Feline Infectious Peritonitis is a chronic viral infectious disease of cats and felines caused by feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV). Feline infectious peritonitis has a very high mortality rate, and there is currently no particularly effective way to treat it, so for a period of time, cat infectious peritonitis has been regarded as a cat’s incurable disease.

The Causative Agent of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Feline infectious peritonitis virus is classified in the Coronavirus family, one of the members of the Coronavirus genus. The viral nucleic acid is single-stranded RNA. Virus particles were observed to be polymorphic under an electron microscope, with a size of 80-100 nm and spiral symmetry. There is a capsule, and the surface of the capsule has petal-shaped or pear-shaped protrusions with a length of 15-20 nm. The virus multiplies in the cytoplasm. According to reports in the literature, feline infectious peritonitis virus can only be serially propagated in vivo. In recent years, it has been found that it can also proliferate in tissue cultures such as cat lung cells and ascites cells. Virus proliferation can be seen in the culture of artificially infected ascites cells or inoculation of infected organs in cat small intestine organs.

Etiological studies have shown that feline infectious peritonitis virus and porcine infectious gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), canine coronavirus (CCV) and human coronavirus 229E strain have different degrees of similarity in pathogenicity and antigen structure.

The virus is sensitive to lipid solvents such as ether, the virus is unstable, and it has poor resistance to the external environment. It loses activity at room temperature for 1degree, and is commonly killed by commonly used disinfectants. But it has strong resistance to phenol, low temperature and acid environment.

Symptoms of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

The common symptoms of sick cats are lack of food or refusal to eat, depression, weight loss, body temperature rise of more than 39 degC, and can last more than 14 days. Other symptoms are more complicated, but the symptoms can be divided into two types: “wet” (exudative) and “dry” (non-exudative). Symptoms in the early stages of the disease are often not obvious or characteristic, mainly manifested by the mental depression of the sick cat, weight loss, loss of appetite or intermittent anorexia, and weak body condition. Subsequently, the body temperature rose to 39.7-41.1 degC, the number of self-cells in the blood increased. Some sick cats may show mild upper respiratory symptoms. After 1 to 6 weeks, the ascites in the “wet” cases accumulated, and abdominal distension was visible. When a female cat becomes sick, it can often be mistaken for pregnancy. The disease course of a sick cat can last from 2 weeks to 2 months. Palpation is generally painless, but there seems to be fluid. Sick cats have difficulty breathing, gradually weaken, and may show symptoms of anemia, and some sick cats die quickly. About 20% of sick cats also see increased pleural effusion and pericardial fluid, resulting in difficulty breathing in some sick cats. Jaundice can occur in some wet cases (especially in advanced disease).

In non-effusive form, ascites symptoms do not occur, which mainly invade tissues and organs such as the eye, central nervous system, kidney, and liver. When the abdominal cavity is affected, although the swelling in the abdominal cavity can be touched, the clinical symptoms are not obvious. In the case of ocular lesions, the clinical features include iris, necrosis and purulent granulomatous inflammation around the blood vessels of the ciliary body, deposits on the cornea, inflammation of the iris and ciliary body, redness of the ocular fluid, and the presence of flames in the early stages of the disease Bleeding omentum. When the central nervous system is damaged, it manifests as hindquarters dyskinesia, ataxia, cramps, and back allergies; in the case of liver damage, jaundice may occur; when the kidney is damaged, the kidneys can often be palpated in the abdominal wall to enlarge the kidneys and sick cats Symptoms such as progressive renal failure appear. Sometimes I see symptoms of cerebral edema.

In fact, some cases cannot be strictly distinguished, some are mainly exudative type and have organ disease, and some are mainly non-exudative type and there is a small amount of exudate in the abdominal cavity, but the exudative type is more common. Often 2 to 3 times the non-exudative type.

Treatment of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

There is currently no effective specific therapeutic medication, and general antibiotics are ineffective. Only supportive therapy can be used. Drugs with immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects, such as the combined use of feline interferon and glucocorticoids, and supplemental infusions to correct dehydration, can also be used alone with prednisolone or cyclophosphamide , Immunomodulatory compounds. Antibiotics are used to prevent secondary infections while antiviral drugs are used. Thoracentesis is used to relieve respiratory symptoms, but these treatments can only extend the life of sick cats and cannot be cured. It has obvious effect on cats over 6 years old. Some cats can survive for months to years under supportive treatment, but there is no antiviral drug, so the cat has a bad prognosis. Most of the cats that have clinical symptoms are dead.

Preventive of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

So far, there is no effective vaccine to prevent this disease, and the use of conventional vaccines and recombinant vaccines is not effective. In recent years, it has been found that temperature-sensitive mutants prepared from serum type DF2 strains can induce strong local mucosal immunity and cellular immunity through intranasal inoculation, which has a certain effect on the prevention of the occurrence of this disease. It is recommended to applied on cat which is older than 4 months. With the further elucidation of the pathogenic mechanism and the maturity of the virus isolation technology, it is expected to develop effective vaccines.

Prevention should also focus on strengthening feeding management, improving the sanitation of the cat house, and eliminating blood-sucking insects and rodents in the cat house. After the sick cat is found, it should be isolated, and the contaminated cat house should be thoroughly disinfected with 0.2% formaldehyde or 0.59/L chlorhexidine or other disinfectants. Dead cats should be buried deep, thereby reducing the incidence of this disease. Some people think that the occurrence of this disease is related to the existence of feline leukemia virus in cat populations, so purifying feline leukemia virus will help control the disease.

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