Uveitis in a young cat / probable FIP

Anne_Marie_AlbDecember 3, 2009

I just posted about pancreatitis, and I thought I would try my luck again on this other issue.

I've beeen fostering this young female cat (maybe just over 1 year old) for just over 6 weeks now. She comes from our local (over-populated) shelter where I volunteer.

I took pity on her bec. she had been kept in a cage for a long time and she looked so depressed and seemed to be losing weight. She was on eye med for apparent uveitis in her right eye. At the time, they suspected that toxoplasmosis was the underlying cause (on Clyndamacyn & 2 types on eye meds). We kept treating her for another 3 weeks, but her eye seemed to get worse, and she lost another 4 oz (she is skin & bones in spite of a reasonable food intake). Vet put her on slightly different eye meds for a week. Her eye still got worse. At my insistence and expenses, they finally did some blood work, and analyzed a fecal sample. She tested negative for toxo, but positive for Coronavirus (ELISA titer of 1:1182 consistent with FIP supported by other clinical signs such as uveitis).

Fecal showed heavy infestation of roundworm eggs--so she has got dewormed twice (2 weeks apart).

I seriously considered taking her back to the shelter on account on my other cats, but did not. I talked to the manager, and she agreed to let me give her a break from weeks of eye meds which did not seem to work.

Don't worry, from day one, she never shared litter boxes, food/water bowls, and we were very vigilant on preventing 'physical' contact (grooming, rub noses or bottom smelling). A full time job in itself! However, she does roam around part of the house with our cats during the day, and gets along..

3 weeks after we stopped the eye meds, her eye looks better, but it still has that reddish film if you look at it from the side.

BUT she has not yet gained any weight back (although she has not lost any more either)... she just weighs 4.8 lbs...

She does not eat much at one time, but welcomes some soft food 4-5 times a day, and eats a little bit of dry at night. Otherwise, everything seems pretty normal. No vomiting, no fever, no coughing, no diarrhea. Her activity level certainly could be better, though.

Now the questions:

1. Some odd behavior: she loves to lick our bathroom tiled floor (we keep the door closed now), the metal bars /> from under the bed, and now even a little section of our hardfloor by the bathroom. Looks to me it could be a sign of vitamin deficiency but can't find much on that.

2. How can I help her gain weight? (I don't like to give treats, but have tried a couple with no success). Have tried several wet foods, too, with no success. She is Purina Pro-Plan girl!

3. Is there any hope of recovery for her??

I realize this is a lot to ask, but any input will be appreciated.


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I had a cat once that had a hard time recovering from something and was losing weight. I was given by the vet some stuff that came in a tube, looked and smelled like hairball remedy stuff they sell in the store. Was told it was very high in calories/vit. and could practically just live off it alone. Maybe someone at shelter is familiar with it. Its been so long I don't remember what it was called.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 12:02PM
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I'm sorry.

I've "had" FIP, & it's horrible, & there is no cure.

It's fatal.

If I'd known then what I know now, I wouldn't have put my own pet, or my own self, through it.

This poor baby is a shelter cat with multiple horrible health problems.

I'd give her a strong dose of Valium to keep her stress level low & take her to the vet & have her put to sleep.

Again, I'm sorry.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 1:52PM
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Since it is a probable FIP, I would not give up just yet.

I would try Felovite (I think this is the stuff Izzie referred to), L-Lysine supplements (CVS and any pharmacy has them, OTC, crush and add powder to wet food), and undiluted concentrated goat's milk (in a can, in grocery stores near canned milk), as a start

FIP is not contagious, per se. Corona virus is. The mutated corona virus does is not passed on from an cat to a cat, and only a small percentage of cats who get a corona virus (which is almost omnipresent, in shelters and catteries) will have it mutate to the deadly FIP...

Good luck and thank you for giving the kitty hope

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 2:31PM
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My Ragdoll, Cleo, died from FIP 2 years ago. There are several threads on here about her. She started with uveitis also. However, we were able to get her uveitis to resolve. She was treated by a veterinary opthalmologist. She was the longest lived case of FIP our vet had ever seen, about 18 months. But it was a very expensive 18 months. It wasn't any one expensive bill, it was $250-500 here and there, over and over again.

Personally, I would not expose her to your other cats. Although the statistics say only 2% will get it if exposed, my cat's entire litter succumbed to it, but the mother never did. She was believed to be a virus shedder. I was told not to get another cat for 8-12 weeks after Cleo passed, and we washed everything we could with bleach. I was not going to go through that again.

In terms of food, Cleo ate Wellness and also chicken and carrots I cooked for her. She was always a good eater.

If it is the wet form, FIP will often escalate quickly and the cat will die. It sounds like this kitten is holding her own and may have the "dry" form of the disease. If so, she will have periods where she seems better and then something will happen, such as another bout of uveitis or fluid in the lungs that need to be drained. Best case these will be resolvable with meds and draining and she will live for some time. In the case of Cleo, she did well for about 18 months at which time it went into her spine. She began having difficulty walking (she could walk, but not was easily as before) and then she began to have seizures. We had her put to sleep after about 6 hours of seizures.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 8:58PM
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Thanks Izzie. I think I know what you are referring to. A vet prescribed some Supplical (a nutritious supplement, in a tube) for my CRF cat. I am sure there are several similar products. I'll try to get some.

NO, I can't give up, and I won't give up on her. Anyway, she is not our cat. As a foster "mom", I feel responsible for her, but , honestly, the shelter is not giving me any support... They seem to have totally forgotten about her! How convenient for them.

Anyway, I know FIP is very serious and scary, and I am very sorry about all the sad stories that I brought back for some of you. Sue, I do remember your struggle with Cloe and I went back to the thread to read more about it. Lots of good info in the replies and links, although a lot goes over my head. It is a very mystifying disease, not understood yet. So I want to think positive. Yet, I wish I had not picked that cat to foster.. and of course, I am getting attached!
Too late for not exposing my cats, but as I said, we have been very vigilant about litter boxes, food/water bowls. Our cats are older, and 3 of them would have been exposed already to pretty much everything as they stayed at the shelter for many months.
I would have replied earlier, but I had to take a deep breath and try to be rational about it without letting myself imagine the worst.
Thanks, everyone.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 6:54PM
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We lost a much-loved kitten to FIP 6 years ago, day after Christmas. It is very easy to become attached in a short time, no matter if it's just a foster or your own.

My heart goes out to you and this little one. I will hope for the best.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 11:50PM
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Our little foster cat lost her battle yesterday. In a short time--almost 3 months, I had got extremely attached (as I should have expected) to that little one. She went down very, very quickly, of course on New Year's eve in the midst of a lengthy, nasty snow storm. Isn't it always the case...

Not to stir any bad memories for anyone, I just had to check if this is a common ending. I can see 2 major "steps".

1. From one day to the next, about 4 weeks ago, she went from being the most affectionate, playful cat to a very shy one. Not only she would not want to come out from under the bed (hard to reach her there), but she was completely running away from us, and she did not want to come out from our guest bedroom, when, just the day before, she simply could not wait for us to open the door.. We blocked the bed so that she could not go under it, and we made a special 'snug, warm retreat" for her where we could pet her, and reach her, and we brought her downstairs during the day, where she had all sorts of 'safe' places without being excluded from all of us. Our cats were very good to her. No more playing, no more sitting in our laps... But otherwise, her eye improved, and she kept eating & drinking, and even gained 4 oz back. Of course I was concerned, but shelter just said.. just a "moody" cat! Can't believe they thought I could buy that! I brought her to our own vet, who agreed that she was indeed going through the dry form of FIP. She suggested some treatments (tentral & prednisone), but hesitated treating an animal that technically was not 'ours'. Shelter was not keen on it.

2. Step 2 We could see that her hind legs were not very strong, but, we thought it was just a lack of exercise. Then this past Thursday (New Year' eve), around 6PM, she started falling off on her side. She could not walk. We rushed her to the shelter's vet in a snow storm. The 'on-call' vet (not the one who had treated her before) gave her an injection of steroid Vetalog saying that if she did not respond to that, it was time. I stayed up all night with her, and by morning, she rallied and was able to walk around again. By evening, she was again weak on her legs. No improvement during the night. Saturday morning, she still had "no legs", not even her front legs. We took her back to the vet's, and we all agreed it was time. Just heart breaking.

I know behavorial changes are common with FIP (as with other diseases), but are neurological issues, of such severity and quick onset, a part of the dry FIP? Stupid question as it is too late, did we do the right thing? Can't help thinking that if she had been 'our' cat, we would have tried any treatment at the first sign of behavioral changes. Hope I make sense..

Thanks for any input.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 3:04PM
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I'm so sorry kitty lost her battle.

FIP is almost impossible to predict. The inflammation that causes the clinical signs can affect any body system at any time in many different ways. Many body systems can deal with a certain amount of damage for a long time, but eventually it gets to beyond the threshold for the body to compensate and things just suddenly go to crap. It could have been any system- heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, etc,- but in your kitty's case it was her brain (probably).

FIP is ALWAYS fatal. Sometimes sooner than later, but despite everything you do, eventually it will kill the cat. It doesn't matter how soon you start treatment because we really just try to control the clinical signs- nothing we do stops the progression of the disease, really.

You absolutely did the right thing- once they get bad off, they don't recover. And laying there not being able to move is not living, it's just taking too long to die. All you did is shorten the time it took for her to suffer and die.

I think kitty was really lucky to have you foster her. She wouldn't have had the time with a loving family at the shelter, probably would have died alone in a cage after suffering for who knows how long before someone found her. You did what you could, which was provide a loving home for as long as she had.

My heart goes out to your family.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 5:23PM
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I'm so sorry. It's heartbreaking, I know.

When Cleo succumbed to the dry form of FIP it was after it went to her brain. She could walk, but she looked drunk. But remember, she was older and likely stronger (better developed muscles, etc.). She didn't behave as if she was in pain, and she didn't avoid us at all. Cleo started having seizures a few weeks after the walking difficulties began. We had her put to sleep once that happened (she seemed genuinely terrified when they happened, and then fine in between).

No matter the treatment the end is the same. I spent over $4k (none of it was heroic, it was bits here and there, lots spent on blood work). But it sounds like your kitten got bad much quicker than Cleo did. It look Cleo 18 months to get as bad as your kitten got in a few months.

You gave her the best life you could. It's a horrible disease. I have become almost paranoid about it. I won't kennel them and I even worry about taking them to the vet.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 8:44PM
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You have my sympathies. We lost our beloved kitten Mayu to FIP in December 2003 (the day after Christmas, on the last night of Chanukah--no holiday miracle unfortunately).

She'd gotten sick a number of times during the short time we had her. Nothing could've stopped the disease's progression. It is an awful, awful disease--no reliable prevention, and no cure. I hope someday soon they will come up with a prevention and a cure.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 11:41PM
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Meghane, thank you for your professional, kind reply. I still can't believe how fast this disease progressed --basically it got "nasty" over 2 days.

My little foster was only about a year & a half, and she was dealt a rotten hand. A stray brought to the shelter on July first. She got spayed, got her rabies shot. She kept having medical issues (mostly eye problems) and had to be kept in a cage. I'm sure all this stress contributed to accelerating the disease. At least, she got a LOT of TLC with us, and I will try to focus on that. She actually had 6 to 7 happy, quite normal weeks. .. and this was quite an education for me!

Sue & Cat Mom, again, sorry for bringing back bad memories. Thank you so much for sharing. I can only join you, for the sake of Cleo and Mayu, in hoping for a cure .. SOON!


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 12:51AM
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