Case File

Otis's Story of Hope - a Case Story

by Katy Duncan - BVMS BSAVA PGCertSAM MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Medicine Veterinary Surgeon

Meet Otis, a beautiful one year old British Shorthair who spent a week at our Portishead branch earlier this year.  After noticing that Otis was not feeling himself, with a lack of energy and a reduced appetite, Otis’s family promptly took him to our Portishead branch for a check-up.  He was found to have an increased temperature but after no response to some gentle treatment to bring his temperature down he was admitted for further investigations.



Blood tests identified several abnormalities and an ultrasound scan confirmed that Otis had also developed an abnormal build-up of fluid around his abdominal organs. He was started on intravenous rehydration and medications to improve his appetite. The blood tests and findings from the scan were highly suggestive that Otis was suffering from FIP. A sample of the fluid was analysed at the practice and also sent to the lab for molecular testing.  Given the high suspicion of such a serious disease, it was recommended that treatment was started as soon as possible.



What is FIP?

FIP is caused by an infection with Feline Coronavirus which is a very widespread virus affecting many cats worldwide.  Most cats show no clinical signs or sometimes mild diarrhoea.  Sometimes the virus mutates within the cat and if the immune system responds in a certain way it can cause FIP.  It is important to note that although it is caused by a coronavirus, it is different to the coronavirus that caused the COVID 19 pandemic in people.

FIP can affect cats of any age but is most common in young pure breeds.  It is sometimes complex to diagnose and until recently has been fatal for most due to the lack of a licensed treatment.  Fortunately, in 2021 a licensed treatment became available in the UK, giving hope to those affected by this devastating disease.




Otis initially received 3 days of intravenous Remdesivir infusions alongside his fluid therapy and supportive care.  Within 48 hours there was a marked improvement in his demeanour, appetite and temperature.  The medication was continued as subcutaneous injections during his stay and after a few days we received the results from the lab confirming a diagnosis of FIP. After a week in hospital, Otis was discharged home to his family who continued to administer his injections for a further week. This was a large undertaking for Otis’s family but was made possible by their commitment, patience and some cat friendly measures to make the injections as comfortable as possible. Otis made excellent progress and by his next check-up, the fluid in his abdomen had resolved and his blood tests were normalising.  He was transitioned onto a tablet form of the medication which was continued for a further 10 weeks. Otis continued to visit the practice regularly for monitoring during this time and for a while after finishing his treatment.



10 months later, Otis continues to do very well and enjoys a full, contented life at home with his loving family.  We have all become very fond of Otis here at Watkins and Tasker and have enjoyed watching him grow into the handsome happy boy that he is today.