Thor is a 1 1/2 year old Maine Coon. He went in for his annual routine exam and we noticed he had not been gaining weight like he should. He was a bit lethargic but we weren’t aware that anything was wrong. The vet saw that he had a tooth that might need some work, so a dental exam/cleaning was scheduled, and we did some routine bloodwork on him, to screen for common problems that might interfere with his anesthesia for dental work.
It came back with raised globulins which indicated to my vet that “he’s fighting something, probably viral.” We put him on a broad spectrum antibiotic and started researching. The vet mentioned FIP and gave me some resources to read, but there was no conclusive test to say he HAD it or not. Just that there was evidence. So we started thinking on what to do and, in horror, I started reading online about FIP and how it is mostly fatal. I wasn’t sure what to do, though, since his blood work was inconclusive, so we waited, agreeing to do blood again a couple weeks later.
A week later, Tabitha (our tuxedo kitty) came down with a normal summer kitty cold. She was over it in three days. A couple days later, Thor showed symptoms as well. But worse. He looked awful. My husband came charging in to the living room, saying, “Call the Vet.” I happen to have our vet’s text message line and messaged her. She saw the photo of him (attached to this story) and said, “can you bring him in NOW? He needs to come NOW,” which was startling. We brought him in, did another blood pull, gave him an appetite stimulant and some subcutaneous fluids. Blood test results came and Thor had gotten worse - a lot worse. We had run out of other options it could be. It was determined by the vet and the experts in the FIP Warriors facebook group to be FIP (dry type).
Ok, so what next?
The bad first. There are NO Currently FDA approved treatments for FIP. My vet said it’s basically a death sentence unless I find the Warriors, and that I should consider the treatment that could be provided to me by the FIP Warriors group. She had no idea how much it would be or how long it would take, only that there was hope.
Now the good. I was connected with the FIP network. They told me there is hope. The treatment has over a 90% cure rate. It’s expensive and must be be administered for a total of twelve weeks. And the subcutaneous injections HURT. The vet CANNOT do these injections, which must be given at around the same time each day. I had to cancel my vacation to Alaska this summer, but at least my kitty has hope.
At this point we are almost done with the first two weeks of treatment, and Thor is like a new cat. Running, jumping, super happy and energetic again. We have ten weeks to go, but things are looking good.