a fight against Feline Infectious Peritonitis


One week later, the nightmare really begins.

Luca's condition deterioratesOn Saturday, September 14, I took Luca to a different veterinarian and was informed he had FIP. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is a major killer of kittens and cats from breeding and rescue catteries. FIP is one of the leading infectious cause of cat death and it occurs when the cat reacts inappropriately to feline coronavirus (FCoV) infection.

FIP is a viral disease that can affect many systems of the body, it is a progressive disease and almost always fatal. It is found worldwide and affects not only domestic cats but also many wild ones including cheetahs, lions, cougars, tigers amongst others kept in confined environments.

This specialist was certain Luca had the effusive “wet” form of the disease and he assured me Luca’s passing was imminent and without any tactfulness, he recommended euthanasia. I felt the world collapsing around me. I was so ignorant about this disease and to make things worst encountered several other veterinarians who were not prepared at all to deal with this type of diagnosis. Time went on but Luca was not showing signs of ascites/effusions.

Luca’s condition deteriorates while diagnosis remains uncertain.

Weeks went by and we were able to eliminate other possible illnesses. It became clear that FIP was high on the list of possible culprits but we couldn’t be certain of a diagnosis. This uncertainty was due in part by the unreliability of one of the well-known laboratories here in the United States as well as the lack of knowledge of the treating veterinarians in regards to what type of samples were needed for testing. Those few weeks were a rollercoaster ride, there were days which it seemed Luca was doing well and other days when it looked that the end was near.

Luca didn’t give up, he was such a fighter! Even when dealing with neurological symptoms, he continued to make efforts to maintain his normal routine. His courage and fortitude was to be admired!

The fight is lost.

Luca's final day on earthHe was fighting the impossible battle and this awful virus continued to attack his little body. Shortly after 10 p.m. on Saturday October 5, 2013, Luca left this physical world where he was so limited and joined the ranks of countless animals killed by this dreadful and misunderstood disease.

Out of the pain and suffering we both endured the need and desire to help find an end to FIP was born. Awareness and education about FIP must be spread among Pet Parents, Breeders, Rescue Groups and members of the Veterinary field.

I was extremely surprised and disappointed by the lack of knowledge about FIP within most of the veterinarians we encountered in our quest to find out what was affecting Luca.

As a first step in my mission to make a difference, I requested a necropsy to be performed. I was present and saw with my own eyes the condition of his kidneys and other vital organs.

About a month later, results were in: Luca had died of the dry form of Feline Infectious Peritonitis.

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