Peritonitis in cats – Treatment
Cats are the companion animals par excellence with dogs and one of the most remarkable features of felines is their independence, however, these animals are also very affectionate and equally require care to ensure a complete state of well-being.
Like any other animal, cats are susceptible to contracting multiple diseases and a good number of these are of infectious origin, so it is very important to know how to identify the symptoms of certain diseases that require urgent treatment.
In this article we talk about the peritonitis in cats as well as the necessary treatment in this disease.
What is peritonitis in cats?
Feline infectious peritonitis, also known as FIV for its acronym in English is the most common cause of death in cats due to infectious disease.
This pathology is due to an erroneous reaction of the immune system and the most accepted hypothesis is that It is caused by the feline coronavirus. Under normal conditions the immune system of the cat is able to completely eliminate the virus, but in some cases the reaction of the immune system is abnormal, the virus is not eliminated and ends up causing peritonitis.
The term “peritonitis” indicates inflammation of the peritoneum, which is the membrane that covers the abdominal viscera, however, when we speak of feline infectious peritonitis we refer to a vasculitis, that is, to a inflammation of blood vessels.
How is feline infectious peritonitis transmitted?
This disease can become common in large groups of cats, however, those domestic cats that are infected are also susceptible to infection. Contact with the outside as usual.
The virus that causes peritonitis in cats infects the feline organism by inhaling or ingesting the pathogen, which is found in faeces and contaminated surfaces.
What are the symptoms of peritonitis in cats?
The symptoms of peritonitis in cats will depend on the affected blood vessels as well as the organs to which they provide blood and nutrients, in addition, we can distinguish two forms of disease, one acute and one chronic.
Symptoms of infectious feline effusive or wet (acute) peritonitis:
- The fluid leaves the damaged blood vessels causing edema
- Swollen abdomen
- Thorax swollen with decreased lung capacity
- Respiratory difficulty
Symptoms of infectious dry or non-effusive (chronic) peritonitis:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of body weight
- Bad coat
- Jaundice (yellow discoloration of mucous membranes)
- Color changes in the iris
- Brown spots on the eyeball
- Ocular bleeding
- Lack of coordination in movements
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, you should go to the vet urgently to proceed to verify the diagnosis.
Diagnosis of feline infectious peritonitis
The definitive diagnosis of this disease can only be made by biopsy or after the death of the animal, however, the veterinarian will request a blood test to evaluate the following parameters:
- Albumin: globulin ratio
- AGP protein level
- Antibodies against the coronavirus
- Level of leukocytes
Based on the results obtained, the veterinarian can confirm the diagnosis of feline infectious peritonitis.
Treatment of peritonitis in cats
Feline infectious peritonitis it is considered an incurable disease although occasionally a remission of it is observed, so that different therapeutic tools can be used in its treatment.
Depending on each specific case, the veterinarian can use The following measures:
- Highly nutritious diet with nutritional supplements rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Corticosteroid drugs to suppress the cat’s immune response.
- Antiviral drugs to reduce viral load (Interferon Omega Felino)
- Antibiotic drugs to prevent opportunistic infections as a consequence of the suppression of the immune system.
- Anabolic steroids to increase appetite and prevent the loss of muscle mass.
Remember that the veterinarian is the only person qualified to recommend a certain treatment and it will also be the same one who can offer you a prognosis, which varies depending on each particular case.
Can feline infectious peritonitis be prevented?
One of the most effective preventive tools is the control of those cats who have already been diagnosed with feline infectious peritonitis, this control should be based on an optimal hygiene of the cat’s accessories and its surroundings and a restriction of outward outflows.
While is true that there is a vaccine against feline infectious peritonitis, studies evaluating the effectiveness of this are inconclusive and in some cases the application is not recommended, your veterinarian can evaluate the administration of this preparation in your cat.
This article is merely informative, in .com we do not have the faculty to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or discomfort.
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