Danielle starts the webinar by giving a general explanation of coronaviruses and how the most common coronavirus causes enteritis in a very low percentage of cats, not causing significant disease. In many animals, infection occurs when the virus mutates gaining an increased ability to replicate in macrophages, leading to an intense inflammatory reaction around the vessels of the tissue where these infected cells are located, causing death by FIP. This interaction between the body’s own immune system and the virus is responsible for the development of FIP.
Factors affecting response to FCoV:
- Strain of virus
- Dose of virus
- Concurrent disease
Danielle talks about the outcomes of the disease. Less than 5% of patients build up resistance and there is a possibility of patients presenting with transient infections. It is also possible for cats to be persistently infected or contract FIP, with 5 to 10% of the cat population falling into this category. This means that in the UK, 30,000 cats a year present with immune-mediated granulomatous phlebitis.
The disease can occur in both wet and dry forms. The most common form is wet FIP, presenting with signs of pyrexia, anorexia, depression, diarrhoea, weight loss, jaundice and fluid accumulation. In general, this form of the disease tends to be acute and rapidly progressive. In the dry presentation of FIP, the clinical signs are much more variable and will usually affect the central nervous system more, tending to be more chronic.
FIP is quite a difficult disease to diagnose and that is why Danielle explains that there is no simple diagnostic test, but that many things have to be taken into account, such as haematology, biochemistry, fluid analysis and some others. Danielle’s main advice is to try to be pragmatic and not spend lots of money on trying to diagnose the disease.
Danielle discusses the different differential diagnoses such as pancreatitis, septic abdomen, pyotorax, toxoplasma and tuberculosis, among others. She also talks about treatment and what she uses. Some drugs can be used, such as: corticosteroids, polyprenyl for immunomodulation and some drug combinations can be used as well. She also shows studies about drugs that are used in patients with FIP, the costs and if these drugs have been successful. There is a black market for these drugs where they have been shown to cause toxicity and yet there are veterinarians who recommend these drugs in particular. Danielle raises awareness about these companies and medicines. Drug importation is mentioned as well.
I highly recommend this webinar. Danielle Gun-Moore is one of the best specialists in feline medicine and she has made significant contributions to feline medicine. It is a great honour to learn from her.
Please let us know in the comments what you thought of the webinar and what you enjoyed the most.