this is undetectable
This post was edited by dominoswrath on Sat, Nov 23, 13 at 19:09
I suspect your cat may have something else besides FIP going on. The fact she eats so well, yet loses weight is not a symptom of FIP. Cats with that virus usually won't eat, thus the weight loss.
I would be upset at any vet that writes off major weight loss as a sign of old age. Have they check her teeth thoroughly and have any ultrasounds been done? Yes, he's old and there could be many things going on, but the symptoms you've listed don't add up to FIP for me.
Personally, I'd get a second opinion from another vet.
Did your vet have a Total T4 run to check thyroid function? TT4 often isn't included in a standard blood chemistry, so it may not have been done. If not, you should have that run immediately. Weight loss coupled with strong appetite are classic symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which is a relatively common illness in elderly felines.
FIP in cats causes them not to eat, and there is plenty of literature available out there to corroborate this fact. There's the effusive form and the non effusive form, add to that various organs can be affected, liver, kidneys, lymph nodes, liver, eye or nervous system where this event is occurring or it might be a combination of any or all of these. In other words, the symptoms will vary from one cat to the next.
Nonetheless, no matter how much he eats he will not gain weight as a characteristic of FIP causes the inability to absorb nutrients. He also has the wobbly gait coupled with the changes in his eyes.
"FIP is a disease with extremely diverse clinical manifestations .... Unfortunately there are no clinical signs associated with FIP that are unique for this disease, and the diverse nature of the signs means that FIP must be considered a possible cause of many different feline disease syndromes"
This post was edited by dominoswrath on Sat, Nov 23, 13 at 19:10
Lots of info on this thread about FIP.
Here is a link that might be useful: GW Thread about FIP
I have treated and seen hundreds of FIP cats over the last 25 years and I can say the symptoms of your cat are certainly not typical. Not sure why the diagnosis of FIP has been accepted when there are many other conditions that are still possibilities, some which may be treatable. Yes, one always has to include FIP on the list of possibilities, but arriving at a diagnosis of FIP seems premature, particularly without confirmation, as difficult as that is sometimes (impossible without tissue biopsy of infected tissues often.. but still that is always on option). I did have a few cases of cats dying of neurologic symptoms but we were not about to try to biopsy brain tissue... some turned out to positive for FIP on postmortem, but most were not. It is easy to diagnose after death of course, though that is too late to do anything about obviously.
However, since it is basically an untreatable disease, and there are more common though also nebulous illnesses that can present similarly, some which are treatable, I might have recommend continuing to look for other possibilities before giving up, unless his quality of life was so poor and worsening so fast that you feel it was not worth it.
When cats get very old, they begin to suffer a large number of degenerative maladies, the most common which are renal diseases, cancers, autoimmune diseases (most typically gastrointestinal... like IBD or similar conditions), various liver conditions, arthritis and hyperthyroidism. I would put FIP far down the list of debilitating diseases, though we know it is somewhat under diagnosed. Most cases we see of FIP or more acute and rapidly debilitating at younger age. We still do not even know for sure how it is passed on, and why one out of 20 cats in some households will get it while the other 19 do not.
There are few if any symptoms of FIP which are unique to the infection... all can be attributed to other disease possibilities as well, which is one of the reasons I would say making a diagnosis of FIP in a 17 year cat are pretty difficult, if not impossible thing to do, unless, as stated already, one biopsies a suspect tissue and recovers the virus (the virus is easy to recover from the tissue, if you get the right tissue). I have no idea how your veterinarian came to that conclusion and I think most other veterinarians would find that a very suspect conclusion.
We try never to attribute any problems to 'old age' but old age is often associated with diseases as the immune system begins to falter and organs age... but all diseases are due to some specific cause, not just 'old age'.
Either way, it sounds as your cat has passed on and for that I am sorry. You have to be somewhat happy your cat lived 17 years which is certainly beyond the average lifespan for a cat. So you must have taken good care of him.
To add to my post......I think a lot of vets too often try to label illnesses with FIP when they can't make a diagnosis.
I rescued a 7 week old kitten who was at deaths door and the vet I took her to immediately put her on antibiotics. After a couple of weeks he diagnosed her with possible FIP because she wasn't thriving and he then wanted me to spend a few hundred to try to rule out FIP, which I knew wasn't really possible.
I sought out another vet, a cat specialist, who discovered the kitten had giardia, ear mites, and URI. The vet prescribed a compounded antibiotic and within 48 hours the kitten showed 90% improvement. She's now 2+ years old and hasn't been sick since.