CO  80239

Fax: 303-307-1995


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by John & Diana Fineran - Aug 1999- 2022.  
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