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Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) Test

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a serious, contagious and fatal virus of cats. There are two primary forms, the wet form and dry form. The wet form usually results in fluid accumulation in the chest or abdomen. The dry form is more insidious and causes various signs of illness.

To help diagnose FIP, a blood test can be performed, but the most common test is not specific for FIP and will only determine the cat's exposure to a corona virus. FIP is one type of corona virus but there are other less serious ones. The corona virus titer can help determine the cat's exposure to a corona virus. Along with clinical signs, potential for exposure and other tests, FIP can be diagnosed.

A feline infectious peritonitis test is indicated in any cat showing vague signs of illness or with fluid development. There are no real contraindications to performing this test in a sick cat.

What Does the Test Reveal?

A feline infectious peritonitis test reveals the levels of corona virus antibodies circulating in the blood. Referred to as a titer, this level can be used to help determine the likelihood that the cat is infected with FIP. Unfortunately, FIP is not the only corona virus that affects cats. Enteric corona virus is a mild virus that can also cause an increased titer. Due to the potential false positive from exposure to other corona viruses, this test is rarely considered the only test performed in order to diagnose FIP.

How Is the Test Done?

In order to perform a feline infectious peritonitis test, your veterinarian must draw a blood sample, which is placed in a special glass tube. The blood sample is allowed to clot, and is then placed in a centrifuge, where it is divided into two parts: serum and a blood clot. The serum is removed and submitted to a laboratory for analysis. The blood clot is discarded. Most often, the blood sample is submitted to an outside laboratory for evaluation. Test results may not be available for up to 3 to 5 days.

Is a Feline Infectious Peritonitis Test Painful?

Any pain involved is associated with the collection of the blood sample, since a needle is used to pierce the skin and enter a blood vessel to draw the sample. As with people, the pain experienced from a needle will vary from individual to individual.

Is Sedation or Anesthesia Needed for a Feline Infectious Peritonitis Test?

Neither sedation nor anesthesia is needed in most patients; however, some pets resent needle sticks and may need tranquilization or ultra short anesthesia.

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