As a nonprofit that helps cats and dogs with veterinary care, we have had quite a few cases and applications that include a Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) diagnosis. Unfortunately, very little is available to treat FIP and many veterinarians see it as a death sentence. That is why we were so excited to meet Wednesday, the FIP Warrior. This sweet cat is undergoing a new experimental treatment for FIP and her owner is tracking her progress through daily images and descriptions. Please note that a veterinarian is monitoring Wednesday but asked not be named because this treatment is not currently approved. Always consult a veterinarian you trust before performing any medical intervention on your own pets. We offer this article, written by Wednesday's owner, as a unique perspective for cat owners facing an FIP diagnosis. This is not to be taken as medical/veterinary advice. We are not veterinarians.
Looking back now it’s strange to think that there was a point where we were not interested in having a cat. But one day the timing seemed right, and on a Saturday in October we decided to visit our local ARL. It was there that we met a tiny black cat, and after just a few minutes with her, we knew that she was meant to be ours.
Wednesday fit into our home right away. She was sweet and brought a lot of joy to our lives. We soon noticed that she was sometimes a little wobbly in her back legs. We joked about having a clumsy cat, but as the wobble progressed overtime, it became apparent that something was wrong.
We made an appointment with a neurologist to determine the cause of Wednesday’s wobble. The neurologist performed a litany of expensive tests. Each test came back negative. Finally there was only one thing left to do: a spinal tap to confirm what the neurologist suspected, FIP.
On December 18, 2019, we received the FIP diagnosis.
We knew it was serious when the neurologist told us, “Enjoy the time you have left with her”. It left us absolutely crushed. In just two months we had fallen in love with this cat and she was going to be taken away from us by this horrible disease.
Cats can have dry or wet FIP, and within these they can be affected neurologically and/or ocularly. Wednesday’s case is fairly severe, she has dry neurological and ocular FIP. By December 26, 2019 her third eyelids were always showing and she could hardly walk. She slept all day and hardly ate. It was heartbreaking.
Since there is no Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) approved treatment for FIP, we had to do our own research. We found a Facebook page called FIP Warriors, a group full of cat owners that have cats with FIP. The page stated that a medication called GS441524 could be used to cure FIP, but that it had to be shipped from China. The treatment involved an injection a day for 84 days, then an 84 day observation period before the cat is considered cured. The medication was extremely expensive but we had to try something.
We purchased 10 days worth of medication to see how she reacted to it. In just four days Wednesday was walking without falling, getting in her litter box, and eating like a machine. By the fifth day her eyes were completely back to normal, third-eyelids gone and the color back to a bright green. After seeing her miraculous improvement we decided to purchase the next 74 days of medication, no matter the cost.
The injections were challenging to give at first, we weren’t sure if we should restrain Wednesday or how much force to use, and we were both terrified of needles. Day by day the injections got easier to give. We ended up giving the shots on Wednesday’s terms, preferring not to restrain her and instead letting her lie down. She was such an angel throughout the entire process.
During this 84 day treatment period we were very fortunate to receive countless donations from friends, family, and strangers to help us afford the medication. The outpouring of love was unbelievable. We have also found a wonderful community of animal lovers on Instagram and the support we continue to receive from them is amazing.
Wednesday finishes her observation period on June 15, 2020 and, pending good labs, she will be considered cured of this fatal disease. Our goal is to educate people on our experience with FIP to show that it can be cured. If we can push for research and funding we can hopefully end up with an CVM approved treatment that vets can recommend and help to administer.
Brittany S., Wednesday's mom
Wednesday's owner posted this on instagram today:
I DID IT!! Today is the day that I am considered CURED of the fatal disease FIP.
I went to the neurologist last week and the vet yesterday and everyone is giving me their stamp of approval, saying that I am a perfectly healthy kitty! We couldn’t have made it this far without generous donations, people sharing our story, the support of our vets, and especially the support of our families and the amazing friends we’ve made here.
Note: We, at For The Love Of Alex, are always excited to learn about new ways we can help pets overcome illness and injury. We are sharing this with you as an interesting story that may lead to advances in veterinary medicine. We are not giving medical/veterinary advice, and we encourage you to always consult a licensed veterinarian before performing any treatment on your own pets.
For The Love of Alex Inc is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides emergency funding for urgent and lifesaving care of pets of low-income families.