Treatment for FIP

There is no cure for FIP. As with all terminal illnesses, the basic course of action is to provide supportive care. A combination of corticosteroids, cytotoxic drugs, antibiotics, good dietary maintenance, and proper fluid intake may relieve discomfort. Some veterinarians may recommend homeopathy, herbs, and dietary changes as well.

An FIP vaccine was introduced in 1991. Its use remains controversial because the vaccine cannot help a cat that is already infected or that previously has been exposed to FIPV or FECV. Therefore, vaccinating a cat that already has coronavirus antibodies or that has been exposed to other infected cats is not recommended. In fact, if the theory of antibody-dependent enhancement is valid, vaccinating a previously exposed cat could actually increase its risk for developing FIP. The decision to vaccinate rests with the individual cat owner and the veterinarian.

FIP Prognosis

In most cases, by the time a veterinarian makes the diagnosis of FIP, the disease has progressed substantially. After clinical signs appear, cats with effusive FIP may live a few days to a few weeks; some adults may linger for 6 to 8 months. Cats with noneffusive FIP usually die within a few weeks; some survive for a year or more.

As long as a cat is not in obvious pain or discomfort, there is no reason to euthanize it, but as the disease progresses, euthanasia becomes the only option.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 01 Oct 2001

Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014