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What to do about Cat Abdominal Fluid Caused by Wet or Effusive FIP

The Connection Between FIP and Abdominal Fluid

FIP causes cat abdominal fluid to accumulate in the abdomen, so it’s important to understand both the signs and implications.

How fluid build up with FIP

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a severe and usually fatal virus in cats. It occurs when the coronavirus, which already inhabits a cat’s intestine, begins to replicate more aggressively and spreads to other areas of the body.

When this happens, it results in an inflammatory response from the immune system that leads to fluid accumulation in various organs such as the abdomen or chest. The retention of fluid occurs due to increased permeability of blood vessels and decreased lymphatic drainage.

This process also affects tissue damage leading to further cellular damage due to fibrosis and collagen formation resulting from chronic inflammation.

The abdominal swelling caused by FIP can be quite visible as enlargement around the stomach area that feels soft but firm at times due its viscous texture — something akin to rubber cement when touched; there may also be flecks, strands or clots of fibrin seen depending on how long it has been present for.

Aside from its visual appearance being distinct from other types of fluids found within animals, scientists have been able identify alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (AGP) which is often elevated in serum samples taken both pre-mortem examinations from effusions that are higher than expected compared with non-afflicted cats under normal circumstances.

Visible signs of FIP Effusion

Cats suffering from FIP may have an enlarged belly, be resistant to temperature taking, and appear uncomfortable when touched along their sides. Hydration status should also be evaluated as dehydration can occur from severe abdominal swelling associated with FIP Effusions.

When palpated during a physical examination, the fluid associated with FIP will often appear viscous, tenacious, sticky, frothy and light yellow in color. In some cases there may even be flecks or strands visible within the fluid which are related to fibrin deposits specific to this disease process; however accurate diagnosis using laboratory testing methods like cytology and serology are needed for proper confirmation of this condition before treatment begins.

Role in diagnosis and treatment

When FIP is suspected in cats, abdominal fluid has an important role to play in a diagnosis. One way it can help make a positive diagnosis is by performing a procedure called ‘centesis’ or collecting some of this fluid and analyzing it for evidence of infection-causing agents specific to FIP.

This makes the diagnoses more accurate as compared to just relying on scans such as CT scan or ultrasound which are typically used when diagnosing this condition. Fluid analysis allows veterinarians to detect accumulation of an antibody known as feline coronavirus (FCoV) antigen that tends to accumulate along with ascites in cases where FIP develops.

When should you remove abdominal fluid from effusive FIP Cats.

Should you remove this fluid now that you are aware of the cause? Depends. We’ve included two fictitious situations below, along with our suggested course of action for each.

Scenario I

The enlargement of abdomen is clearly visible. Your cat, however, is comfortably eating, drinking, and breathing

In this case, we do not advise taking the fluid out. Quickly begin GS-441524 therapy and you will see a decrease in the size of your abdominal swelling. The FIP viruses are steadily expelled from the body when the abdomen fluid is gradually reabsorbed by it.

Since there is a greater risk of harm than good in this situation, we do not advise draining abdomen fluid. Fluid lost will swiftly return, frequently at the expense of protein intake and dehydration. Avoid causing more harm to your cat’s already delicate system if it is eating and drinking regularly and does not have laboured breathing.

Scenario II

The enlargement is causing difficulty breathing or eating.

In this scenario, some but not all the fluid must be removed. Breathing difficulties lead to cardiac stress, which manifests as an elevated heart rate and laboured heartbeats. In extreme circumstances, this stress could cause cardiac failure. Dehydration and protein depletion will result from eliminating abdominal fluid. In this case, the advantages of fluid evacuation exceed the disadvantages.

It should be noted that excessive fluid removal can cause a dangerous shock to your cat’s system and may result in death. Generally, we advise removing no more than 30% of the entire abdomen fluid. Compared to treating adult cats in their prime, be more circumspect while treating kittens and older cats with wet FIP by draining less fluid.

Keep in mind that unless your cat receives GS-441524 antiviral medication, the fluid will return.

Notes for removal:

The removal of abdominal fluid from cats diagnosed with effusive FIP is indicated for reducing abdominal swelling and providing relief to the cat. Typically, after one or two weeks on treatment, a reduction in abdominal swelling can be seen provided that the fluid has been removed.

If an effusion is large enough, it should be considered for removal through tapering techniques such as abdominocentesis/thoracocentesis or intercostal drainage following which dexamethasone may be injected into the thoracic or abdominal cavity.

This will help reduce inflammation associated with FIP leading to improved comfort and a better prognosis for the cat. However, remission periods associated with removing effusions are generally temporally and cats typically relapse quickly if comprehensive care is not followed up once they have reduced their symptoms considerably post-procedure.

Methods for reducing fluid buildup

Ascitic fluid drainage in feline infectious peritonitis often entails the following procedures:

Veterinary Evaluation: A veterinarian or someone working under their supervision should carry out the operation at all times. The veterinarian will examine the cat physically, use ultrasound, or do other diagnostic procedures to confirm the presence of ascitic fluid before proceeding with the treatment.

Pre-Procedure Preparation: Pre-op preparations include sedating or anesthetizing the cat to make it more comfortable and reduce its anxiety levels. Shaving and sterilizing the abdominal area is a common practice for preventing infection.

Needle or Catheter Placement: The veterinarian will insert a thin needle or a catheter through the abdominal wall into the abdominal cavity. It is common practice to employ ultrasound guidance to aid with placement and prevent unintended injury to interior organs.

Fluid Drainage: Ascitic fluid is gently and slowly drained from the abdomen into a sterile container. The severity of the cat’s disease and the amount of ascites will determine how much fluid has to be drained. To relieve the distention and pain in the abdomen, the treatment is often continued until a sufficient volume of fluid has been evacuated.

Monitoring: Cats have their heart rates and breathing rates monitored the whole time they are in the operating room.

Post-Procedure Care: Care Following Drainage The veterinarian will observe the cat closely as it recovers from the procedure. After an operation, some cats will need pain medication, fluids, and antibiotics to prevent infection. Bandaging or suturing the abdomen to seal the puncture hole is possible.


Supportive care to make cat more comfortable

Providing supportive care for cats diagnosed with FIP is essential in order to make the cat more comfortable and improve its quality of life. Broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly recommended treatments for supporting FIP cats, as it can help reduce inflammation and manage secondary infections.

Subcutaneous fluids are also important to ensure the cat stays hydrated and helps maintain an optimal body condition. Home remedies such as pumpkins puree or probiotics can be used to alleviate some of the symptoms like diarrhea associated with FIP cases.

It’s also important to provide supportive care even if there is no effusion found during a diagnostic procedure, which is often the case in some cases of effusive feline infectious peritonitis.

This could include using intravenous fluids to keep hydration levels up when oral rehydration fails, as well as appetite stimulants or nutritional supplements that can be prescribed by a veterinarian nutritionist depending on their individual needs In addition, an experienced veterinary professional will monitor any swellings present in your cat’s abdomen since this can indicate fluid build-up due to underlying health conditions associated with FIP.


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