Researchers seek cats with FIP for new study
Until recently, FIP was an invariably fatal disease, but new research offers hope.
The study aims to improve diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.

A research team at the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is looking to recruit approximately 100 cats for a new study into feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). 

Cats with either wet or dry FIP can be enrolled in the study as long as they have had their diagnosis confirmed using the ABCD Algorithm and their owners have given written informed consent. Each cat will stay under the care of their GP veterinarian, with support from the study clinicians.

FIP is a viral disease in young cats, and occasionally older ones, caused by a coronavirus. Until recently, it was nearly always fatal, but research into COVID-19 has suggested that GS-441524 and its prodrug remdesivir can successfully be used to treat it. 

However, diagnosing the disease is still difficult. With an effective treatment now available, it is important to create a definitive test to diagnose and monitor the disease.

The researchers plan to evaluate two diagnostic possibilities: acute-phase proteins (APPs) and micro-RNA (mrRNA) in blood and effusions. It is hoped that at least one of these can be used to develop a reliable test for diagnosis, monitoring and prognosis of FIP.

Case histories and owner questionnaires will help the team to assess whether specific APPs and/or miRNA profiles can be used to predict how well a cat will respond to treatment. 

Prof Danièlle Gunn-Moore, part of the research team, said: “I undertook a PhD study into FIP in 1994 because I had seen so many beautiful kittens die from this hideous disease. I never imagined that I would now be able to treat so many of these precious babies so successfully. It really is the most important thing to happen in feline medicine in my lifetime. I am proud to be part of a group of people who are trying to work out the best way to use these drugs.”

More information about the study, including the participant information sheet and consent form, can be found here.