Objectives: The objectives of this study were to review signalment, clinical signs and laboratory features in a large number of naturally occurring cases of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and to evaluate potential changes in diagnostic criteria for FIP and compare findings in cats with and without effusion.
Methods: The medical records of 231 cats with confirmed FIP that presented to the Clinic of Small Animal Medicine of the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, were reviewed for signalment, history, and clinical and laboratory parameters. Age, sex and breed distribution of the cats were compared with the clinic population.
Results: Male sex and young age were significantly correlated with FIP. Neutering status was not associated with FIP. No breed predisposition was observed and the majority of cats presented were domestic shorthair and mixed breed. Microcytosis of peripheral erythrocytes was found in 35.1% of cats, of which 42.4% did not have concurrent anaemia. Band neutrophilia was documented in 44.3% (81/183), of which 35.8% did not have mature neutrophilia. Lymphopenia, observed significantly more often with effusion, was documented in only 26.8% of cats without effusion. Hyperbilirubinaemia also occurred significantly more often in cats with vs without effusion. While serum total protein was increased in only 17.5% of cats, hyperglobulinaemia was documented in 89.1%. Nearly 85.0% of cats had an albumin-to-globulin (A:G) ratio <0.8, while 67.8% had an A:G ratio <0.6.
Conclusions and relevance: Microcytosis was common and can increase suspicion of FIP in the presence of other typical clinical and laboratory abnormalities. The low prevalence of lymphopenia in cats without effusion suggests that this is not a useful parameter in non-effusive FIP. The frequent occurrence of a left shift in the absence of a mature neutrophilia complicates the differentiation of effusive FIP and septic peritonitis. Globulins and A:G ratio were of higher diagnostic value than hyperproteinaemia.
© ISFM and AAFP 2015.