Zurik starts on RetroMAD1

Last night, Zurik started on RetroMAD1, the anti-viral that was experimental many years ago.

It was my friend, Agnes, who reminded me that RetroMAD1 might be worth a try, so I contacted my friend, Anita, who recently bought 3 bottles of RetroMAD1 for her cat, to ask from where I could purchase them. Anita immediately offered her two remaining bottles. Sadly, her cat did not make it so she does not need the two bottles now.

I know that RetroMAD1 was being used for parvovirus, FIV and FeLV but I did not know it could be used for FIP too.

When Anita sent me a video of the bottle and I saw “FIP”, I wanted to jump into my car and drive there straightaway, which I did! Thank you so much, Anita.

As for using RetroMAD1, we have nothing to lose. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work, that’s all. We won’t know unless we try. What if it does work, even a little, by giving Zurik a better quality of life – that would be worth it.

Upon coming back with the two bottles, I consulted one of my vet-friends who was one of the pioneers in using this drug. He advised me on the dosage for FIP.

So I gave Zurik his first dose last night itself.

This morning, I took Zurik for a second opinion. FIP is not a well-understood disease, so I do want to explore and find out as much as I can about it so that I can do my best for Zurik. Zurik’s vet also said I can always seek a second opinion.

I just want to learn more because I want to give Zurik the very best.

So, we went for a second opinion and I learnt quite a bit from the consultation.

Based on the blood profile and all tests done so far, there is a 70% chance that what Zurik has is FIP.

I know. I’ve accepted this.

I actually went with the intention of getting an FIV/FeLV and PCV test done on Zurik but the vet said the FIV/FeLV test would only be useful if I intend to isolate Zurik. Moreover, FIV and FeLV are not known to spread that easily.  Why poke the cat and draw blood to run a test if I have no intention of isolating him?

The vet also shared that at a conference on FIP some years ago, it was announced that
(1) FIP “is not contagious” but (2) “We do not know enough about the disease”.  Based on the fact that we still do not know enough about FIP, the vet advised that Zurik ought be isolated from other cats. We have thought about this already and we think that the house and the patio are big enough and has enough space for everyone (the four of them).  If we were to isolate Zurik in a room upstairs, he would be so miserable and if indeed he only has a few more weeks to live, why should we make these few weeks so miserable for him?

I also explained that Buddy and Ginger have actually been sharing food with Zurik for quite sometime now, so if anything was contagious, it is already too late to turn back the clock now.  We never knew that Zurik had the corona virus. In fact, many cats have the corona virus and their immune systems can take care of it by themselves. Only 5-10% of these cases mutate to the FIP virus. Zurik is in this rare minority. Even rarer because normally it affects kittens and only sometimes, geriatric cats.

Some things are just quite beyond our control.

That said, we did not do the FIV/FeLV test. The vet also said that the FIV and FeLV are weak viruses and can be destroyed by soap. Perhaps this is why it is known to spread only through deep bites.

We talked about other aspects of the FIP disease. The vet taught me how to monitor and track Zurik’s breathing. As his daily caregiver, I would be able to monitor his respiratory and breathing pattern so that I would know when to take him to the vet for a check-up or to have fluids aspirated. We also wouldn’t want to do the aspiration too often as the procedure is a risky one.

Monitoring Zurik’s weight is also important as that is also a parameter of the progression of the disease.

Since we were not doing the FIV/FeLV test, we did not want to simply poke Zurik just to draw blood for the PCV. But I wanted to know if Zurik was anaemic, so the vet did a physical check of Zurik’s gums and eyelids and said he was a little pale, but nothing too serious. His hydration is also fair and he does not need subcut today.

The vet said he would also prescribe steroids since it can make Zurik feel better. For FIP cats, it is all about quality of life, making the cat feel better and good enough. However, he would not prescribe Vetri DMG as he does not know if it would help in FIP cases. The argument is this: The pathogenesis of FIP is partly due to the immune system, so if we boost the immune system, might it make the FIP worse?  We don’t know for sure. It’s just a hypothesis and not proven. Merely a conjecture.

As for the RetroMAD1, the vet agreed that there is no harm in trying it.


This vet shared that back in the day, there was a cat diagnosed with FIP, the cat had all the symptoms, but after one whole year, the cat was still alive. It was concluded that the cat was misdiagnosed. So, it is possible that a cat can have all the symptoms and yet, it still isn’t FIP. That’s how much we do not know about this dreadful disease. Or, did that lucky cat survive and conquered FIP? We don’t know, but the cat was still alive after one year.

FIP is a circumstantial disease, or a disease of exclusion. First there are the symptoms which is consistent with possible FIP. Then, you rule out “everything” else that might be also possible, and you are left with FIP. And yet it’s still not 100%.

There is no proper sure-fire way to diagnose FIP.

The whole purpose of this visit was to learn more about FIP and to find out what else I could do for Zurik to give him a better quality of life.  Or, as good as it can get. As his caregiver, of course I would want to leave no stone unturned and do my very, very best for him. In other to do this, I have to continue exploring options by sharing his clinical information with professionals who are able to advise.

Let’s hope the RetroMAD1 works.

Time is relative and we don’t know how much time we have left. But in that time that Zurik has left, I would want to make him as comfortable as he can be. For a cat, I should think that this can be measured by (1) the ability to eat, (2) the ability to be mobile, (3) the ability to urinate and defecate (oh yes, this is SO important), (4) the ability to sleep soundly and of course, (5) being happy. So far, Zurik has all these and I am thankful.

2 comments to Zurik starts on RetroMAD1

  • Shannon Hieb

    Hello, my cat just got diagnosed with FeLV. His symptom so far, is only vomiting. I have managed to control that using Cerenia, but in the meantime, I am hopeful for a cure! I would also love to try RetroMAD1. Where can I obtain it?

    Thank you and prayers for our furry babies!