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Can FIP be Contagious? Understanding Horizontal Transmission in Cats

Updated: Feb 12

While horizontal transmission of FIP in its already-mutated state is exceedingly rare, it is a certain possibility. With the advent of a new FCoV variant originating from Cyprus, Greece, FCoV-23 may increase the possibility of transmitting FIP from one cat to another.


FIP Basics & Non-Contagious Nature

Feline Infectious Peritonitis develops from a widespread but generally harmless virus called Feline Coronavirus (FCoV). Most cats come into contact with FCoV, yet only a small percentage ever develop FIP due to their individual immune response and viral mutations. In most cases, FIP cannot be spread directly from one cat to another.


The Potential for Horizontal Transmission

Recent research hints at the possibility of FIP horizontal transmission in certain specific circumstances:

  • Mutated Virus: In rare cases, the FIP virus can undergo mutations that may slightly alter its behavior. Some of these mutations have been linked to instances of transmission amongst cats in close contact.

  • Immune Suppression: Cats with compromised immune systems may be more susceptible to contracting a mutated, horizontally transmissible strain of the FIP virus.

  • The Cyprus Strain: In Cyprus, studies have isolated a distinct variant of Feline Coronavirus, dubbed FCoV-23. This strain appears to demonstrate a slightly higher propensity for horizontal transmission compared to standard FIP viral strains. [Link to relevant study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8980701/]


Minimizing Risk

Though the overall risk of horizontal FIP transmission remains low, responsible cat owners should be aware of these potential scenarios. Here's what you can do:

  • Shelter & Multi-Cat Environments: Maintain good hygiene practices, isolate new cats initially, and be extra vigilant if any cats fall ill, especially for shelters and households with multiple cats.

  • Caring for an FIP Cat: FIP cats themselves cannot transmit the disease directly. However, if there's any indication their strain might be one of the rare exceptions, temporary isolation during treatment could ease concerns.

  • FIP Treatment: Effective FIP treatment like Remedy2801™ [https://www.fipremedy.com/product-page/remedy2801-complete-fip-treatment-kit], containing the active ingredient EIDD-2801 (molnupiravir), tackles the virus within the infected cat and boosts their immune system.


Understanding FIP and Protecting Your Cat

Knowledge is crucial in safeguarding your feline companions.  While horizontal FIP transmission is uncommon, remaining informed about emerging FIP research is pivotal. For reliable information and the latest advances in FIP treatment, regularly consult trusted veterinary resources.


Please note: If you're concerned about your cat's health, promptly schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for diagnostics and guidance.

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