Frequently asked questions
General Information on FCOV / FIP
What is the difference between FIP and FCoV (and FECV)?
Feline Coronavirus (FCoV) is a virus.
As with all viruses, FCoV mutates within its host, and some of these mutations cause the Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) version of the virus.
FCoV is also known as Feline Enteric Coronavirus (FECV) because it replicates in the cat's gut.
Does FCoV / FIP affect all cats?
It is predominantly seen in cats with compromised immune systems, such as elderly cats or young kittens under 2 years of age whose immunity has not fully developed.
It has also been observed in catteries, multi cat households and shelters.
Cats and kittens who have been vaccinated against FeLV, neutered and spayed, or with mothers who are FCoV positive may go on to develop FIP. Pedigree cats also seem to have a higher disposition in developing the disease.
On the other hand, most tested outdoor, semi-feral, cats have had very low antibody titers to FCoV – as they are solitary animals.
While most cats will, at some point in their lives, become exposed to the FCoV, not all will become infected with the FCoV virus or succumb to the disease FIP.
Is stress a factor in FIP?
Yes, many cats live comfortably with low level FCoV. However undergoing a stressful experience can cause an increase in FCoV levels, resulting in the development of FIP.
Is FCoV / FIP contagious?
FCoV is very contagious – it is passed on from contact, mainly from saliva and faeces, by cats sharing litter trays, mothers nursing their kittens or cats mating.
Close contact with human clothing and infected cats will also contribute to the speeding of the virus across a household.
Latest research and studies have concluded that the FIP disease cannot be transmitted from cat to cat. It is a devastating disease in cats who may have a genetic disposition to FIP, or be infected oronasally or through faeces with the apathogenic Feline Coronavirus.
How do kittens aquire FCoV?
Kittens positive with FCoV have usually contracted the virus through their environment and this tends to be because their mothers are FCoV positive.
Some studies have confirmed that the virus can pass through the placenta if the FCoV load is very high in the mothers.
How long does the virus live?
Studies have found that the virus can live up to seven weeks in a litter tray and for up to 48 hours inside the home or on clothing. This has been well documented and is also published in https://www.langfordvets.co.uk/media/1747/feline-coronavirus.pdf and in https://stud.epsilon.slu.se/14405/7/Arkela_K_190407.pdf
FCoV survives in freezing conditions, but seems unable to tolerate exposure to heat above 60 degrees.
What kills the virus?
Very few detergents can kill FCoV – we have only tested Bleach diluted 1:50 and Anigene HLD4V.
Is FCoV / FIP preventable and treatable?
Some breeds, younger cats and older cats with weaker immune-systems, are more disposed to developing FIP if they have the coronavirus (FCoV). FCoV is a cluster, not all strains in the cluster are harmful to a cat, we just can not identify the good from the bad.
If cats get rid of the Coronavirus (FCoV) that will greatly ensure that FCoV can not mutate into FIP itself.
Here at our clinic we take pride in showcasing the first cats to have been cleared of the FCoV virus and cured from the FIP disease.
We have specialised in kitten care and can support the long term well-being of kittens from their time nursing with mothers or within their new homes.