Randomized, placebo controlled study of the effect of propentofylline on survival time and quality of life of cats with feline infectious peritonitis

J Vet Intern Med. Nov-Dec 2011;25(6):1270-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2011.00806.x. Epub 2011 Oct 12.


Background: Currently there is no drug proven to effectively treat cats with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).

Hypothesis: Propentofylline (PPF) can decrease vasculitis, and therefore prolong survival time in cats with FIP, and increase their quality of life.

Animals: Twenty-three privately owned cats with FIP.

Methods: Placebo-controlled double-blind trial. FIP was confirmed by histology or immunostaining of feline coronavirus (FCoV) antigen in effusion or tissue macrophages or both. The cats were randomly selected for treatment with either PPF or placebo. All cats received additional treatment with glucocorticoids, antibiotics, and low molecular weight heparin according to methods.

Results: There was no statistically significant difference in the survival time of cats treated with PPF (8 days, 95% CI 5.4-10.6) versus placebo (7.5 days, 95% CI 4.4-9.6). The median survival time of all cats was 8 days (4-36 days). There was neither a difference in quality of life (day 7, P = .892), in the amount of effusion (day 7, P = .710), the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) concentration (day 7, P = .355), nor in any other variable investigated in this study, including a complete blood count, and a small animal biochemistry profile.

Conclusions and clinical importance: This study did not detect an effect of PPF on the survival time, the quality of life, or any clinical or laboratory parameter in cats with FIP. Therefore, PPF does not appear to be an effective treatment option in cats with a late stage of the disease FIP.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cats
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis / blood
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis / drug therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Xanthines / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Ulcer Agents
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Xanthines
  • propentofylline