Q. One of my four cats has FIP. Are my other three cats in danger of "catching" it? They eat & drink out of the same bowls, use same litter box?
DR. MASSIMO ORIOLES, DVM, MRCVS
A. The short answer is yes, the other cats can potentially get infected, but it is unlikely.
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease of cats caused by certain strains of a virus called the feline coronavirus. Most strains of feline coronavirus are avirulent, which means that they do not cause disease, and are referred to as feline enteric coronavirus.
''Non -FIP'' Coronavirus infection is very common in cats especially in multiple cats environments, but ''FIP''-Coronavirus is not a highly contagious disease, since by the time the cat develops clinical disease only a small amount of virus is being shed. 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 or carrier cats, so it can be transmitted through cat-to-cat contact and exposure to feces. The most common transmission of feline coronavirus occurs when infected female cats pass along the virus to their kittens.
Normal precautions and hygiene habit should be taken. Litter boxes should be kept clean and located away from food and water dishes. Litter should be cleansed of feces daily, and the box should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected regularly. Newly acquired cats and any cats that are suspected of being infected should be separated from other cats