Many people have asked me to post Luna’s symptoms and diagnostics that led to her FIP diagnosis, so here it is!
I had asked our vet, during Luna’s routine check-up and second Felo-vax vaccine, if she thought her abdomen might look slightly distended. It appeared to me to now be bloated as it had not been like that when she came to live with us. She did not think it looked out of the ordinary, but in my mind, Savannah’s are more lanky and thinner in general than domestic cats. That said, she thought it was “normal kitten pudginess and nothing to worry about”. We proceeded to give Luna her second Felo-vax [killed] vaccine. She had done just fine with the first one, having gotten it the day before she came to live with us, and did just fine.
From the time of the vaccine until the time of these diagnosis (just a few days), Luna became lethargic and her abdomen more distended. She felt very hot to the touch. We took her to MedVet for an emergency room visit and her temperature was 105 degrees and she had a grade 3-4 heart murmur, which the prior vet had noticed when I took her for her shot and wellness check up. The fluid sample from her abdomen was a stringy, yellow consistency and the ER vet had no doubt that she had FIP. She let us see the fluid as well and I wish I would have snagged a photo of it; but I was in such shock, I didn’t think about it. Here is a photo we took of her distended belly that weekend along with a photo of her belly the day we left for UCD and the day we returned home.
The ER vet said that we could see an Internal Medicine specialist on Monday, but that most likely, our next call would be to have Luna euthanized. This was on Friday, April 21st. We went home in a state of devastation, not really knowing what to do next. I spent all day Saturday researching options and looking for clinical trials and calling major universities, leaving messages. On Sunday, I got a call from UC Davis to discuss Luna’s diagnosis and learned that a new drug was just about to be rolled out for a new research trial. In the meantime, we went ahead and took Luna to see the Internist on Monday, April 24th. That is when we got the results of this lab work that is below.
They had us leave her there for the day and she had an abdominal ultrasound, x-rays, fluid analysis and cytology, and a cardiac echocardiogram. The cardiac echocardiogram ruled out any cardiac anomalies and it was determined that her murmur was caused from the excessive fluid in her abdomen and increased workload on her heart. Her organs were also normal and without lesions or other abnormalities. She continued to have a fever of 104.3.
You can see her severely elevated white blood cells, low red blood cells and hemoglobin (indicating anemia), increased neutrophils and band cells, low albumin, and an albumin/globulin ratio at the low-end of normal. These are all components of a positive effusive FIP diagnosis. It really is like putting together a puzzle.