Nacho is a British Shorthair who went to live with his hoomans in August along with his little brother Taco (also a British Shorthair). Since then they have been inseparable and not only brothers but also best friends.

Unfortunately, Nacho got sick and they went through an intensive period. Research, injections, medication and not playing with Taco. Nacho was diagnosed with FIP.

What exactly is this disease? How do you recognize it and what is the disease process?

You can read it in this blog.
Who are Nacho & Taco?

Taco (right) and Nacho (left) are two British Shorthair kittens who came to live with their hoomans in August. They were exactly 3 weeks apart and came from two different breeders but came into the house together at exactly the same time. Less than two days later they were already best friends and have been inseparable ever since. How sweet is that?

Nacho & Taco are brothers and best friends!

Symptoms of FIP

Last December, it was time to have Nacho and Taco neutered. This is normally a relatively minor procedure from which male cats recover quickly. With Nacho, this was not the case. Since the surgery, she noticed a few symptoms in Nacho.

  • Not playing anymore
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Swollen belly
  • Fever

Especially the swollen belly is the main symptom of (wet) FIP. After this they immediately went to the vet with Nacho but nothing came out of this visit. Of course you trust the vet on his or her word but still there were many concerns. Nacho's hoomans did some research themselves online and Nacho's symptoms appeared to strongly point towards FIP. The gut feeling was right and Nacho was eventually diagnosed with FIP.

What is the disease FIP?

FIP is a mutation of the feline coronavirus. Many cats carry this virus but only in a small proportion does it actually mutate into FIP.

There are different types of FIP. Namely:

  • Wet FIP. In this, the cat develops fluid in his or her abdomen and/or chest area
  • Dry FIP. In this, the cat develops inflammation in his or her body. The inflammation can develop in different organs
  • Ocular FIP. This is a variant of dry FIP in which the eyes are affected and there is inflammation in the eye
  • Neurological FIP. This is also a variant of dry FIP where the cat has inflammation in the nervous system

The diagnosis of FIP is often difficult to make. With wet FIP, the distended abdomen is often visible and thus a lot easier to diagnose. Dry FIP, on the other hand, is a lot more difficult.

When a cat is already a carrier of the virus, FIP can often mutate after a stressful situation. So, in Nacho's case, spaying.

FIP occurs mainly in young cats up to 2 years of age or just in older cats. It is said that purebred cats are more likely to develop FIP but this has not been scientifically proven. Basically, any cat could get FIP.

Treatment of FIP

Even before the official results, they started treatment for Nacho. There was no time to wait. With FIP, every day, sometimes every hour, is crucial and action must be taken as soon as possible.

Nacho's signs were so clear that treatment was started immediately. Had it not been FIP, the medication would not have been harmful.

Nacho is now being injected at home at the same time every day for 84 days. At the beginning this was fairly easy to administer but this is becoming increasingly difficult. The liquid burns tremendously in his skin and Nacho is in a lot of pain during these injections. So super pathetic but he is doing super well.

After only four days of injections, Nacho slowly started playing again! After about a week his swollen belly with fluid also started to go away.

Only after almost two weeks came the official result from the vet. If they had waited for this, Nacho would most likely not have been saved. If treatment is not started, FIP is almost always fatal for cats. The hoomans sensed that very well for their little friend!

If they had waited for the results it would have been too late to save Nacho

How does Taco cope with his little brother's illness?

At the beginning of Nacho's illness, Taco really wanted to play with Nacho but couldn't because he was much too sick.

Because of this, Taco sometimes attacked Nacho and Nacho meowed a lot at Taco. At some point Taco realized that Nacho did not want to play with him and he looked for attention in other ways. He became extremely busy at home and often ran all over the house.

So the hoomans became Taco's new toy to prevent him from getting bored. Now they are playing together again!

How is Nacho doing now?

The hoomans of Nacho and Taco really see the medication as a panacea! Nacho soon got better and now he really is the old Nacho again. He is even more playful than ever.

Until March 15, Nacho still has to be injected daily. Two weeks before that, blood tests have to be done to see if the treatment has to be extended.

When the treatment is finished, an observation period of 84 days will begin. During this period, there is still a chance of relapse. It is important that during this period his behavior and weight are closely monitored.

All in all, it is an intensive period but after this they hope to be able to call Nacho a real FIP survivor. His little brother Taco is also only too happy about this. You can see that from the picture on the left! <3

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