Cats and FIP
A friend of mine had her cat vaccinated for a disease called FIP. What is this and should I vaccinate my cat?
FIP stands for Feline Infectious Peritonitis, a contagious viral disease that does cause death in affected cats. FIP is a challenge for some veterinarians to diagnose, as its clinical signs are often nonspecific and non-diagnostic. Some of these symptoms can include weight loss, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and and enlarged abdomen. The disease cannot be treated, and the best your veterinarian can do is help keep the cat comfortable. Survival times after clinical signs appear is from two to three months. FIP is transmitted from infected cats via feces, urine, and nasal or oral secretions. Kittens may also acquire it from affected mothers. FIP is generally considered a disease of multi-cat households and catteries, and most veterinarians do not vaccinate the typical housecat for FIP. There is some concern that the vaccine is not 100% effective, and may even sensitize the cat to the virus, thus increasing its risk of acquiring FIP. I would recommend discussing this further with your own veterinarian.