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4 tests that determines if your cat has FIP

Updated: Jan 18

We have compiled 4 commonly used tests by veterinarians to detect whether your cat has been infected by the feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV). There is no single test that can conclusively determine if your cat has contracted Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus (FIPV). However, these tests do alert medical professionals to potential infections by detecting the antigen inside your cat's body fluid and faecal matters. Experienced veterinarians use these tests, along with experience and trained eyes to determines the likelihood of an FIPV infection.

1. Titre Test

A titre test measures the level of antibodies circulating in the blood. These antibodies are produced when pathogens such as viruses or bacterias produce a response from the immune system. You can read more about the titre test here.

2. Histopathology

An examination of samples of whole tissues, and is performed on a solid piece of tissue that has been collected surgically. The piece of tissue is prepared through a process called histology by preserving, thinly slicing or sectioning, and staining the tissue sample with dyes.

Once prepared, the tissue sections are examined under the microscope by a veterinary pathologist. Histopathology focuses on the architecture of the tissue.

The accuracy of a diagnosis is usually high. A veterinary pathologist can often offer an opinion on the likely course of the disease, called a prognosis.  This information helps your veterinarian to decide the best course of treatment for your pet. You can read more about this testing process here.

3. Rivalta Test

A simple yet useful test to determine the WET form of FIP. The test is performed by collecting sample fluid from the cat’s abdominal or chest cavity, adding it to a test tube filled with distilled water and one drop of 98% acetic acid. You can see a video of Rivalta Test performed here.

4. Blood Test

A blood test is the most comprehensive test used to determine the likelihood of a FIP viral infection in cats. The white blood cells might be low, normal or high, depending on how long the Feline Infectious Peritonitis viruses have been present, and if other problems also exist. The red blood cell count might be normal or low (anemia). The biochemistry profile commonly reveals an increase in total protein and globulins. This increase is caused by the inflammatory process occurring as the cat's body responds to the virus. veterinarians often look at A:G ratios as the first sign of potential FIP infection in cats.

This sample blood report showing an increase of Total Protein and Globulin (hyperglobulinemia) in a FIP positive cat.

Other tests on the biochemistry profile could, but not necessarily indicate FIP in cats since these problems could also occur with other diseases.  For example, if the kidney values are increased in an older cat with suspicion of FIP, some of the possibilities are:

  1. Chronic renal failure along with FIP (this cat has 2 different diseases)

  2. Chronic renal failure with no FIP

  3. FIP causing kidney disease

  4. Dehydration due to FIP

  5. Dehydration due to disease in some other organ

Now that you know the 4 common tests used to determine FIP in cats, share this article with someone who should read this. You can learn about our effective FIP treatment here:

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