Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is a disease that kills 1 in 100 to 1 in 300 of all cats under ages 3-5. The incidence can be five to 10 times greater among young cats coming from catteries and shelters. FIP is virtually 100% fatal, and there is no treatment or cure that is FDA approved. However, treatment options now do exist. FIP can manifest suddenly — weeks, months or even years after initial infection. Therefore, cat lovers usually experience the heartbreak of this disease long after they have developed strong emotional bonds with their pets.

History of Feline infectious Peritonitis 1963-2022 – First description to  Successful Treatment   

April 17, 2022 


This article highlights knowledge of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) as it evolved,  starting at its recognition in 1963 to present time, and was prepared with veterinarians,  cat rescuers and guardians, shelter staff, and cat lovers in mind. A brief mention is  made of the causative feline coronavirus and its relationship to a ubiquitous and  minimally pathogenic enteric coronavirus of felids, epizootiology, pathogenesis,  pathology, clinical features, and diagnostics. Major emphasis is on risk factors affecting  FIP prevalence, and the role of modern antiviral drugs in successful treatment.  


Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) was described as a specific disease entity in 1963 by  veterinarians at the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston (Holzworth 1963) (Fig.  1). Pathology records from this institution and The Ohio State University failed to identify  earlier cases (Wolfe and Griesemer 1966), although identical cases were soon  recognized worldwide. The initial pathologic descriptions were of a diffuse inflammation  of the tissues lining the peritoneal cavity and abdominal organs with extensive  inflammatory fluid effusion, from which the disease was ultimately named (Wolfe and  Griesemer 1966, 1971) (Figs. 2,3). A second, and less common clinical form of FIP,  manifested by less diffuse and more widespread granulomatous lesions involving organ  parenchyma was first described in 1972 (Montali and Strandberg 1972) (Figs.4, 5). The  presence of inflammatory effusions in body cavity in the common form, and lack of  effusions in the less common form, led to the names wet (effusive, non parenchymatous) and dry (non-effusive, parenchymatous) FIP. 

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