Feline Infectious Peritonitis Resistance
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is an immune-mediated, highly lethal disease caused by feline coronavirus (FCoV) infection. Most deaths from FIP occur in cats 3-16 months of age and are uncommon after 3-5 years. The incidence of FIP is high and ranges from 1:300 to 1:100 cats but is significantly higher among kittens and younger cats originating from pure breed catteries and shelters. An average of 1-5% of young cattery or shelter cats die from Feline Infectious Peritonitis Resistance, with loses in catteries higher than from shelters.
Currently, no protective vaccine or effective treatment for the disease is available. Some cats survive the challenge of virulent FCoV isolates and this protective immunity to FIP is connected to polymorphisms in IFNG gene that codes for interferon-γ, a crucial regulatory cytokine in cell-mediated immunity and is important for the control of intracellular pathogens, the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (fTNFA) gene and two polymorphisms in fCD209 gene that codes for a specific adhesion molecule which affects the binding and infection of feline coronavirus. In addition to variants responsible for increased immunity to FIP, two polymorphisms in fCD209 were associated with increased susceptibility to infection.These protective polymorphisms can be screened by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays.
Genetic testing allows us to detect protective polymorphisms. The combination of only six polymorphisms cannot ensure complete protection from FIP infection, but it can greatly reduce the probability of developing FIP.