Veterinarian Successfully Treats Deadly Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) Disease
South Glastonbury, CT (October 12, 2012)…When Dr. Eric Hurwit received lab results that showed his six-year-old feline patient, Madrox, had all indications of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), he was devastated. Dr. Hurwit was faced with few options for the successful treatment of one of the most poorly understood and enigmatic veterinary feline viruses. Dr. Hurwit, who operates ‘Less Stress for Your Pet’, an at-home pet service in Connecticut, had to deliver the hard message to Madrox’ guardians that their much-loved pet had this devastating, fatal disease.
Although FIP was first reported in 1963, little is actually known about this systemic infection. Research over the last decade, however, has led to more precise diagnostic procedures and a better understanding of FIP’s two forms:
•Effusive (wet). Its characteristic feature is the buildup of fluid within the abdomen or chest, resulting in difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and weight loss.
•Non-effusive (dry). There is no fluid accumulation in this form, but eye problems and loss of vision frequently occur. Affected cats often have difficulty standing or walking and may become paralyzed.
Both types of FIP are lethal, but the wet form represents about 2/3 of cases seen and has a much more rapid progression than the dry type.
With such vague clinical signs, especially in the early stages, a presumptive diagnosis of FIP has to be made based on the physical examination and evaluation of abdominal or chest fluid before more sophisticated laboratory procedures are performed.
Madrox did have eye problems that are commonly found with dry FIP, but no abdominal or chest fluid upon which a more definite diagnosis could be made. However, tests came back showing a significantly elevated FIP 7b Elisa titer and blood chemistry did show a recurrent increased globulin level. Dr. Hurwit ordered a protein electrophoresis to find the type of elevated globulin, since FIP is associated with a Beta/Gamma fusion which Madrox’s electrophoresis demonstrated. Unfortunately, results indicated that Madrox did, indeed, have dry FIP.
Although Dr. Hurwit was aware that no cure existed for FIP--treatment being primarily symptomatic and palliative--he was determined to go beyond just advising his clients to make Madrox as comfortable as possible while waiting for the inevitable.
He turned to a new immune modulator: Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator (LTCI), the only USDA-approved product available for the treatment of the Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency viruses, developed by T-Cyte Therapeutics. Dr. Hurwit knew that LTCI acts to normalize an animal’s natural immune system in cats with FeLV or FIV and increases red cell counts in severely anemic cats. With its unique mode of action and no known side effects, he thought that LTCI might benefit Madrox in overcoming the progressively debilitating effects of the FIP virus.
“After 15 months of treatment with LTCI, Madrox continues to do very well”, according to Dr. Hurwit. “Although Madrox does go to an ophthalmologist for treatment of uveitis, a swelling and irritation of the middle layer of the eye, as a result of the FIP, he is doing exceptionally well and suffers from no other clinical signs. He is playing and eating very well, and his guardians are able to give the LTCI treatments at home, decreasing veterinary expenses.”
Dr. Hurwit reminds cat caregivers that “Since the signs of FIP can be easily overlooked, I strongly advise owners to have their cats professionally examined and assessed, especially if there are any signs of abdominal distention, changes in the eyes, chronic diarrhea, unusual sluggishness or respiratory infection.“
About Eric Hurwit, D.V.M.
Eric R. Hurwit received his B.S. in the pre-medical program at the University of Hartford. Additional work in education and biology was completed at the California State University, Northridge, from 1993-1998 and the University of California, Los Angeles from 1997-2000.
He was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research in cardiology at Cornell University in 2002, earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2004 from the Kansas State University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed an externship in small animal orthopedic and soft tissue surgery at the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine Hospital For Animals. Dr. Hurwit has been practicing veterinary medicine in Connecticut since 2004 and may be contacted through his website (www.lessstressforyourpet.com)