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Should You Removed Abdominal Fluid for Cats with Wet FIP?

Should You Removed Abdominal Fluid for Cats with Wet FIP?

Without getting too technical, fluid accumulation in the abdominal and chest regions during a Wet FIP infection is caused by blood vessel inflammation.  The medical term for this is vasculitis.

Now that you know the cause, should you remove this fluid?  Well, it depends...  Below we listed  2 hypothetical scenarios and our recommended actions for each.

Scenario I The enlargement of abdomen is clearly visible. However, your cat is eating, drinking  and breathing comfortably.  

In this scenario, we do not recommend removing the fluid.  Start GS-441524 treatment at 6mg/kg dosage immediately.  You will see abdominal swelling begin to reduce within 1.5 - 2 weeks from the start of the treatment.  The abdominal fluid is gradually reabsorbed by the body and the FIP viruses that are causing the inflammation are steadily eliminated from the body.  

We do not recommend removing abdominal fluid in this scenario because the potential for damage outweighs the benefits. Removed fluid will return quickly, and often at the expense of hydration and protein consumption.  If your cat is eat and drink normally, and does not experience laboured breathing, avoid doing further damage to the already fragile system.

Scenario II  The enlargement has reached a point where your cat has difficulty breathing or eating.

In this case, it is necessary to remove some but not all of the fluid.  Difficulty in breathing causes heart stress in the forms of increased heart rate and laboured heartbeats.  In severe cases, this stress may lead to heart failure.  While removing abdominal fluid will cause some degrees of dehydration and protein depletion. In this scenario the benefit outweighs the cost.

However, it is important to note that excess fluid removal can cause a dangerous shock to your cat's system, and may lead to death. Generally, we recommend removing ≤30% of the total abdominal fluid.  When treating kittens and older cats with Wet FIP, be more conservative by removing less fluid than when treating adult cats at their prime.  

Remember that the fluid will come back unless your cat is put on GS-441524 anti-viral treatment.  In this scenario, we recommend to start with 4mg/kg dosage and gradually increase to 6mg/kg. Your cat will take longer to recover than in Scenario 1. The reduction rate will increase as the treatment progresses.

From the 2 scenarios above we can make the following conclusions:  

1. Unless fluid accumulation is causing breathing difficulties, avoid the temptation of removing it.

2. When removing the fluid, take care to remove less than you think you need.  The removal of fluid can also cause damages.

3. The fluid will return and the conditions will persist and worsen unless your cat is treated with GS-441524.  Anti-inflammatory medicines can only momentarily reduce the symptoms.  They do not arrest the replication of FIPV.  Only by treating FIPV with GS-441524 can your cat be cured.

The above information is provided for your reference and does not constitute as medical advice. For questions specific to your cat, please contact us via our website

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