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Should I start FIP cats treatment without a confirmed conclusive diagnosis?

fip cats treatment

Should I start FIP cats treatment without a confirmed conclusive diagnosis? The short answer is yes. But you must always continue to pursue a confirmed diagnosis even if you have started treatment. This is because we don’t want to waste time, but to know what is the actual disease soonest possible.

FIP or Feline Infectious Peritonitis is an incredibly difficult disease to diagnose. As there is no one specific test for it, veterinarians need to rely on multiple indicators to gauge if a cat is responding towards a FCov attack in the bodies.

No FIP diagnosis is 100% conclusive. This is because FIP shares too many symptoms with other diseases, and 1 indicator does not mean that it the cat has FIP. The more indicators in blood tests, effusion tests, antibody tests and etc will give more confidence for vets to determine if it’s FIP.

So it is good for vets to treat FIP if he is 50% certain that it is FIP, and while treating, continue to do other tests to rule out other diseases. This is because GS441524 does not cause severe side effects.

Diagnostic Challenges and Limitations


False Positives and Negatives

False positives and false negatives can occur with FIP tests. A false positive occurs when a test indicates that a cat has the virus, even though it really doesn’t. This may lead to misdiagnosis or inappropriate treatment protocols for cats that are not actually infected with the virus.

A false negative occurs when the test incorrectly states that there is no evidence of the virus present in the sample, which can also lead to delayed or inadequate treatment for cats who are indeed infected with FIP.

In some cases, incorrect results may be caused by poor quality samples. For example, it is of no use if tissue or blood used for testing has been mishandled during collection and transport. So, it is incredibly important to carefully take and store samples as soon as they have been taken from an animal being tested for FIP.


What if you cannot diagnose? Start FIP cats treatment to diagnose.

The “treat to diagnose” method is sometimes employed in veterinary medicine, including for cats, under specific circumstances. This approach involves administering a therapeutic trial of treatment to see if the patient responds positively before obtaining a definitive diagnosis. While it has its limitations, it can be beneficial in certain situations:


Rapidly Progressive Conditions

In cases where a cat is presenting with severe or rapidly progressing symptoms, waiting for extensive diagnostic tests to confirm a specific disease may not be practical. Initiating treatment promptly can be crucial, especially if delaying treatment might lead to worsening of the condition.


Limited Resources or Access to Diagnostic Tools

In some situations, veterinary facilities may have limitations in terms of available diagnostic tools, such as specialized imaging or laboratory tests. Starting treatment can be a pragmatic approach while awaiting results from more extensive diagnostic facilities.


Diagnostic Ambiguity

When a cat’s symptoms are ambiguous, and there is uncertainty about the underlying cause, a therapeutic trial may be initiated to observe the response. If the cat improves with treatment, it can provide valuable information about the potential cause of the symptoms.


Client Constraints

Some cat owners may have financial constraints that limit their ability to pursue an extensive diagnostic workup. Starting treatment may be a more feasible option in such situations, especially if the treatment is relatively low-risk and has a reasonable chance of success.


Factors and parameters determining what to treat

When a veterinarian is faced with a cat that presents with vague symptoms or multiple possible diseases, they employ a systematic approach to narrow down potential diagnoses and determine an appropriate course of action. The decision-making process involves considering various factors and parameters such as these.


Age and Breed: Certain diseases are more prevalent in specific age groups or breeds. Knowing the cat’s age and breed can help the veterinarian prioritize or rule out certain conditions.

Vaccination History: A cat’s vaccination history may provide clues about the likelihood of certain infectious diseases.

Pattern and Duration of Symptoms: Understanding the pattern and duration of symptoms helps in categorizing diseases as acute or chronic and can guide the diagnostic process.

Severity of Symptoms: The severity of clinical signs can provide insights into the urgency of intervention and the potential impact on the cat’s overall well-being.

Diagnostic Tests: The results of preliminary FIP tests done.

Initial Screening Tests: Basic FIP tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC) and serum biochemistry, can provide valuable information about the cat’s overall health and may reveal abnormalities indicative of specific diseases.

Specialized Tests: Depending on the suspected diseases, more specialized tests such as imaging studies (X-rays, ultrasounds), PCR tests, and antibody titers may be recommended.

Monitoring Response: Close monitoring of the cat’s response to treatment is essential. If there is improvement, the veterinarian may continue the treatment or modify it based on the observed response.

Safety of Treatment: The safety profile of the chosen treatment is considered. Low-risk treatments or interventions with a high likelihood of benefit may be preferred, especially if a definitive diagnosis is challenging to obtain immediately.

Financial Considerations: The financial constraints of the cat owner may influence the diagnostic approach. Veterinarians and owners may collaboratively decide on a stepwise diagnostic plan based on priorities.


It’s important to note that the “treat to diagnose” approach and starting FIP cats treatment has its drawbacks. Without a confirmed diagnosis, there is a risk of inappropriate or ineffective treatment.

Additionally, it may delay the identification of underlying conditions that require specific interventions. Veterinarians carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks before opting for this approach, and close monitoring of the cat’s response to treatment is essential to guide further diagnostic efforts.

It’s crucial for veterinarians to communicate transparently with pet owners about the rationale behind this method and the need for ongoing diagnostics to ensure the best possible care for the cat.

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