Objective—To determine proportions of cats in which feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) was diagnosed on an annual, monthly, and regional basis and identify unique characteristics of cats with FIP.
Sample Population—Records of all feline accessions to veterinary medical teaching hospitals (VMTH) recorded in the Veterinary Medical Data Base between January 1986 and December 1995 and of all feline accessions for necropsy or histologic examination at 4 veterinary diagnostic laboratories.
Procedure—Proportions of total and new feline accessions for which a diagnosis of FIP was recorded were calculated. To identify characteristics of cats with FIP, cats with FIP were compared with the next cat examined at the same institution (control cats).
Results—Approximately 1 of every 200 new feline and 1 of every 300 total feline accessions at VMTH in North America and approximately 1 of every 100 accessions at the diagnostic laboratories represented cats with FIP. Cats with FIP were significantly more likely to be young, purebred, and sexually intact males and significantly less likely to be spayed females and discharged alive than were control cats. The proportion of new accessions for which a diagnosis of FIP was recorded did not vary significantly among years, months, or regions of the country.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that FIP continues to be a clinically important disease in North America and that sexually intact male cats may be at increased risk, and spayed females at reduced risk, for FIP. The high prevalence of FIP and lack of effective treatment emphasizes the importance of preventive programs, especially in catteries. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1111–1115)