Naughty Indy, “naughty” Zurik and more about FIP

Indy has been very naughty lately.

He has been spraying non-stop. I’m a bit puzzled how he has so much “spare” urine to spray.  And each time, it is a lot.  The doors, the cabinet doors, the bench – they are all targeted. Looks like my plan to not cover the bench isn’t working. It would need to be covered again or Indy will surely destroy the wood with his urine.

Here’s naughty Indy picking a fight with “Peaceful Cow”. Cow is quite a mild cat these days. He has mellowed. By the way, the background noise is from a comedy video I was watching, it’s not anyone fighting…haha.

So now, he sprays and he picks fights with other people. Why are you so naughty, Indy?

Meanwhile, Zurik is also beginning to be naughty. This afternoon, he tried to make a dash for the front door in an attempt to escape. Luckily I was quick enough to slam the door shut. He hid behind a chair and the moment the door was opened, he came out of nowhere and dashed towards it!

Naughty? Naughty is good!!  Naughty is so much better than many days last month where we noticed he was very lethargic and even jumping up the garbage compartment took a toll on him.

Yes, give me those menacing eyes, Zurik! That’s your KGB trademark.

He had a feast of raw chicken fillet this evening, followed by dutifully taking his RetroMAD1 and now, he is asleep.

Whether Zurik has FIP or not, whether he has weeks left or months, or maybe it isn’t FIP – we will never know for sure. So what matters now is that every moment counts.  Every moment that Zurik is happy, is able to eat happily and is comfortable is a blessing.

Meanwhile, I will continue to find out more about FIP and explore options to help Zurik. Here’s what I found out today, for the purpose of sharing. Please note that this is one vet’s professional opinion. I just communicated with the vet and did not take Zurik. I will not simply stress him out with car rides or visits to clinics unless it is absolutely necessary.

Based on the description of the characteristics of Zurik’s effusion and the positive Rivalta Test, it points towards FIP. But this vet says she would not put Zurik on Vetri DMG and her reason is this: The standard treatment of FIP is to suppress the immune system with steroids. Why so? Because it is the over-reaction of the immune system towards the virus that causes the effusion (for wet FIP). The immune system reacts by causing vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels). This inflammation then causes the leaking of fluids into body cavities such as the lung cavity, as in Zurik’s case. Or in some cases, the abdominal cavity and can be seen as a swelling. So, in a nutshell, the virus makes the body reacts in a way that kills the patient. How bad is that, right? So we use steroids to suppress the immune system to minimize the effusion, hence if you give Vetri DMG which boosts the immune system, wouldn’t that be contradictory? The recommended treatment protocol for FIP is to suppress the immune system so the dosage for suppressing the immune system should be given now, then tapered down after one week, and again, tapered down after the following week. The standard protocol is 2 mg/kg first week, 1mg/kg second week, 0.5mg/kg 3rd week, but this is also dependent on the cat’s condition, the cat’s age and possibly other factors. Each cat is different. Some start at 1mg/kg, some still lower.

So, here’s the keyword: Every cat is different. This is precisely why we, as lay-people, must never ever self-medicate. We can find out from various vets, but ultimately, we would just have to trust one vet to treat our pet.

The vet continued that another good gauge is to monitor the amount of effusion and its rate. If the rate reduces, it means that dosage of steroids is working.

I did ask Zurik’s vet if the 2.5mg steroids suppresses his immunity and if we are giving him Vetri DMG to boost his immunity, isn’t it contradictory? Yes, my exact question too. But the vet said the 2.5mg is an anti-inflammatory dosage (it it not to suppress his immunity), so giving Vetri DMG is fine.

So there you have it, every cat’s needs is different even though it is the same disease.

Meanwhile, the global FIP Advisory Group has responded too. To them, Zurik’s case is still not 100% FIP though the chances are increasing in that direction. However, they assured me that FIP is NOT contagious. The research shows this clearly – it is NOT contagious and they feel very, very strongly that Zurik should not be isolated. Isolating him at this point would be detrimental to his feeling of wellbeing. They explained that one cannot conclude that “FIP is contagious” due to anecdotal circumstantial evidence where other cats in a certain household “contracted” FIP when they were exposed to an FIP cat. There have been too many cases of misdiagnosed FIP cases. So some cats passed away and FIP is being blamed, but was it even FIP in the first place? The research says clearly that it is not contagious. When FIP shows up, it has way passed the point of contagion.

I am comforted knowing this because we did not isolate Zurik. I also feel that isolating him at this point would make him very, very sad. That’s not good for his wellbeing. He needs support at this point. More importantly, in my opinion, he needs to feel he is as normal as any other cat. The self-fulfilling prophecy works in our minds.

Meanwhile, the FIP Advisory group (they consist of professionals who are dedicated to helping caregivers of FIP cats or those suspected of FIP) says that it is good to continue giving Zurik his immune boosters and vitamins. They have heard of RetroMAD1 too and strongly encouraged me to let Zurik try it.

I know, it’s a whole lot of information there and some are indeed contradictory. As his caregiver, I have to decide which to follow. At this point in time, Zurik is so much more alert and eating very well, so I have decided to carry on with Zurik’s vet’s prescription of the anti-inflammatory dosage of 2.5mg steroids and the 0.5ml of Vetri DMG. Zurik’s vet also agreed that the fish oil and B Complex would be helpful and that there is no harm trying the RetroMAD1 given three times daily. For me, I hold the RetroMAD1 in high regard though I know the statistics of success for FIP only stands at 15-20%.

And, Zurik weighed 4.2kg this evening! This is an increase. When he was diagnosed 8 days ago, he weighed 3.9kg. The next day, he went down to 3.7kg. Now, he is 4.2kg. This is a 0.5kg increase. Weight is also a yardstick of whether the medication is making him feel better. RetroMAD1 holds no promise of “curing” the disease, but it has a remote chance of prolonging life and giving the cat better wellbeing. We MUST try.

One day at a time.