Research on Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) » Diagnostic Protocol
Cats with periodic fever, lethargy and anorexia that were not responsive to antibiotic therapy are likely candidates for the dry form of FIP. A complete blood count, serum chemistry panel, urinalysis and a albumin/globulin ratio were part of the basic profile. A serum sample positive for antibodies to coronavirus was also required unless the other findings were conclusive. There must have been a sufficient evaluation of the cat to have most likely identified diseases that could mimic FIP. There were two groups of cats in the study. When abdominal masses were suspected an abdominal ultrasound with aspirates or surgical biopsy were required. Cats that had pyogranulomatous lesions on surgical biopsies or on needle aspirates were considered definitively positive for FIP.
Coronavirus antigen identified by immunofluorescense in the samples added additional support for the diagnosis. A second group of cats with clinical signs and history compatible with FIP that had a combination of increased serum globulins, low albumin/globulin ratios, lymphopenia, fever and a high coronavirus antibody titer were considered as probably positive for FIP. Both groups were included in the study. If the cat died, a necropsy was done by the primary care veterinarian and abnormal tissues were shipped in formalin to the University of Tennessee for histopathology.