Current status on treatment options for feline infectious peritonitis and SARS-CoV-2 positive cats

Vet Q. 2020 Dec;40(1):322-330. doi: 10.1080/01652176.2020.1845917.


Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral-induced, immune-mediated disease of cats caused by virulent biotypes of feline coronaviruses (FCoV), known as the feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV). Historically, three major pharmacological approaches have been employed to treat FIP: (1) immunomodulators to stimulate the patient's immune system non-specifically to reduce the clinical effects of the virus through a robust immune response, (2) immunosuppressive agents to dampen clinical signs temporarily, and (3) re-purposed human antiviral drugs, all of which have been unsuccessful to date in providing reliable efficacious treatment options for FIPV. Recently, antiviral studies investigating the broad-spectrum coronavirus protease inhibitor, GC376, and the adenosine nucleoside analogue GS-441524, have resulted in increased survival rates and clinical cure in many patients. However, prescriber access to these antiviral therapies is currently problematic as they have not yet obtained registration for veterinary use. Consequently, FIP remains challenging to treat. The purpose of this review is to provide an update on the current status of therapeutics for FIP. Additionally, due to interest in coronaviruses resulting from the current human pandemic, this review provides information on domesticated cats identified as SARS-CoV-2 positive.

Keywords: Cat; FIP; SARS-CoV-2; feline; feline infectious peritonitis; feline infectious peritonitis virus; therapeutics; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Cats
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis / drug therapy*
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Pandemics / veterinary*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Viral / veterinary*
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Immunologic Factors

Grants and funding

This project was financially supported by the Winn Feline Foundation, the Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation and the Feline Health Research Fund.