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Vet Rec. 1991 Sep 7;129(10):209-12.

Feline infectious peritonitis: a review of clinicopathological changes in 65 cases, and a critical assessment of their diagnostic value.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bristol, Avon.


In 65 natural cases of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) the common clinicopathological changes included lymphopenia (77 per cent), neutrophilia (45 per cent), anaemia (37 per cent), hyperproteinaemia (39 per cent) and hyperglobulinaemia (39 per cent). There was no difference in the frequency of these abnormalities between the 38 cases of effusive disease and the 27 cases of non-effusive disease. The most consistent changes shown by serum protein electrophoresis were increases in alpha 2- and gamma-globulins. The protein content of the effusions ranged from 39 to 98 g/litre with the globulins comprising 50 to 82 per cent. Coronavirus serology showed a wide variation in antibody titres (0 to 2560) with 320 the modal titre. The diagnostic value of this information was evaluated by comparing it with data from 65 cats in which FIP was considered as a differential diagnosis, but another disease was diagnosed. None of the laboratory tests, including coronavirus serology, had good sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of the disease. The presence of multiple abnormalities compatible with the disease increased the specificity but decreased the sensitivity of the diagnosis.

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