from FURRY BOOTS for you
YEAR 2001 KNOWLEDGE ON FIP ...
full name FELINE INFECTIOUS PERITONITIS
by Irene de Villiers
There is new information about FIP and how it behaves, and which
tells us more than we knew before.
Corona virus indeed can spread from one cat to another - so is contagious
as *corona* but not as FIP.
The mutated FIP can NOT spread from one cat to another, and it has to
mutate from corona to FIP within each cat that is infected. the FIP disease
is in any case not a virus attack - it is the cat's own antibodies attacking it
and of course that too can not be handed from one cat to another.
In group situations where it might look like there is an epidemic of FIP -
the reason for the FIP looking contagious is not that it spreads from cat to
cat, but that the common factors that predispose the corona mutating to
FIP, are there for all the cats in that environment.
So we really need to look at what predisposes corona to mutate to FIP.
There is thought to be a genetic predisposition though this is currently not
*proved* one way or the other. It may just be a case of predisposition due
to genetic lack of heterozygocity (ie inbreeding depression) and thus lower
resistance in general. The details of any possible genetic predisposition
are as yet unexplained I believe.
But there is known predisposition where there is stress. Stress is the
biggest known predisposition factor for FIP.
In the past it was thought that corona virus titer would indicate likelihood
of mutation of that corona to FIP. That too is disproved. You can get high
FIP incidence with low corona titer. You can also get low FIP incidence
with high corona titer. It is the presence of stress that is the direct
correspondence item for chances of FIP - not the presence of Corona virus.
All cats have some corona virus, so theoretically, all cats can have their
corona mutate to FIP.
The problem with corona virus is that it DOES cause symptoms in many cats,
and that is of course stress inducing, in that corona can cause intestinal
problems like diarrhea. From that perspective, the stress from this can
predispose mutation to FIP. Some multi-cat homes therefore try to rid
themselves of high corona titer, or re-home high corona titer cats. I don't
go along with this - and prefer to take the approach that the true
predisposer is stress AS PERCEIVED BY THE CAT. FIP will attack by
mutating in a stressed cat even if the kindest environment is present - but
where the cat feels stressed. Some cats have a personality to stress more
easily and about different things, than other cats.
In general, cats feel stressed if there is overpopulation. rule of thumb is
one room per cat as territory - and this correlates closely with the finding
statistically, that FIP is far more prevalent where there are 7 cats or
more, than where there are less cats.
As for tests to determine presence of FIP, there are two tests n the market,
which give 95% predictive values for FIP. The one is a PCR test that looks
for mutated FIP virus (not corona virus) and which is recommended for use
to confirm FIP virus presence at autopsy rather than as a screening test.
It was developed in 1994. It will find the virus itself, and is not
dependent on antibody from an intact immune system.
The other is an ELISA test developed in 1998, using the principle of
looking for antibody to mutated FIP virus. This does depend on the immune
system being viable enough to make antibody, and is recommended as one of
the things to use to determine whether a cat has FIP, as a screening test.
It is "95% predictive" which means that it will predict a case of FIP being
present, with 95% success if the test is positive.
I have personally seen this test in use and it was accurate in prediction
for 40 out of 40 cases where I worked. It tends to find cats negative who
the vet thinks are positive - and definitely saved the life of a couple of
cats that way where I worked. I especially remember one 16 year old rather
overweight lady who looked like a wet FIP case, and who was so lethargic
as to be totally immobile. The vet was really pushing the owner to euthanize
and stop what he called the "heroic IV measures", but the owner wanted a
positive test and twice it came back negative. Sure enough, Cleo two days
later, hopped off the IV table when her hydrating session was about to
start, and next thing was other side the clinic building, feeling fine thank
you very much.
It's my opinion that this test is a great asset, and that it should be used
when FIP is suspected. I would still treat the cat for FIP symptoms
homeopathically, and use it only for diagnosis - I would never use any test
as a way to make a decision on euthanasia. That decision is for the cat to
make - they tell you when they are not enjoying life. No test does that -
but tests DO help you devise symptoms the cat may have but which they might
be unable to communicate.
Blood tests for example, will often tell you a cat is nauseous or whatever,
so you can use that rubric when repertorizing for the matching
homeopathic remedy. A positive FIP test would also trigger my wanting to
make a nosode from the fluid that is specific to the cat - and I would use
the FIP nosode treatment - the general nosode for FIP/FIV/FeLV in the
Later one can go on to specific homeopathic remedies to match symptoms,
as the case progresses.
But with alternative health, and conventional tests, there is hope for FIP
cases to live with more quality days/weeks/years than conventional
medicine can offer.
Cats have survived correct positive FIP diagnosis.
The cat's first line of defense against FIP is a cellular immune response.
This can in fact overcome FIP. The danger with FIP, happens when the
invading virus gets PAST the cellular response, to the general immune
antibody system. Once the cat's antibody system "sees" the FIp virus, it
makes antibodies to the FIP virus, and these antibodies kill the cat.
That is why traditional FIP treatment is things like cortisone that knock
out the antibody immune system. It's because the cat's antibodies to FIP
are the killer action, not the virus growing in the cat as with "normal"
But if the cat can fend off the FIP at the cellular response level (local
level of cell immunity), not the general level of antibody manufacture
through the overall immune system, then it can get rid of FIP altogether.
It's only the antibody "defense" that kills the cat who has mutated its
corona to FIP.
I hope that helps explain this horrid FIP phenomenon. You can see why a
conventional vaccine for FIP would be contraindicated, as it would teach the
body to make antibodies - and that would actually *predispose* death from
FIP if FIP got into the cat after that.
The so-called FIP vaccine that is currently available is not used by any vet
who understands this mode of death of FIP. The theory behind the vaccine, is
tat it is a non-virulent temperature-sensitive form of FIP, which they HOPE
will only get to the cellular response system, and not through to the
antibody system - they hope this from the perspective that the virus gets
into the nose where it is cool, and that the temperature-sensitive virus
will die before it gets further into the body where it can trigger antibody
manufacture (and thus death.)
Most vets consider that playing with fire.
I think the homeopathic nosode's approach of strengthening cellular immunity
and prevention of infection this way, without any fear of a virus getting in
there to be able to trigger an antibody response (since there is no virus in
the nosode), is the way to go.
That said, in a well developed case of FIP, where the symptoms may NOT be
the initial FIP symptoms, but something different in an advanced case, I
would see a real homeopath for the best way to treat those symptoms in the
These thoughts are mine about FIP - after my information research on FIP, my
experience at the clinic with it, and my my experience with homeopathy
principles and practice. I hope it is useful info somewhere along the line.
Finally, here is one example of a FIP case handled with homeopathy and nutrition.
It also explains the principles I apply when suggesting a homeopathic approach to FIP.