Little Can Be Done to Prevent Cat Virus

Ericson, a practicing Orange County veterinarian, is immediate past president of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn

Q: Last week, we had to put our 3-year-old mixed-breed cat, Sugar, to sleep after he started losing a lot of weight and became very sick. Our veterinarian did some blood tests and diagnosed FIP, which he said was caused by a virus. Why didn’t the vaccinations protect him? Was there something else we could have done to prevent this infection?

Mrs. L. O’Neil,

Villa Park

A: Unfortunately, the loss of your cat to FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) is compounded by the fact that there is little that you could do to have prevented this disease from occurring. The FIP virus is spread through contact (from fighting or through exposure) with infected cats. Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccination available to prevent this disease.


If you are planning to get another kitten, completely clean areas that your cat frequented, purchase new feeding bowls and litter box and dispose of old toys.

Q: Is it necessary to keep a sweater on a small dog when the weather turns cold? Our little Pekingese starts to shiver when we go for walk at night when it is cold. We bought her a sweater and she seems to like it. We were told by friends that it didn’t make any difference.

A Reader, Orange

A: When the temperature really drops or the weather becomes damp, adding a sweater to keep your pet warm when you go for walks is probably a good idea. This is particularly true for dogs kept primarily indoors and if they have short coats. One note of caution: Exercise will increase the body temperature and a restrictive amount of clothing may cause your pet to overheat.