Q: My kitten has been diagnosed with feline infectious peritonitis. My vet said this (disease) is fatal. Then, I saw on the Internet a new cure called PI. Can you tell me more? — S.C., Cyberspace
A: While there’s some hope that Polyprenyl Immunostimulant will help cats with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), the jury is still out.
Many cats, particularly kittens, come down with the enteric corona virus, which is benign; kitties get better on their own. However, in a small percentage of cats, the virus mutates into an auto-immune-like fatal disease called FIP. It’s always been thought that FIP is rare. However, Dr. Niels Pedersen, director for the Center of Companion Animal Health at the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine, Davis, says FIP kills far more cats than previously thought.
By next summer or fall, PI will be available to help cats with feline herpes (feline upper respiratory infections), a common problem. The drug is now being tested for FIP.
Dr. Al Legendre, a professor in the department of small animal clinical sciences at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville, has been working with PI for a couple of years.
“I’m convinced PI helps cats with feline herpes by more than merely lessening symptoms; the drug seems to actually stimulate immune response,” he says. The result shortens duration and severity of (the herpes) infection. Though, many cats with herpes “have a chronic condition, and while I am hopeful the drug will affect these cats – we don’t know that yet for certain.”
It was Legendre and the pharmaceutical company (Sass and Sass) who together thought PI might do what no other drug has been proven to do – help cats with FIP.
PI has helped extend life for a limited number of cats with dry FIP. So far, however, the drug has had no effect for cats with wet FIP. Legendre published his pilot study, and will do more research next year.
Meanwhile, if you have a kitten diagnosed with FIP, Legendre will attempt to make the drug available, but do understand that PI is still considered experimental. Your veterinarian can contact Legendre at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about FIP, check http://eepurl.com/e3EM (including links to lengthy Podcast interviews I conducted with Pedersen and researcher Dr. Dianne Addie). Addie’s site: http://www.dr-addie.com/, and Pedersen’s site: http://www.sockfip.info/.
©Tribune Media Services, Steve Dale