FIP New Drug Trial Update: End of Week #1

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The important thing that we all need to keep in mind is that Luna’s case is a very small research trial; not a treatment for Luna or any future cats that are fortunate enough to meet the criteria and be accepted. Everyone is desperate for a treatment and a cure, and while it’s seemingly getting closer, there is still much work to be done, facts to collect and analyze, and outcomes to be reported before the drug(s) can be approved and produced for commercial use and “treatment”.

Wednesday, May 3rd, we picked Luna up from the clinic around noon and said our goodbyes to the team. That was the tough part. We are really going to miss them all. If it were easy, I think I’d pack up, move, and go to work there with them if I could!  Animals needed nurses too right? However, it’s time for another cat to take Luna’s room and hopefully have a successful trial too!

Our plane was delayed a bit, which meant more carrier time for Luna. It’s not easy traveling so long and far with a cat in a carrier under the seat. You are not technically allowed to hold the carrier on your lap to place a hand inside to pet and calm their anxiety; they want it kept stowed. That said, I pushed this rule a few times while some flight attendants turned a blind eye and most enforced the rules with every pass of our row. Luna did great during the flight out (she was very sick and very quiet), but she was a total ball of fury on the way home! (a sight for sore eyes, but tough to deal with).

We arrived home at around 1:00 a.m. and Luna was a crazy maniac. We couldn’t get her to use her litter box (it’d been nearly 12 hours) as all she wanted to do was play and run and who can blame her after a long day in a duffel bag under a seat? She has a new lease on life, no heavy belly to drag around, pent-up energy from her convalescence and travel.  She wasn’t even interested in eating or drinking. We let her tear up and down the stairs at lightening speed, hide under the bed covers and slide across the wood floors until she wore herself out and curled up for the night. What a sight to behold considering she did nothing but lay around and sleep for the last two weeks. We really hope this is how she stays and want nothing more than for her to live and for her trial to bring hope to all future effusive FIP sufferers. Her little body has been through so much, yet you’d never know it to see her now.

One opinion I have (I’m not brave enough to call it advice) for those who are working on diagnosing their cats with FIP is to give lots of thought to all the symptoms your cat has before spending money (about $400) on a fluid PCR test. It’s costly and mostly inaccurate, as false negative results are common: “FIP viral mRNA not detectable” is a common result, when indeed, the cat has full-blown FIP, especially when correlated with the clinical signs. The biggest hallmark sign, being the yellowish, fibrous, peritoneal fluid. No other disease has fluid with this type/consistency. Luna had anemia, lethargy, a hugely distended abdomen, piloerection and dullness to her coat, persistent fever, a grade 2-3 heart murmur (that was not there on two earlier exams) and the yellow, fibrous fluid. We also paid for an echocardiogram and a cardiology consult (another $500) to rule out cardiac disease; which I would not do again either, given a suggestive FIP diagnosis. What good is a cardiac diagnosis if FIP is present anyways; it changes nothing other than to add more financial stress.

The fact is, owners want concrete answers and let emotions and hope guide their judgment; I know that we did, even though my gut said otherwise. We want to hear that our cat has anything other than FIP, so we will pay anything for that chance. It’s a tough diagnosis to accept and a falsely negative PCR will only lead to false hope, more cost, and frustration in trying to figure out what else it could be…when all along it’s still FIP, a diagnosis of exclusion and certain demise.

As for yesterday, our first full day home, Luna was up at 8:00 with her papa as he left for work and she made sure that I did not sleep one minute. She wanted her wet food and she wanted to bite, bat at my face, and play until she got it. After she ate and got her play out of her system, it was time for her shot and rectal temperature and I was all on my own to do it! I called my friend and neighbor Kelly (Luna’s godmother lol) to come over and help. We got the job done. It wasn’t pretty, but it was fast. One down, many, many more to go. She hated me for about one minute, then was off and running again as if nothing had happened.  Luna had a fabulous rest of the day and evening, engaging in self-play, hiding in Amazon boxes, dragging around bubble wrap and chasing ping-pong balls.

This morning was a repeat of yesterday morning. She was awake and ready to conquer the day. I gave her shot solo this time, using a new technique that I came up with that actually worked well. I put on her harness, which tends to calm her down a bit, held her head in my armpit so she could not turn around to bite me and got it in. The medicine is very thick, so the shot takes a bit more time and pressure then most other drugs to inject. I used the same holding technique for the rectal temp. I found a 2-second thermometer at Walgreens, so it goes very fast. I just hope it’s accurate!  The shots will be easier this weekend since Jamie and I will both be here. The other alternative is to do it at 6:00 a.m. when he gets up for work. The only issue is that I don’t get home from work until midnight and I’m just not all that dapper and patient at 6:00 a.m.! But we will do anything for our little LUNAtic!!

The hardest part of this research trial is the unknown. Will she relapse? How far out can a relapse occur…weeks, months, years? We will always be worried and watching her like a hawk and with one eye open for sure.

16 thoughts on “FIP New Drug Trial Update: End of Week #1

  1. I’m sorry you had such a rough few years with 3 losses. Growing up, we had many outdoor cats that roamed and hunted and had run-ins with other animals and always came out survivors with long lives. I just don’t get how so many indoor cats get so many things! It’s maddening!

  2. Why thank you Peter! I use the larger needle, but a bigger syringe. I draw it up with the TB syringe to be sure to get the correct amount, then I squirt that into a 3ml syringe. It packs less pressure behind the plunger and hurts less. The solution is too thick for a fine TB needle, so I use a 22 gauge I believe it is. You are correct, the burrito wrap in a towel helps, depending on where you are giving the injection. I rotate sites so she doesn’t get too sore or develop hardened areas. The scruff is by far the easiest and they react the least so every few days I resort back to the scruff.

  3. Debra wrote: “When you say you have recovered cats with corona, do you mean you’ve recovered them when it mutates to FIP?”
    Unfortunately I can’t state this. In Luna case and stage only dr. Pedersen could help. This why I am following dr. Pedersen research closely.
    Many owners start treatment of their cats at my forum with FIP diagnosis and fatal prognosis, but in most cases this diagnosis comes from the veterinarians who cant distinguish severe FCoV and FIP and incapable to help such cats (hepatitis, permanent diarrhea etc.) Still I believe that many times we caught the moments, when virus was turning into systemic disease and cured these cats.

    My attitude is the following. Because we know, that FIP is the mutation of FCoV, and FCoV is very common. we have to test all our cats on FCoV and combat virus before it mutates,
    It takes 2-3 month, if we use my methods, and then cats get negative PCR of the feces (4 PCR with 1 week period), normal blood works, Within next few month their titer drops to negative too.

    Those who are familiar well with FCoV, know that even in enteritis form this chronic virus makes a lot of damage for the health of the cat, and especially – of the kittens. Many breeders, who really loves their cats, already cured their catteries and selling virus free kittens now, Their owners will not pass trough the tragedy of FIP.
    If you find it useful for Luna, we can contact by Skype one day, I can give you a lot of advices about cats with care, raw diet, sanitary etc.. Luna breeder is also welcome to contact me, if she really wants to have coronavirus free cattery. My friend – breeder in USA will help her too, she already has an experience of virus elimination. Where is a will, there is a way)).

  4. You are a very good writer:). Since you are a nurse I am guessing you already know/did this but the vet tech that gave Smokey his shots suggested to use a smaller needle and it was much less painful (even though it took longer to inject). She used the burrito method, wrapping Smokey in a towel so he could not jump away. Like Luna, he would let us know how unhappy he was and pout for a minute or two before resuming his life a newly happy kitten. As you wrote, the gratitude at Smokeys miraculous recovery was always tempered by the chance things would go south. Sending you good thoughts and lots of crossed paws.

  5. Anna, yes, I’ve read your reply and also shared the information with Luna’s breeder. Your information is fascinating! I’m going to try and read your forum and use google to translate. When you say you have recovered cats with corona, do you mean you’ve recovered them when it mutates to FIP?

  6. This brought tears to my eyes! I completely understand everything you you’re saying as I’m going through it now with Dempsey. After losing Guinness last February at 22 years old, we didn’t plan to let another kitty into our lives until we saw Dempsey. He has stolen our hearts and we are hopeful that this trial is just the beginning of finding a cure for all kitties! Continued thoughts and prayers for you all!

  7. I really hope this works for you and your furry friend. Some years ago I lost a cat to FIP and it still haunts me. It really did me good to read his well she is doing. Xx

  8. She sounds like she is really enjoying her life! So sorry about your plane trip-you’re right it does not seem fair at all. I appreciate everything you and Luna are doing to help fight this disease!

  9. Thank you for update, Debra!
    I am happy that luna is doing well.
    And I hope you read my comments.
    Dealing with hundreds of coronavirus and FIP cases and having a friend, who is a head of the best vet diagnostic lab in Ukraine (Kiev), and working a lot personally with different tests I can confirm the uselessness of fluid PCR for FIP diagnosis in half of the cases. Sometimes the virus is present, sometimes not. It Rivalta test https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmOk2veunqA is cheap and much more reliable for FIP diagnostics.
    May be,positive or negative fluid PCR is important for the success of the treatment. As I wrote already, I figured out the Russian antiviral drug that very effective for Enteritic form of corona and we are using it at my forum on corona elimination (one of my friends-breeders in USA already tried on newly bought kitten with the virus and her success is confirmed by numerous US Davis tests and blood work) , and this drug holds for a long time alive and in reasonably good condition cats without virus in the fluid (we drain this fluid initially with prednisone and some other drugs), but the same drug makes no difference for the cats with the virus in fluid even if administered i/v.
    My advice, if you take it, for Luna, comes both from my own 20 years breeding sphynx cats experience (and feeding them 10 years raw) as well as from the experience of recovering cats with coronavirus. All my “corona-patients” do this as the first and principal step on virus elimination, and this makes huge difference in their cats health and condition. The very best commercial food will never provide your cat with such strong immune system and health as balanced raw diet. Since we are on raw food, we see veterinarian only for vaccination issues. In less than two weeks you will see huge difference in Luna, if you start feeding her raw.I learned the basics from Canadian raw diet experts, and this is very easy to organize.
    Hope to hear only good news in the next updates about Luna.

  10. I am so happy for Luna and her family.

    I lost a kitten in 2009 to what the vets thought might be FIP. Emma’s diagnosis was based only on clinical symptoms; FIP science has progressed since 2009.

    I also lost my youngish Lily in 2008 to oral cancer, putting her down the evening before I had neurosurgery for breast cancer reconstruction. Last summer, I lost my 6YO heart cat Jackson Pepperbutt Raspscallion to renal lymphoma three months and $8K after diagnosis.

    There are many conditions that can take our young cats. I wish all the conditions had cures. I am glad that UC Davis is conducting these FIP trials.

  11. And thank you! I love to write and I love science…so I’m pleased to try and present Luna’s story in a way that people can relate and hopefully learn and understand!

  12. I had no idea about that and we’d love to! Can we bring Luna? Where is it?

  13. Cannot stop smiling!❤️❤️❤️❤️

  14. Your updates are very engaging. I am pleased to see how Luna is doing because it is great for cats and also being part of Winn Feline Foundation. FIP has been an important disease issue for us to address. Being in Ohio, I hope you are close enough to come to Winn’s Symposium in Chicago where Dr. P is presenting about FIP on June 29th.

  15. I love your updates! So happy that Luna is doing much better. Thank you for doing this and maybe a cure is near.

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