In November 2021 we rescued Goose. He was an exuberant young kitten who was returned to the rescue by his first adopter. He was sick when we took him in, and we started on his first round of antibiotics. Over the next 6 months he went through 9 rounds of increasingly stronger antibiotics for increasingly longer periods of time.  Vets had different opinions on what was causing his issues (mostly upper respiratory). The medications would work for a week or two tops then he reverted back. We decided to go the holistic route after that and he did pretty well for a while. There is more background in our blog “Cat immune issues – guest blogger”.

We recently noticed that Goose was losing weight and was very lethargic all the time. We added more to his daily vitamin routine but it wasn’t working and we were force feeding him several times a day. It was time to get bloodwork done and were shocked by how many of his indicators were too high or too low – this was more than an upper respiratory infection. The vet was pretty sure he had FIP, which was also causing liver and kidney issues, on top of his upper respiratory issues. We thought this was a death sentence and were trying to prepare ourselves for the worst.

We learned FIP is a mutation of the feline corona virus and affects 10% of cats. There are 4 types of FIP: 

*neuro: can cause seizures, tremors, affects the muscles and can cause a cat to lose the ability to walk

*ocular: causes blindness

*wet: causes mucus build up in chest, lungs, and abdomen. Cats can drown within 4-6 weeks

*dry: disease attacks organs 

Goose has dry FIP. 

We had heard about a new FIP treatment, not yet FDA approved but used in Europe, but didn’t want to put him through more suffering just because we didn’t want to let him go. Then we decided to just start asking questions. Someone who had adopted from our rescue had recently started the treatment that seemed to be going well, and a few people told us about the Facebook group FIP Warriors, so we started there and got answers to many of our questions. Then we found out about another local rescue who had good success with the treatments. We heard the treatments had an 80% success rate and that’s when we decided to give it a try. Goose isn’t even 2 years old yet and when he feels well he is everyone’s friend. He’s a great therapy cat who we feel has a greater purpose and we wanted to give him this chance.

Day 5 of our 84-day treatment. He is already more bright eyed, less lethargic, and eating on his own. Not gonna lie, he doesn’t like the shots. We are told they feel like acid in his body and they can cause sores, which luckily he hasn’t gotten yet.  The person helping us does a fluid bubble first and injects the meds into the bubble – that seems to help. He meows pitifully for about 30 minutes after the shots but then does better. We were told it’s better to start with shots to kickstart the treatments and then switch to pills. We plan for today to be the last shot. 

There are different brands of FIP medication. Some people swear by one over the others, some people say you may need to switch between brands if you aren’t seeing good results. None of them are inexpensive so that is a consideration as well. Also, if the disease caused other issues, those issues may still need to be treated so your cat may still need be monitored by a vet during the process (once a month bloodwork has been recommended). We have also heard that they can continue to be contagious even after they are considered cured but there are mixed responses on that as well. We have other cats but they have already been exposed so we aren’t going to quarantine him as one vet recommended. If we get more cats in the future, there are plenty who are FIP positive who need homes and we will consider that moving forward if needed.

Update day 12: Goose switched to pills day 6 as planned. We have seen small improvements daily but today has been the best! He woke us up playing with toys and with our other cats – he even bounded up the 7-foot cat tree. He’s seeking attention and interacting again. He isn’t gaining weight, but we’ve stopped force feeding him and he’s holding steady. He still occasionally has upper respiratory issues but it’s less often. We are anxious to get his next bloodwork results and see if the numbers confirm what we are seeing.

Update day 18:  We got Goose’s results back and every indicator was in the normal range (although some just barely).  Even the vet was amazed and excited by these results!   We are preparing some charts showing the result comparisons that we will share if anyone asks.  We have continued to give him our homemade immune booster.  Someone from a group for this medication said we aren’t supposed to, but after seeing his improvement we will continue to give it to him.  Someone else we spoke to said we should expect slight setbacks and some bad days.  He does still have mucous and sneezing but otherwise, things are going great.

So, there’s still a lot to learn about this but we recommend you ask questions to see if this may be right for your cat. We will continue to update our progress and are happy to answer questions. You can contact us through Act 2 Rescue.

Update day 29:  Goose has had a bad few days – he’s been very sneezy and mucousy, more lethargic.  We also had a foster kitten get sick with a URI so they are possibly connected.  We are considering starting shots again for a few days if he doesn’t start improving again soon.  We were warned that he may have some setbacks so it could just be that.

Update day 45:  Goose was looking pretty bad again, so we did end up going back to shots for 5 days and that did the trick – pulled him out of the decline he was on.  Since then, he seems to be holding steady with just occasional runny nose and sneezing.  He’s a normal weight and his fur is soft and silky again.  We had more bloodwork done last week and he’s doing great except for his kidney function.  We’re adding a new supplement to his daily mix to try to boost his kidneys and the vet has recommended low protein food for a while, so we’re waiting on that prescription.  

Update day 64:  Wow, day 64 – we’re hopefully close to the finish line with this.  Someone else we know had to go an extra two weeks with medication but recently got a clean bill of health so we are hopeful.  Goose had another down turn and we started on a few days of shots plus some antibiotics – we think he has some kind of secondary bacterial infection.  We had to adjust dosages a little as he was throwing up but now seems to be back on track and feeling better again.  

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