American Humane Association’s Adopt A Cat Month celebrates what we’re learning about cat health. The worst thing that can happen to any cat is feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) – it’s a fatal disease, and worst of all it mostly affect little babies, kittens.
Finally, there may be some good news….and perhaps, hope – at least for kittens with one of the two variations of the disease.
What’s equally as hopefully are that top-notch researchers around the world are determined to learn the secrets of FIP. Two rock stars in veterinary medicine, Dr. Niels Pederson director for the Center of Companion Animal Health at the
University of California School of Veterinary Medicine, Davis and Dr. Al Legendre, professor at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary
Medicine, Knoxville headline the 2011 Winn Feline Foundation Symposium, WINNing the FIP Fight, June 23, 6:45
p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Reston Town Center (1800 Presidents Street), Reston,
There’s such enormous interest in the event – it’s nearly sold out. Truly, you need to reserve space if you want to attend – from veterinarians and veterinary technicians (who will receive CE credit) to cat breeders to shelter professionals to just ordinary cat lovers. (If you are unable to travel to to attend – alert someone you know who lives nearby)
The purpose of the symposium is to reveal the latest findings from both Pederson (who’s working on the genetic links related to FIP) and Legendre (who’s working on a drug therapy). Also, to simply tell all about what is known about FIP – which remains misunderstood.
Here’s what I mean: Sadly, cats are over-crowded in shelters. This elevates the level of stress, which makes cats more susceptible to disease (that’s one reason why we need to adopt more). However, one shelter recently euthanized many cats because FIP occurred. That is a shockingly ignorant response since – despite the name of the disease – FIP is itself not contagious. Pederson once told me that he sometimes thinks more kittens die as a result of misunderstandings about the disease itself. Not that FIP doesn’t kill enough kittens. It’s awful.
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FIP occurs more often than most previously might have guessed. According to
Pederson, FIP kills one in 100 to one in 300 of all cats under five years old .
And the incidence can be up to ten times greater among kittens from catteries
(breeders) or shelters.
(WGN Radio Petcast: Listen to Dr. Pederson talk about FIP).
says if a disease killed puppies with this kind of frequency, a cure might have
been found years ago because of the emphasis and dollars which go to canine
studies. “Well, might have been found,”
reinforces Legendre, who calls FIP the most complex disease he’s ever studied.