Is Primucell FIP Effective for Feline Infectious Peritonitis?

Feline infectious peritonitus (FIP) is a viral infection that affects cats of all age groups. Since the infection is contagious in nature, pet owners should learn about preventive techniques and vaccine protocols available to protect cats from FIP. The FIP infection is caused by a mutation of a strain of the coronavirus. Most cats become infected when they come in contact with contaminated sources. Since the infection is present in cat saliva, healthy pets housed at boarding facilities should have separate food and water bowls and individual housing units. Although some pets have strong immune systems and can fight off the FIP virus, others may become carriers of the disease for life and shed the virus during times of stress.

Cats Highly Susceptible to FIP Include:

  • Pets suffering from feline leukemia virus
  • Pets with weak immune system
  • Cats living in catteries
  • Kittens and older pets

Symptoms and Diagnosis

FIP develops in either the effusive or the non-effusive form. Pets suffering from FIP exhibit signs of fever loss of appetite and weight loss. Some pets may develop nervous system problems, gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation, anemia and respiratory problems. The symptoms exhibited vary according to the severity of viral infection present and the form of FIP that develops. The diagnosis is complex and confirmed after performing a series of tests.

The vet will examine the clinical symptoms of the cat and perform a complete blood count test to determine abnormal amounts of the various components of blood.  Pet owners should inform the vet if the cat was recently lodged at a boarding facility or if the pet was vaccinated for FIP.  A titer test is performed to determine the presence of antibodies to feline coronavirus. However, titer tests aren’t as effective as they fail to differentiate between carriers of FIP and cats currently sick with an active infection. Since FIP cannot be cured and leads to death in several cats it’s important to take preventive measures to combat the infection.

Vaccines for FIP

Although vaccines are recommended for pets of all age and breeds, the FIP vaccine is a non-core vaccine that may be administered to cats at high risk of contracting FIP. The vaccine available for FIP is known as Primucell FIP and is formulated for use in cats over 16 weeks of age.

Primucell FIP

Primucell FIP is manufacture by Pfizer and contains an attenuated strain of FIP virus that protects pets from contracting FIP in the future. The strain of virus is temperature sensitive. Due to this the virus will replicate in the cat’s upper respiratory tract and won’t spread to the cat’s entire body due to body temperature.

Dosage and Administration

The vaccine is administered as an intranasal dose to healthy pets. The first 2 doses are administered 4 weeks apart. An annual booster or revaccination dose is then administered to keep the pet protected.


Since FIP is not recommended for use in all pets, it’s best to discuss with the vet the pros and cons of vaccinating individual cats with Primucell FIP. Some pets may suffer from anaphylaxis and require supportive care and epinephrine administration. Although safe for use in healthy cats, the vaccine shouldn’t be administered to cats with weak immune systems or pets that are carriers of disease.

Some vaccines for other illnesses can be administered by pet owners. Primucell FIP should be administered by the vet to ensure appropriate dosing and supportive care if anaphylaxis occurs. Since the vaccine provides protection only to a certain extent, pet owners should adopt preventive measures to protect cats from viral infections.