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002. So what is FIP?




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This article is from the Feline Infectious Peritonitis FAQ, posted to rec.pets.cats newsgroup. Maintained by Erin Miller with numerous contributions by others.

002. So what is FIP?

FIP is not caused by a retrovirus but by a type of coronavirus. One of the reasons FIP is such a problem for vets is because there may be no way to differentiate an FIP virus from certain other viruses. Current thinking is that FIP is caused by a mutation of the Feline Enteric Coronavirus (FECV). FECV is very common, and an FECV infection can have symptoms ranging from none, to flu-like with or without diarrhea. These are most common in kittens, but can occur in cats of any age. If the immune system is not functioning properly, a mutant FECV can become a more systemic infection that we call FIP. All FIP tests appear to react the same way to every type of coronavirus. So, if your cat had FECV as a kitten, it may cause the same reaction in the current test as true FIP (more on the tests below).

For the purpose of this FAQ, however, I am going to continue referring to an "FIP Virus" or "FIPV." Just keep in mind that in fact, there may not be a difference between FIPV and FECV per se, just a difference in the way a cat's immune system responds.

 

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