Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor
Medical Database

Infectious Disease

Coronavirus Infection in Cats

Animals Affected – Cat

(Feline Infectious Peritonitis, Coronavirus Enteritis)

General Information
Feline coronaviruses include those that cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and those that cause only a mild intestinal disease (coronavirus enteritis). The viruses are not the same, but they cannot be differentiated by the current blood test. A positive blood test will alert the doctor to the possibility of these diseases, and a negative test will help rule them out. Blood tests have value in the overall diagnosis and treatment of your pet’s illness.

Feline infectious peritonitis is relatively uncommon and generally fatal. It occurs primarily in cats between 6 months and 5 years of age. Two forms of FIP occur: a disease of the lining of the abdominal and/or chest cavities, in which massive fluid accumulations occur (“wet” FIP); and a disease of various organs, such as the lymph nodes, kidneys, eyes, and brain (“dry” FIP).

Feline enteric coronaviruses cause mild intestinal disease in kittens up to 12 weeks. The infection is common and probably exists in most homes with more than one cat. It may recur throughout the cat’s life but is rarely serious.

1. Currently vaccines are not available for the prevention of feline coronavirus infection.
2. Premises where FIP-affected cats have been kept should be treated with a disinfectant and left cat-free for some time. Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations.

Important Points in Treatment
1. The prognosis for cats with FIP is poor. Most authorities consider the disease incurable. Treatment may ease your cat’s discomfort and prolong life for a short time.
2. Medication: Home care for FIP consists of providing a warm, quiet environment, administering the medication as directed, and carrying out forced feeding if necessary. The doctor will explain these procedures.
3. The prognosis for cats with coronavirus enteritis is excellent. It is a self-limiting, mild diarrheal disease.
4. Diet: Treatment for coronavirus enteritis consists of withholding food during the more severe stages. Your veterinarian will advise you if fluids should be given to avoid dehydration.

An Important Update From Animal & Bird Medical Center On COVID-19

We are committed to offering a safe and healthy environment for our clients, pets and hospital team here at Animal and Bird Medical Center. The best way to avoid becoming ill is to avoid exposure to the virus. Taking typical preventive actions is key.

In being cautious and mindful of everyone’s safety, we are actively working to minimize your exposure to crowded exam rooms and long waits in the lobby.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols in-hospital for the time-being…

In order to limit exposure while still providing quality care for your pet, we will be implementing special protocols to keep you safe.

We will have our veterinary technicians get a history of the patient’s symptoms and owner’s concerns via phone prior to coming into the clinic.

Our goal is for you to be able to bring your pet in for medical care but have no risk for you or our dedicated staff of transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

The Doctors and staff are dedicated to making sure your pet’s medical needs are taken care of during this national crisis.

We can still fill prescriptions for pick up, however, for those who prefer, non-narcotic and non-urgent prescriptions can be mailed to your home.

As always, careful hand-washing and other infection control practices can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.