Shelters & Rescues – FIP 101
Please note: This section is intended for ethical, caring cat breeders and rescue organizations and information purposes ONLY. If you have a sick cat, please consult a qualified veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. The authors exclude all liability whatsoever for any loss or damage arising out of the use of this website or reliance upon its content and STRONGLY advises anybody with veterinary related questions to consult a qualified veterinarian.
Cats and kittens in shelters are at a higher than average risk of developing FIP.
FIP is a major problem in cat shelters thus an understanding of feline coronavirus (FCoV) shedding and rigorous hygienic protocols are the most effective ways to prevent this disease. Stress reduction is also an important factor since the development of FIP is often preceded by a stressful episode in the cat’s life.
The primary source of the virus is the feces of infected cats and infection is by accidental ingestion of such feces, FCoV is also very readily spread by fomite transmission. Feline coronavirus is a fragile virus, surviving a few days outdoors but can survive up to 7 weeks in dried up feces in cat litter particles.
Every cat or kitten who enters the shelter should be given his or her own newly disinfected litter tray.
The key to prevention of FIP is to prevent FCoV infection. Largely, this is done by keeping infected and uninfected cats apart, and with excellent hygiene. Please DO NOT keep more cats than you have facilities for, infectious disease is the scourge of cats, and overcrowding is a ticking time bomb.
There is absolutely no point in rescuing cats and kittens just to have them die of FIP.
In many situations, a good network of cat fosterers, each housing only a few cats, is a better system than having a large, central cat shelter: should there be an outbreak of infectious disease (any infectious disease, not just FIP) it will be easier to contain in a foster network situation.
According to Dr. Diane Addie, all cats coming into a rescue shelter, sanctuary or boarding cattery should be fully vaccinated with Felocell® FIP preferably before coming into the cattery (provided the vaccine is available in your country). The vaccine is given as droplets up the nose to kittens and cats 16 weeks of age and older. It is estimated the FIP vaccine will save 50% to 75% of cats who would have gone on to develop FIP. Since Felocell® FIP alone cannot protect all cats from FIP, it is important that excellent hygiene, good nutrition, and stress reduction practices are used too, since these can also prevent many FIP deaths.
Cats and kittens who develop FIP commonly have a history of stress prior to FIP developing; it is believed that stress triggers FIP in some way; therefore, it makes sense to reduce the stress cats experience as a method of reducing the number of cats who will develop FIP.
What can you do to prevent or minimize
the spread of FCoV in shelters and rescues?
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