News and Updates

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Dear MVP customers and our community,
As new and committed owners of Most Valuable Pets, we would like to state our position as it pertains to a recent customer incident. With over 20 years of combined business ownership experience and a deep passion for animals, our vision for Most Valuable Pets is to maintain a community hub where pet enthusiasts can come together to share their unique bond and love for animals. We have implemented several positive changes and additions to enhance the customer experience and remain dedicated to providing a wide selection of high-quality pets, products, and services.
This summer, two kittens that were sold from our store later became ill and were ultimately humanely euthanized with the suspicion of a fatal disease called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). A mutation of the Feline Coronavirus causes FIP and is very difficult to predict.
Feline Coronavirus is so common in cats that almost every cat is exposed to it at a very young age, even under the best of circumstances. In one article from Niels C. Pedersen, DVM, PhD of UC Davis, it was noted that even if a facility were to somehow remain free from coronavirus, the animals would be exposed soon after they left the facility under natural circumstances. Once exposed, most cats clear the virus without issue, often showing minimal to no signs of illness. However, 5% of those exposed have the potential to mutate the virus into FIP. The symptoms of this disease are initially vague until it reaches the final stages and even then, the disease can be very difficult to diagnose.
Any time a sick young cat under five years of age with a fever and weight loss is examined by a responsible veterinarian, the topic of FIP is going to be approached, and diagnostics are going to be recommended to help narrow down the diagnosis. While testing such as bloodwork, fluid analysis, ultrasound, etc., is beneficial for helping to piece together the diagnosis, it can still be very challenging. In some cases, the bloodwork and clinical presentation are obvious; in other cases, patients may only have one symptom, which can overlap with other disease processes. Unfortunately, in many cases, an accurate diagnosis cannot be determined without tissue biopsies or a necropsy – this is the term used for an autopsy in deceased animals.
FIP is a devastating disease, and we do not wish this for anyone who purchases/adopts any animal from any breeder or establishment. However, there is currently no screening tool or diagnostic test to determine a kitten’s likelihood of mutating the virus. Purebred cats are more susceptible and factors like environment, stress, and heavily populated living spaces play a role. These are things that all potential pet parents should understand before adopting a cat, even when adopting from an animal shelter.
At Most Valuable Pets, we inspect and conduct screening of all puppies and kittens prior to offering them for adoption. In the case of the kittens that became ill, both parents and the kittens were examined multiple times, and all typical screening tests were performed to ensure they were healthy before entering the store. Care was taken to ensure the environment was cleaned daily and the kittens were not densely populated with other cats. Our goal is for all puppies and kittens to be healthy at the time of sale so they can have a long, happy life with their new owners.
Our Health Guarantee is designed to protect new pet owners with very specific criteria that need to be followed. For one, it is imperative that all puppies and kittens purchased from our store are examined by a veterinarian within the first seven days – this ensures a smooth transition to their new home and gives the new pet parent an advocate for their pet’s individual health. Past that point, a myriad of scenarios can occur that could lead to exposure to diseases beyond our control. For example, a puppy may be exposed to Parvovirus, or a kitten may be exposed to Coronavirus long after they leave the store. This is why our Health Guarantee has specific criteria for confirming a definitive diagnosis, including necropsy, so that we can determine whether disease or congenital abnormality was present before sale as, unfortunately, there are issues that cannot be detected by physical exam alone and may not show symptoms for several weeks. For example, a Portosystemic Shunt is a congenital defect that may not show symptoms for several weeks. However, this can be confirmed via ultrasound and is specifically addressed in the Health Guarantee. Confirmatory testing also helps us make decisions about whether we continue to work with specific breeders if issues arise.
Regarding the most recent cases, the two kittens were examined by our veterinarian and appeared to be outwardly healthy at the time of sale. Both kittens were in the custody of their new owners for several months before any symptoms appeared. While this certainly can happen with FIP, we were unable to get a definitive diagnosis because we were not made aware that the kittens were sick until after they had already been euthanized and a necropsy was not performed in either case. In the first case, diagnostics were not performed, so unfortunately, we cannot confirm the kittens died from the same issue.
We urge the public to understand that we care very much about these animals and do not wish any pet owner to experience this. We encourage future clients to contact us if their pet becomes ill so we can explain what diagnostics are needed to qualify for a full refund with our Health Guarantee and understand the criteria. We also urge the public to understand that there are two sides to every story, and opinions are currently being shared on social media without knowing all the facts regarding the two situations. We are taking this situation very seriously and will continue to make improvements to ensure the health of our animals.
By fostering a knowledgeable and friendly staff and exploring innovative ways to engage with our community, we are dedicated to providing a place where all pets and their owners feel welcome and confident with their purchase.
Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to serving you and your furry, feathery, or scaly friends.
Most Valuable Pets