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My 11.5 yr old neutered male cat received a diagnosis today…

Hello, my 11.5 yr old...
Hello, my 11.5 yr old neutered male cat received a diagnosis today of presumed FIP. I understand there is no test that can definitely prove he has it. The vet who saw him said his albumin, globulin, and lymphocyte values put FIP at the top of her list of probabilities, but it's not by any means a certainty. He was vaccinated and an indoor cat ever since I adopted him as a rescue when he was estimated to be about 7 months old. I also have a female that I adopted from the same rescue at the same time, and 2 ragdoll kittens, 6 and 8 months old. All of these cats are vaccinated and none of them are related to each other. My concern is for my other 3 cats. I asked the vet who saw him today if FIP is contagious and if my other cats were in danger of catching it. At first she said no, that FIP is a result of the way this cat's immune system responded to the coronavirus and that 90% of cats are exposed to it as kittens. But later, during a phone call, she said she has seen FIP in multi-cat households. However, she also said that separating my cats when they're used to being together would be stressful and that it would be best to keep things normal. I'm very confused about what to do. I want my 3 other cats to be as protected as possible. I'm not feeling reassured that interacting with my sick cat isn't a danger to them.
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/10/2018
Scott Perry
Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3,537
Experience: DVM
Verified

Hello. My name is***** and I am a veterinarian that can answer your question. I understand Randy possibly has FIP and your concern is whether or not it is contagious to your other cats and if you need to separate them. Is that a correct summary of the situation?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
the vet I saw today didn't give me a definitive answer I'm at ease with. I don't know for certain that Randy has FIP, but as it's possible, I need to understand if it will affect my other three cats. Two are just kittens, so I'm very concerned.

As you may know, FIP occurs from a mutated version of a common virus that cats get in their intestine. Much is unknown about FIP, but the prevailing opinion is that it is not considered to be contagious to other cats. It is believed that each case of FIP is a result of a new mutation that affects that individual and not any other that comes in contact with it. Those events that occur in multiple cat households or confined environment with other cats are often associated because of immune suppression from something else. For instance, if a cat has immune suppression from chronic stress, feline leukemia, or other disease, then they could potentially be at risk, but that has yet to be proven. A healthy cat (or kitten) should not get infected with FIP that comes from a different cat.

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Does that help to answer your question?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
All of my cats are FeLV and FIV negative, including Randy. He did have a Feline Herpesvirus flare-up in December. At that time, the vet said that Randy was likely exposed to FHV as a kitten, before he got any vaccinations. The vet suggested that if this is FIP, it could have been caused by the stress of the herpesvirus. He had previously had very mild occasional flare-ups (squinting, a watery eye, sneezing a bit), but in December he had more pronounced upper respiratory symptoms and conjunctivitis in one eye. The vet today suggested that immune suppression from this more severe FHV flare-up could have caused the FIP. She doesn't sound worried that my other cats are in any danger, but I wanted to be sure. They're used to interacting and share water bowls and litter boxes.

It is really impossible to know how these FIP cases get started. There are many cats with FHV that never get FIP (in fact, most do not), and many cats without FHV get diagnosed with FIP. There does not seem to be a consistent reason for it. These FHV flare ups occur spontaneously and do not necessarily need to have a history of immune suppression (i.e. stress / anxiety), although that can do it.

Regarding the FIP, there is zero evidence that it is contagious to other cats, so I would not worry or do anything differently at home to keep your other cats away from Randy. I would feel comfortable letting them interact.

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Please let me know if you have any other questions. I'm here to help. You have no the questions, I would appreciate a positive review when you get time. Leaving a review does not close out your question and you can come back to any time to ask additional questions. You can leave a five star review at the top of the screen. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Thank you very much for clearing that up for me. I very much appreciate your time. This is still only a presumed diagnosis of FIP. My regular vet is away for the weekend, so Randy was seen today by a vet who isn't familiar with him or his history. I'm going to have him examined by my regular vet as soon as she gets back. I only wanted to be sure Randy was posing no risk to my other cats in the meantime. It sounds as though it will be fine. Thanks again for your time and the very helpful and detailed information. Have a great evening!

You are most welcome. I am happy to help. Take care!

Scott Perry
Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3,537
Experience: DVM
Verified
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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Hello again Dr. Perry, My cat Randy was started on 5 mg. Prednilisone today. The dosage is 5 mg. once a day for 7 days, then half that dosage for the following 7 days. He just had his first dosage two hours ago. At the time I gave it to him, I noticed a tan/greenish dried substance around one nostril. Randy was drinking Whiskas Catmilk this morning, so I assumed it was dried catmilk and wiped it off with a damp cloth. When I checked on him a few minutes ago, I saw that he has a thick, greenish discharge from one nostril. I wiped it away and called the vet, who said it's not a concern unless the loss of smell prevents him from eating. I asked again about Randy interacting with our other cats, now that he has this green nasal discharge, and was told again that it's not contagious and I shouldn't worry. My cats, including Randy, share water dishes and litter boxes, so I'm a bit uneasy. I would appreciate your input. Thank you in advance for your time.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Also, if I could add one more question, could this nasal discharge, being greenish, indicate an infection?

Green discharge from the nose could mean there is a respiratory infection, but usually there is a history of sneezing. So it is difficult to know what to make of this. I think I am in agreement with your veterinarian about no need to treat if there is no history of sneezing, lack of appetite, or increased respiratory rate. It would be a good idea to isolate Randy for the time being until the green discharge resolves and also to periodically count the respiratory rate when he is resting. Normal for a cat is less than 40 breaths per minute. If you are getting 50 breaths or more then that could indicate difficulty breathing and should be checked out by your veterinarian.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
His respiratory rate is normal, 20-30 per minute. The discharge is very thick and heavy, yellowish/greenish, and is blocking his nostril, which I believe is affecting his appetite. I've been wiping it away frequently. He ate last night, but has only been interested in Whiskas Catmilk and water today. He's not sneezing at all, though I noticed a few little sneezes a couple of days ago.

My recommendation when this occurs is to treat with a nebulizer, saline drops, and the veterinarian may consider giving doxycycline as an antibiotic. A nebulizer and saline drops help to break up mucus and improve breathing effort.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I've left a voicemail for the vet who saw Randy yesterday. I'm hoping for a callback soon, as I agree with you that an antibiotic may help him. I'll mention the saline drops and nebulizer too. I also plan to ask for more details about Randy's bloodwork results, to be sure there wasn't anything in them that might point to a possible infection. My goal is to keep Randy comfortable while not putting my other cats at risk, a delicate balancing act, as I really don't know what's going on here. I'm mainly trying to navigate through this weekend, then touch base with my regular vet when she gets back first thing Monday morning.

It sounds like Randy is in a decent place to get through the weekend. Continue monitoring the respiratory rate and his appetite. As long as respiratory rate stays in the normal range and he is eating then it is not an emergency.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I just received a callback. The vet is prescribing orbifloxacin. Randy has an upper tooth that was inflamed/infected back in December. Our regular vet found it when she saw him for his herpesvirus flare-up. She put him on Clavamox to clear up the infection, and we planned for Randy to have dental surgery as soon as he got over his virus. Unfortunately, he's had a couple of recurrences since then and hasn't been quite well enough for surgery. The emergency vet said that his nasal discharge, being on the same side as his bad tooth, probably indicates an infection which is going to be treated, thankfully! Otherwise, he's eating a bit, drinking water, and seems very stable. Thank you again for your time. Your responses have been so helpful!

You are welcome. I am glad he is getting treated. Take care!

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Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Randy. How is everything going?

Scott Perry
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