FIP, or Feline Infectious Peritonitis, is a viral disease that affects cats. It is a progressive disease that is almost always fatal.
According to a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers from Kansas State University describe their success with an antiviral treatment for FIP that inhibits the virus from replicating and actually stops the the disease from progressing. Not only did they stop FIP in it’s tracks, the cats that received the treatment, who were almost guaranteed to die of FIP, returned to normal post-treatment.
FIP occurs when the Feline Corona Virus (FECV) mutates to feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) in a cat and starts to replicate in the cat’s cells. It’s not known what causes this mutation in the first place but it occurs in about 1 in 5,000 cats and can be transmitted to other cats through contact and exposure to feces in litter boxes.
Once the virus becomes FIP, the most common result is a “wet” form of the disease, resulting in fluid buildup in the abdomen, fever, jaundice and weight loss. There is no cure for FIP, and once these symptoms appear, death follows in a matter of weeks to months.
According to Discovery News, researchers have been able to successfully reverse the progress of the deadly disease:
“This is the first time we showed experimental evidence of successful treatment of laboratory cats at an advanced clinical stage of FIP,” said study lead Yunjeong Kim, an associate professor in KSU’s diagnostic medicine and pathobiology department.
“We found that antiviral treatment led to full recovery of cats when treatment was started at a stage of disease that would be otherwise fatal if left untreated,” scientists wrote in their paper.
However, after being treated, the cats made full recoveries within 20 days!
What happens next? Since all the cats in the study had been given FIP in a laboratory setting, scientists will now test the new treatment on cats who acquired the disease naturally.