Traditional Cat Association,
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Perhaps some of you donít know that I am first, last and always a horseman. Through my years new vaccines were announced and the fear factor capitalized on by the pharmaceutical companies. Still, a sort of "savvy" told me to wait until any new vaccine was proven for some years before I would consider jumping in and using it. Recent events made me suspicious of the FIP vaccine. FIP means Feline Infectious Peritonitis. I have NEVER used it and donít recommend it to others. Again, it was that common sense caution that kept me wary. To my absolute amazement an interview with the Veterinarian on the leading edge of research on FIP confirmed my suspicions! The following is a synopsis of my interview with:
Dr. Allen Cahill
"The FIP vaccine is a live virus, which the pharmaceutical companies profess is not supposed to replicate itself. In fact all of the FIP vaccines are capable of turning upon themselves and developing into the FIP disease itself. Once the cat or kitten is given the FIP vaccine its immune system is compromised. If that kitten is put under stress, such as any surgery, changing homes, travel or being vaccinated with another vaccine, the kitten most likely will develop FIP and die shortly thereafter. FIP is one of several corona viruses our cats are exposed to. The introduction of any other corona virus to a cat or kitten who has been vaccinated with the FIP vaccine will cause the cat to come down with FIP in 6% to 10% of the cases. No one should use the FIP vaccine."
"The leading Veterinarian at Cornell University announced in an October/November publication, in 3 to 5 years an epidemic of FIP will occur due solely to the vaccine."
"FIP comes in two forms, dry and wet. There are 13 known strains. Five are "hot" or wet strains and 8 are dry strains. Any one of the 8 dry strains can switch over to the wet form. It is the dry form that fools Veterinarians because of the variety of disconnected systems. If your cat has the dry form it may stay dormant for years. Small symptoms manifest themselves once in a while, such as the sniffles or diarrhea that go away after a brief time. On the other hand it may stay dormant for the life of the cat and do nothing at all. Some cats shed the virus without showing any sign of having the disease and are called "carriers". The dry form hides in the spinal fluid and in the lining of the abdomen. The wet form creates an amount of fluid in the abdomen that causes the cat to bloat and feel spongy to the touch. Death is unpreventable."
Dr. Cahill brought up an example very much like my own. "The only time FIP vaccine could be used is in a situation where the cats have been tested and found clean of all corona viruses including FIP, and maintained in a closed society where they are never exposed to any other cat. The irony comes because it is so illogical to introduce a live virus into a clean environment. Why do such a thing?"
What is the solution to catteries faced with this dilemma? "There is a PCR test available now that is specific to FIP. Each cattery should test every cat. Thus providing the owner with an over view of the health of the cattery. This can also be proof, should a cat be sold and subsequently comes down with FIP. In that way the cattery owner can say that everything available was done in an effort to do the very best thing. This has a second side to it as well. If a cattery is the recipient of an FIP infected cat, testing with the PCR test BEFORE any new cats enter the cattery can prove the source of the disease was the new cat. Protection is key. Working to the breedersí advantage is the fact that all kittens can develop natural immunity to FIP between the ages of 5 weeks to 16 weeks. Cattery management comes into play. The recommendation is to keep the litter completely away from any other adult cats including mom, during this period."
Another approach, which has always proven successful, is quarantine for 2 weeks. I have promoted this unrelentingly for years because I do it myself. A separate place, a Veterinary clinic, even a friendís home, where no other cats reside is the very best. Never introduce a new cat or kitten directly into a resident population without quarantining it. If something presents itself, you can deal with it.
Dr. Cahill is currently doing research on what he called a "probe". This will be a test for both the dry and wet forms of FIP. For us, who are trying to bring back old bloodlines of Traditional Cats still rare in numbers, this will be a major help. We can not risk the loss of our precious catteries that we have supported through 12 years of struggle.
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