Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) or FIV: Which do you think it was?

by Joline
(Branchdale, PA)

Trying to figure out if my cat died of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) or FIV: Which do you think it was? In the passed 2 years, I have had 3 cats die. One died from FIP and the other from FIV. My recent cat Smoke died and I'm not sure why because the symptoms were different.

My cat had lost weight, was hiding, vomiting clear foam, and within 24 hours before dying he was twitching is head, and his face and neck were swollen. My vet was closed that day and he died that night.

I was up all night holding his paws as he twitched. He was filled with fluid and couldn't breathe. His breath was bad and his body smelled bad.

What do you think happened to my baby?

Dear Joline,

I am so sorry for your recent losses. Without knowing how old your cat Smoke was, or whether Smoke had lived with your cats that had died of FIV and FIP, it would be quite difficult to say what may have caused his passing.

If your cat couldn't breathe and had fluid accumulating in his chest, it may have been FIP, although it could have also been feline heart disease, pneumonia, cancer, or any number of feline health conditions. Without an exam or an autopsy, saying definitively what may have caused Smoke's death is impossible.

I would worry that, after losing 3 cats in two years, the conditions causing your cats' deaths may be contagious. Before bringing a new cat into your household, I would recommend cleaning and washing all bedding and fabrics, allowing some time for any diseases to pass. And, make sure to test any new cats you may bring home for FeLV and FIV.

Again, I am so very sorry to hear of your losses. You have my deepest sympathies during this difficult time.

Kindest regards,
Dr. Neely

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