Monday, February 02, 2009


We have some stellar clients at our hospital who really love their cats. The mom and her adult daughter both have 10 or so cats each in their home, and also rescue a lot of cats and find new homes for them. They are not crazy cat ladies - they really care for each cat and also follow all our medical recommendations. No matter the cost, they always want the best health care for all their many felines.

Recently some of their cats have gotten ill with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). This is a terrible virus that, once activated, is 100% fatal. Many cats are exposed to this virus and never get sick. We don't know what causes some cats to have an active infection and others to remain well.

Part of the problem is the enormous immune reaction the virus causes. Usually we see fever, lymph node enlargement, and a belly full of fluid. When the cat's body attacks the virus it causes a vasculitis, and the leaky blood vessels ooze protein and water.

Normally we see a few cases a year. In the past few months, we've diagnosed 5 of their cats. Saturday was really bad - I euthanized one that had been in "hospice" at home, sent home another for hospice that had been hospitalized all week, and diagnosed a new case. It really made me want to vomit, since I can't offer any effective treatment, can't explain the virus, and can't even tell them how to prevent the spread. Neither can the gurus of feline internal medicine. It frustrates me that it is happening to such a nice family, one that would do anything necessary. In this case, nothing we know of will help.


get2eric said...


Emily said...

Aw, how sad. I'm sure they know you are doing your best.

peevish said...

That is so horrible. I've never heard of it before now.