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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