How to Deal With Feline Coronavirus?

By June 23 | See Comments

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Infectious peritonitis is a viral disease that affects cats and has a high mortality rate because of its aggressiveness and also its innate nonresponsiveness to high fever. The disease is even more common in households with more than one cat compared to single cat households. It is not easy to diagnose, prevent and control the condition, and if there is an outbreak with the kennels or breeding catteries, it can lead to a high number of deaths.The disease spreads through the inhalation of infected feces and airborne contaminants. The virus can also be transmitted by humans who have been exposed to it. The virus also has an ability to stay active on contaminated surfaces.It is a classic infection that exploits immature and weakened immune systems. They spread through the body via the white blood cells. It is very common in cats that are between four months to four years of age. The incidence of the condition drops sharply after that as the immune system gets stronger.

Symptoms

The symptoms of infectious peritonitis vary depending on the strain of the virus, the immune system of the cat and the affected organs. The two reported forms include the effusive form, which targets the cavities in the body and the noneffusive form, which targets the organ systems. The effusive form progresses much more rapidly than the dry form. The coat of the cat becomes dull and rough, and the cat becomes increasingly depressed and lethargic.

Effusive
  • Unresponsive and persistent fever
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Fluid accumulation in the chest cavity
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Runny, sneezing nose
  • Lethargy
Non-effusive
  • Poor growth
  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Inflammation of different parts of the eye
  • Neurological symptoms, such as vision loss and the inability to coordinate movements
Causes

Peritonitis is usually followed by a coronavirus infection, which usually does not present with any outward symptoms. There are certain coronaviruses that mutate into the infectious peritonitis, on their own or because of a defect in the immune response of the cat. The coronavirus can also lie dormant before it mutates into FIP. It then infects the white blood cells, and uses them to hitch a ride throughout the body.

Diagnosis

It is difficult to diagnose because it can mimic many other diseases. There isn’t a definitive lab test that can point to FIP, but your vet can make a presumptive diagnosis based on the lab findings. A CBC panel might show the number of white blood cells which can be used to indicate the presence of the infection. However, there is no way to be sure as to what infection is present. Your vet might use a PCR test to differentiate the DNA of the coronavirus, but that is still not enough to tell what type of coronavirus it is.Your vet might prescribe anti-inflammatories,

antibiotics

and immunosuppressants to slow down the progress of the disease. Although it is not a complete cure, it will prolong your cat’s life by a few months. Your vet might also remove the accumulated fluid from the cavity to reduce the pressure.

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