13 July 2023
The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA) recently organised a highly successful webinar focused on the challenges and opportunities associated with the treatment of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). The event brought together a diverse range of participants, including scientists, practitioners, competent authorities, pharmaceutical industry and policymakers.
Thierry Chambon, FVE Past Vice-President, warmly welcomed the 150 participants and shared his very personal experience of the burden and dilemma posed by FIP. This debilitating disease has historically presented a grim prognosis for affected cats, often necessitating euthanasia within a matter of days. However, recent groundbreaking research allowed the development of new treatment options which allow successful treatment of this once-lethal condition.
The primary objectives of this webinar were to raise awareness about FIP, disseminate the latest research findings and breakthroughs, explore potential solutions for legal constraints, and foster an open-minded environment for discussion.
FIP is caused by a mutation of the commonly seen feline coronavirus (FCoV) and until recently, cats either succumbed to the disease or had to be euthanised shortly after the onset. Very promising research results offer much hope as new drugs can effectively cure this previously lethal disease. Unfortunately, most countries do not allow a legal option for veterinarians to use these new effective treatment options. This poses a significant dilemma for veterinarians and owners, as they are aware of the existence of an effective treatment that remains out of reach. In response, FVE and FECAVA gathered data from several EU and non-EU countries regarding the availability of FIP treatments. Both organisations have actively advocated in a joint letter to the Heads of Medicines Agency (HMA), urging the release of a small quantity of the medicine Remdesivir, known as Veklury in the market, to be made accessible to veterinarians.
Today, more than ever, the reconsideration and re-evaluation of FIP treatment options are at the forefront of everyone’s agenda. For over 40 years, veterinary researchers have dedicated their efforts to studying FIP, and the recent joint webinar concluded with three clear recommendations.
Firstly, it is crucial to monitor FIP prevalence at both national and European levels, particularly in countries experiencing an increase in cases. By closely tracking the spread of the disease, we can better understand its impact and implement timely interventions.
Secondly, FVE and FECAVA strongly advocate for increased research efforts to develop effective vaccines against FIP.
Lastly, we urge policymakers to provide veterinarians with a legal option to treat FIP-affected cats e.g., allowing them to use either Remdesivir or GS-441524. It is essential that owners no longer feel compelled to turn to the illegal market in their desperate search for life-saving treatments for their beloved pets.
By implementing these recommendations, we can make significant strides in combating FIP and providing hope to both veterinarians and owners facing the challenges of this devastating disease.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) is the umbrella organization for veterinary organisations from 38 countries FVE represents veterinary professionals in Europe, working towards the advancement of animal health, welfare, and public health. With a focus on promoting the highest standards of veterinary care, FVE engages in advocacy, education, and collaboration with various stakeholders to shape policies and drive positive change in veterinary practice across Europe.
- The Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA) is the umbrella organisation for companion animal veterinarians in 39 European countries and the leading European organization dedicated to representing and supporting companion animal veterinarians. FECAVA aims to foster the highest standards of care and well-being for companion animals through education, professional development, and advocacy. By collaborating with national associations, FECAVA actively promotes the exchange of knowledge and expertise to benefit veterinary professionals and the animals under their care.