Vets on Sunday made a final appeal to the government to buy medicines to treat Feline Infectious Peritonitis – FIP – otherwise known as cat Covid – a disease currently killing off large numbers of pets.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, vice president of the Cyprus Vets Association Demetris Epamenondas said it is trying to bring two products known to act against the disease, which is on the increase.

It is estimated that one third of cat deaths on the island are due to the disease.

Two medications used to treat Covid can also be effective against FIP, he said – remdesivir and molnupiravir.Two applications have been made to the Veterinary Medicinal Products Council, one of which has been cuccessful, he said.This is for a product from the UK that costs €500 a packet, meaning to treat an average cat for 90 days would cost €2-5,000.

The second application was to import a drug for humans from India, but this was rejected. The cost of using this would be around €120 per cat, he added.

But as it is a human drug, the council said there was no legal basis for its import to Cyprus.

“As veterinarians, we considered this formulation important because it would make treatment of FIP accessible to all. It would be available through veterinary clinics so the state would collect money through VAT,” Epamenondas said.

He said this would also allow the government to check the circulation of animal drugs, as those in use at the moment come from the black market from dubious sources. “The situation is not controlled at the moment,” he added.

For this reason, he said, the government should take a second look at approving the import of the drug from India.

This should be done so no more cats die, Epamenondas said.

The Vetinary Association has also called on the minister of agriculture to have an emergency meeting with them to discuss the issue.

“We have no right to let this develop as it does. It has to stop,” he said.