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FIP Vaccine and Other Ways to Prevent Cats from Getting FIP

FIP Vaccine

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is an incurable and often fatal virus that affects fewer than one percent of cats. There is currently no effective treatment for the disease, so preventing it before symptoms occur is key.

There is currently no known FIP vaccine that consistently works. Because of this, preventing cats from catching the disease is very important with the lack of consistent medication. Cat owners should be vigilant as they are responsible for the health of their cats, especially if they own many of them at once.

One of the most difficult diseases to comprehend is FIP. The diagnosis, management, and prevention of this disease will continue to be the subject of debate.

It’s doubtful that we can avoid FIP because there is still a great deal that we don’t know about it and because coronavirus is easily transferred to many cats globally. Although there is a FIP vaccination, there is no evidence that it can prevent the illness, hence it is not currently advised.

Understanding FIP and the Need for Vaccinations

FIP is a dangerous virus that can cause severe illness in cats and requires vaccinations to prevent its spread.

What is FIP?

FIP, or feline infectious peritonitis, is a viral infection affecting cats that is caused by certain strains of the feline coronavirus. It’s an extremely contagious disease among cats and spreads quickly through direct contact with saliva, urine, feces and bedding from infected cats.

As it’s often difficult to diagnose due to its complexity, FIP can affect both purebred and random-bred cats — particularly young kittens — without warning. Depending on the severity of symptoms, treatment for FIP can involve supportive care like antibiotics and pain relievers as well as more intensive measures such as fluids delivered intravenously or directly into the abdomen if necessary.

Although there is no guaranteed cure for FIP yet, vaccination against the disease may reduce its risk in susceptible cats.

Why is it important to vaccinate against FIP?

FIP is a potentially deadly viral disease in cats caused by the coronavirus FCoV. Once a cat develops FIP, there is an almost certain fatality rate. Vaccination against this virus can help to protect cats from being infected and ultimately dying from FIP.

Despite limited efficacy of current vaccines available for treatment, vaccinating cats against this lethal virus could reduce its incidence significantly if done properly with effective delivery of the vaccine as well as follow-up vaccinations according to standard protocol.

Cats should be vaccinated regularly and monitored closely to ensure immunization is taken into consideration when assessing risk factors associated with infections or exposure due to different environmental conditions they may encounter on their day-to-day lives while reducing shots of antivirals which would otherwise be necessary had the cat not been vaccinated at all.

Types of FIP Vaccines

Currently, the only FIP vaccine available in the market is Vanguard® Feline FIP Intranasal.

Vanguard® Feline FIP Intranasal

is a non-adjuvanted intranasal vaccine developed to help protect cats 16 weeks or older from feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). FIP is caused by the feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) and can cause serious complications, including death.

This vaccine is administered intranasally with two doses given 3-4 weeks apart for optimal protection against FIP. Studies have found that cats who were vaccinated with the temperature-sensitive form of FIPV had measurable protection from the disease than those without vaccination.

In addition, Vanguard® also offers an injectable form of this vaccine for prevention of both littermates and adult cats from 16 weeks old onwards. Vaccinating your cat against FIP provides them with essential protection against a life-threatening virus – however, it’s just one component in protecting your cat’s health so other precautions should be taken as well to safeguard their wellbeing, such as reducing stress levels, providing proper nutrition and taking extra precautions when boarding them at catteries or shelters where they may come into contact with other animals carrying communicable diseases.

Benefits and Risks of FIP Vaccination

Vaccinating your cat against FIP can be an effective way to protect them from this dangerous virus, but it is important to understand both the potential benefits and risks associated with the vaccine.

Benefits of FIP vaccination

  • Protection from disease caused by the feline coronaviruses, such FIP and FCoV infections.
  • Reduced risk of transmission of disease from cat to cat.
  • Improved quality of life for cats affected by FIP and FCoV infections through prevention.
  • Increases longevity thanks to reduced severity or even potential cure of FIP cases when vaccinated.

Risks of FIP vaccination (Antibody-Dependent Enhancement)

FIP vaccination can carry risks associated with Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE), a process by which viral-antibody complexes enhance infection. FIPV itself has been shown to exhibit an ADE effect in the presence of anti-FIPV antibodies, and this has raised concerns during the development of related vaccines.

  1. Abnormal viscerotropic reactions that led to death
  2. Persistent infections that were not effectively cleared upon revaccination
  3. Increases in post-vaccine mortality rate compared with pre-vaccine rates
  4. Altered pathogen distributions when comparing noninfected and vaccinated animals

Other Ways to Protect Your Cat from FIP

There are simple steps you can take every day to keep your cat safe and healthy, including reducing stress levels, maintaining proper nutrition and taking extra precautions when boarding.

The American Association of Feline Practitioners does not advise the FIP vaccine, despite its existence. By the time they are old enough (16 weeks of age) to receive the vaccination, the majority of cats will have already been exposed to the feline coronavirus, making the vaccine less effective.

Below are some examples of prevention tactics to lower your risk of being exposed to feline coronavirus, but keep in mind that they won’t stop FIP.

  • Keep the water and food bowls well away from the litter box.
  • Use unique litter boxes for every cat, plus an additional one.
  • Use diluted bleach to clean living spaces and food and water bowls (1 part bleach to 32 parts water).
  • To lessen tension, offer environmental enrichment (such as puzzle toys and cat perches).
  • Keep no more than three cats in each room if you have many cats to avoid overcrowding

Cats with FIP suffer from a rare, complicated, and severely lethal condition. Take your cat to the vet as soon as you can if it begins to exhibit symptoms of the illness.

When kittens are removed from sources of infection, their maternally produced antibodies protect them against infection until weaning, which typically occurs at around 5-7 weeks of age. FCoV is a very contagious virus, hence such protection does call for strict cleanliness.

Reducing stress

Reducing stress in cats is one of the most effective ways to protect them from developing Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). Stress can weaken their immune system and increase their risk of contracting illnesses like FIP.

Living in a crowded or chaotic environment, extreme change in routine, being around unfamiliar people or animals, physical pain and discomfort are all common sources of feline stress.

Cats that live in multi-cat households or shelters are more prone to having higher levels of stress due to overcrowding. It is therefore important for owners to provide an enriched living environment with plenty of hiding spots and peace and quiet time away from kids and other pets.

Additionally, engaging your cat in interactive play using toys such as balls or wand toys helps keep him active without causing unnecessary strain on his body or mind. Installing pheromone diffusers around the house can also help create a calming atmosphere specifically designed for reducing anxiety in cats by reminding them they’re safe at home.

Providing proper nutrition

The key to keeping your cat healthy and reducing the risk of FIP is by providing a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Cat nutrition should include essential fatty acids, proteins, fiber, water and vitamins among other minerals and micronutrients.

Some of these vital nutrients can be obtained through food such as vegetables like broccoli or carrots which contain Vitamin A for eye health or lentils and fish oil that contains omega-3s which help support the immune system while avoiding processed cat foods full of additives.

Eating organic whenever possible will go a long way in providing all necessary daily dietary needs as well as prevent from any added toxic compounds that could affect overall feline wellbeing.

Other supplements may also be needed if cats do not meet their daily nutritional needs with regular meals alone. For example if cats are prone to low energy levels an iron supplement may be required to ward off fatigue giving them more energy to remain active throughout the day.


Precautions for boarding

Adequate hygiene and avoiding overcrowding are key strategies to help minimize FIP transmission in boarding situations. To protect your cat, make sure that the boarding facility is clean and well-maintained.

Sanitation should be a regular part of their cleaning protocol, including regular disinfection of all surfaces and strict adherence to handwashing protocols for employees. In addition, it’s important to avoid overcrowding; cats should be housed individually or in small groupings during their stay to reduce chances of virus transmission from one animal to another.

When considering a boarding facility, ask about how these precautions are managed onsite—it could make the difference between keeping your healthy pet safe or having them exposed to a highly contagious disease.

Extra precaution for Multi-cat Household

Since cats with FIP frequently come from multi-cat families (more than 5 cats), animal shelters, or breeding catteries, stress may be a contributing factor.

Separate FIP-positive cats from other cats, and wash your hands frequently, especially after sweeping or cleaning the sick cat’s litter box. Veterinarians advise owners to wait about a month after a FIP-positive cat passes away before bringing a new cat home to lessen the risk of FCoV exposure.

Veterinarians advise waiting at least three months after the death of a FIP-positive cat in a multi-cat household to see if any other cats in the home exhibit FIP symptoms. These cats have been exposed to FCoV and may carry the virus, making them a risk to any new cats that enter the house.

FCoV can be eliminated by cleaning with diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 32 parts water). Always keep 1 extra litter box in the house for every cat. If you have three cats, for instance, you need have at least four litter boxes available.

It has been demonstrated that enhancing your cat’s habitat might reduce stress. Catios, indoor cat trees and perches, window perches, the use of a pheromone like Feliway, water fountains, cat toys, food puzzles, and more are included in this.


Not every cat exposed to the FIP coronavirus will get the illness. According to estimates, 8 to 20% of cats exposed to the virus and in colonies of cats where this disease is known to exist would manifest clinical symptoms of FIP. The remaining cats could develop an immunity to the illness or could simply not respond to it. It is unknown why just a tiny percentage of cats exposed to the virus go on to get the illness.

It is well recognised that the cat’s body’s principal defence against FIP is the cell-mediated immune response. Cats with poor cell mediated immunity may be more prone to the condition. The humoral (antibody) defence mechanism appears to have a role in some feline deaths by actually amplifying the harm the FIP virus causes.

The only available vaccine against FIP has been found to be less than 100% effective and generally not recommended for cats as a preventive measure. Thus, prevention of FIP should involve minimizing stress and proper hygiene practices both in the home and while boarding/traveling with cats.

While medical breakthroughs have created new options which offer hope in combating FIP, responsible pet owners should remain vigilant about limiting their pet’s exposure to risks associated with this virus.


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