FIP Advocates and Champions
FIP Advocates and Champions Canada is a group dedicated to providing help, support and hope for those facing this diagnosis. Though once a completely fatal disease, there is now a treatment and cure! We have all gone through this experience with our own kitties and been able to cure them with what many veterinarians are now calling "a miracle."
Partnered closely with veterinarians, experienced treatment advisors worldwide and pet parents, we are committed to connecting parents with safe and affordable treatment options, advocating for the cats and their parents and helping advance knowledge about FIP and its treatment.
Navigating an FIP Relapse
While we don’t have all the answers for why some cats relapse, here is some information that may be helpful (from Admin Nicole Jacque):
Relapses can happen for a lot of reasons, but overall the reason is that we did not get all of the virus during the initial treatment.
Sometimes this can be because neurological issues can progress slowly and have little or no symptoms leading to a neurological FIP diagnosis being missed. A lower dose may successfully suppress the virus in the brain throughout treatment but then this produces a neurological relapse when the treatment is ended.
Sometimes, lesions (in any part of the body) may not have gotten a sufficient amount of the medication and the virus lingers there, this can produce a relapse.
Some cats may develop partial resistance to the meds and this requires a higher dose – the lower dose suppressed the virus but did not kill it. This can produce a relapse.
We do not have an effective way to tell if the virus is eliminated from the body. Looking at the clinical picture and blood work can give us important clues – but cats that relapse can have good clinical appearance and lab work.
Sometimes cats are under-dosed due to failing to re-calculate the dose as the weight changes. Or missing doses, or having significant leakage or cats failing to take pills. Those can contribute to relapses. The good news is that, yes, everyone makes mistakes during treatment, but in most cases the protocol is able to compensate for minor lapses.
A relapse typically manifests with symptoms such as lethargy, fever and lack of appetite. Fluid may develop in the abdomen or chest. You may also notice neurological symptoms.
Most brands of GS have relapse coverage. Some have 100% coverage and others 50%.
If kitty relapses then with 100% coverage then meds would be completely free for a re-treatment. Keep in mind that with a relapse the dosage must be increased so having free medication can make a big difference.
With 50% coverage the supplier will cover half of the meds for another treatment.
The 3 months of observation are where you monitor your kitty very closely for any signs of relapse. The observation period is intended to confirm whether or not treatment has been successful in completely elimination the virus.
Please monitor your cat’s appetite and energy in particular. Lethargy, fever and lack of appetite are some early signs of relapse to watch out for.
Some of the most common reasons for a cat to relapse are due to factors like hidden neuro and a cat gets underdosed, missing doses, significant leakage of the meds, not weighing and adjusting dose often enough and cats forming resistance to GS.
Yes, this is a possibility. It is very rare but has happened.
When a cat has a reoccurrence of FIP it can be tough to know if this is a relapse or reinfection. We have some idea based on how long after finishing observation this happens. But unless we could sequence the virus before and with the reoccurrence it’s difficult to be sure.