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We have a kitten that's about 5 months old and has been diagnosed with FIP (Feline infectious peritonitis) 12 days ago. Since then she's been on treatment with Prednisolone, antibiotics and, for the last 8 days, feline interferon.

She had the fluid in her abdomen drained 8 days ago, and yesterday the veterinarian tried to do it again, but it was too viscous to drain with a syringe, so they said that it couldn't be done.

Has anyone encountered this situation before and knows a solution? I'd really want to have the fluid drain to improve her survival chances and comfort.

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The vet would have to make a bigger hole. Usually a 19G butterfly catheter is big enough.

The downside, especially in a kitten that has lost weight and muscle, or does not like to hold still is that when using a larger gauge needle there is a much higher chance that the hole will not close up immediately when finished. Kittens with FIP start to lose muscle diffusely, including abdominal muscles which will not contract back as well. This means that peritoneal fluid could start to leak into the subcutaneous tissues or directly out of the body.

I am sorry to say that with effusive FIP you and your vet need a very frank conversation. Repeated draining of the abdomen does provide short-term relief but the effusion will come back again, if not worse. The prognosis is grave, and the chance of survival even with aggressive treatment is very poor. Euthanasia, as terrible as it is to consider in a young kitten, is often the most humane option.

Best of luck with your treatment for this little kitten.

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  • Unfortunately, we had to euthanize her today. She was breathing badly and the vet also considered she developed neurological signs. I hope any people reading this in the future have better luck. – Filip Sep 20 '18 at 22:17
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    @Filip I am sorry to hear this, but know that you did everything you could for her. Thinking of you at this difficult time. – Harry V. Sep 21 '18 at 3:47

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