Dear Breeders and Cat Lovers,

Your help is needed for FIP research at U. C. Davis. New tools and technology, coupled with sequencing of the feline genome, have provided an important window of opportunity to study a genetic basis for FIP susceptibility. As you may know, Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is an infectious disease that kills 1 in 100 to 1 in 300 of all cats in the U.S. However, the incidence is 5 to 10 times greater among young cats coming from catteries and shelters. It is a disease that is 100% lethal, and is heartbreaking for breeders and for the families that lose affected kittens and young cats.

Our purpose for this study is to find genetic markers to identify FIP susceptible cats and to use these markers to breed for resistance. In order to identify favorable or unfavorable genetic traits, we need to concentrate our studies on bloodlines within breeds of cats that are either inordinately susceptible or seemingly resistant. Such bloodlines exist in virtually all breeds of cats.

Samples are wanted from catteries and lines that have experienced FIP, as well as from catteries and lines that have not. We are interested in all breeds, but also welcome samples from owners of random bred cats that have developed FIP. We also encourage breeders to take buccal swabs from all kittens after weaning and save them for possible use in the future.

We desire information on three groups of cats:

1) those that have developed FIP, regardless of age;

2) healthy cats of any age that are close relatives (sire, dam, sibling) to cats that have developed FIP; and

3) healthy cats from bloodlines that have been so far free of FIP. We are especially interested in healthy cats five years or older from the same catteries or households.

We are also interested in three or more generation families that have both FIP affected and unaffected cats, but realize that such families will be hard to obtain.

We would like to encourage all breeders to collect four buccal swabs using regular cotton swabs from all of their future litters, and their sires and dams. These can be air dried and stored in regular paper envelopes. There should only be one cat or kitten per envelope, and you should make sure that each envelope is dated and has the name or other identification of the animal that is swabbed. The envelopes can be stored indefinitely at room temperature. Since the majority of FIP deaths occur in the first 3-16 months of life, some of these samples will unfortunately be needed. Many times breeders only hear about one of their placed kittens dying of FIP after the fact and having DNA on hand for all of your kittens is a simple and inexpensive way to assure that every pedigreed cat dying of FIP can be enrolled in FIP research studies. It should also be noted that these samples will not be used to diagnose FIP or predict whether a cat will ever develop FIP and any results from studies using these samples will be published in a peer reviewed journal format.

If you are unsure of the diagnosis, Dr. Pedersen will be glad to review the case histories and laboratory test results with you or your veterinarian (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). If you happen to live near the UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital and think that your cat may have FIP or want a second opinion, Dr. Pedersen can arrange an appointment for you and your cat to be seen at our Community Medicine Service (http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vmth/small_animal/community_medicine/index.cfm

Please complete the FIP questionnaire, and send in DNA samples where possible. Please attach as much documentation as possible on cats that have died of FIP.

Please be assured that your answers will be kept in the strictest confidence. Each breeder or individual submitting samples will be assigned a unique case number that will be used for the study, with all personal information kept separate and confidential.

Thank you for helping with FIP research at U. C. Davis.

Niels Pedersen, DVM, PhD
Center for Companion Animal Health
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California at Davis
One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616-8782
Phone (530) 752-7295, Fax (530) 752-7701