A friend of mine read my post about Feline infectious peritonitis and, being a cat lover, wanted to know more. I’ve been investigating the topic, and was suprised to find an Aloe connection.
According to this article I found on the topic, the interaction between the body’s immune system and the virus is responsible for the disease. “The antibodies that are supposed to protect the cat, white blood cells are infected with the virus” are what actually transport the virus throughout the cat’s body. A cat with a weak immune system is most susceptible to the disease. “Only a small percentage of cats that are exposed to the feline coronavirus develop FIP-and this can occur weeks, months, or even years after initial exposure.”
“Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease caused by certain strains of a virus called the feline coronavirus.” Although it is not a highly contagious disease, “Feline coronavirus can be found in large quantities in the saliva and feces of cats during the acute infection, and to a lesser extent in recovered carrier cats, so it can be transmitted through cat-to-cat contact and exposure to feces. The virus can also live in the environment for several weeks.” This would explain why when searching the web for more information about the virus I found so many arguments for keeping your cat indoors.
There are two major forms of FIP, “an effusive, or ‘wet’ form, and a noneffusive, or ‘dry’ form. Generally, cats will exhibit the signs of the noneffusive form FIP more slowly than the effusive form. Symptoms generally include chronic weight loss, depression, anemia, and a persistent fever that does not respond to antibiotic therapy. The effusive form of FIP is characterized by an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, or less commonly in the chest. Early in the disease, the cat may exhibit similar symptoms to the dry form, including weight loss, fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. The wet form of the disease often progresses rapidly, and the cat may quickly appear pot-bellied due to fluid accumulation in the abdomen. When the fluid accumulation becomes excessive, it may become difficult for the cat to breathe normally.”
There are clinical studies going on, but still no cure or effective treatment at this time. Some of the treatments that are out there may make it better for a bit. “Treatment is generally aimed at supportive care, such as good nursing care and nutrition, and alleviating the inflammatory response of the disease. Cats with FIP are often treated with corticosteroids, cytotoxic drugs, and antibiotics. Supportive care may also include fluid therapy, draining accumulated fluids, and blood transfusions.” Prednisone, or other immunosuppressive drugs, may be prescribed by a veterinarian to help prolong the cat’s life for a few weeks, possibly months. This could be a bad idea in some cases because of resulting infection(s). This risk could be reduced by also using antibiotics. Some newer approaches using immune modulators are in development.
Aloe can be incorporated into treatment as an anti-inflammatory agent. One woman used a “twice-a-day regime using the following: Spirulina to detox and oxygenate the blood, Vitamin C for the Immune system, Vitamin, E for healing process, Omega 3 fish oils, oregano oil for infection, Lecithin for signals from the brain to the spinal cord, Aloe Vera for inflammation and wheat grass juice as a cleanser.” Sounds like something that could be beneficial for anyone!
Quarantine is NOT necessary. Make sure your cat is a comfortable as possible. Painkillers can help.
If you are interested in reading the previous post, click here.