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How to prevent Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease of cats caused by certain strains of a virus called the feline coronavirus[1]. Unfortunately, there is no one way of preventing FIP in cats[6]. However, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of FIP:


- Prevent FeCV infection: The only way to definitively prevent FIP in cats is to prevent FeCV infection, which can be challenging given its ubiquitous nature. Keeping cats as healthy as possible, including preventing infection by other viruses such as feline leukemia virus and calicivirus by appropriate vaccination, where indicated, is likely to decrease the likelihood of FIP[1].


- Reduce density: Housing cats at a density at or below three per room is recommended to minimize stresses that can be associated with crowded living conditions[1][2].


- Good hygiene: Litter boxes should be kept clean and located away from food and water dishes. Cats should ideally be housed individually, and litter boxes should be located in easy-to-clean and disinfect areas. Litter boxes should be cleaned and disinfected regularly, at least daily[2].


- Avoid stress: Stress can make cats more susceptible to FIP, so it is important to avoid stress and maintain good hygiene and preventive healthcare for all cats[2].


- Vaccination: There is a vaccine available for FIP, but its effectiveness is controversial[4]. Some sources suggest that newly acquired cats and any cats that are suspected of being infected with FeCV should be vaccinated with the FIP vaccine Felocell FIP (Zoetis) before bringing in the new kitten[4].


In most cases, preventing the spread of FeCV is impossible in a multi-cat household. Some owners elect to allow their cats to interact to preserve the cat's quality of life and to treat for FIP when necessary.



In summary, while there is no guaranteed way to prevent FIP in cats, taking steps to reduce density, maintain good hygiene, avoid stress, and prevent FeCV infection can help reduce the risk of FIP.



Citations:

[1] https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/feline-infectious-peritonitis

[2] https://icatcare.org/advice/feline-infectious-peritonitis-fip/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7147232/

[4] https://www.biogal.com/test/how-to-avoid-fip-in-your-cat/

[5] https://catfriendly.com/feline-diseases/fip/

[6] https://acornvets.ie/can-i-protect-my-cat-from-fip/

In most cases, preventing the spread of FeCV is impossible in a multi-cat household. Some owners elect to allow their cats to interact to preserve the cat's quality of life and to treat for FIP when necessary.

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