by Tom Hapka
I just wanted to share with you the information which my family has obtained during the past year from various books, homeopathic vets, and from the personal experience of caring for our own FIV+ cat.
Last summer on June 10, our now 16 year old cat was diagnosed with full blown Feline AIDS. (*NOTE: I should clarify that full blown Feline AIDS refers to the point when the infected cat begins to show symptoms. It is a term used by many homeopathic vets and some medical vets. However, depending on which doctor you go to, they may tell you there is no such thing.)
Jac had been suffering from repeated upper respiratory infections, a loss of appetite, stiffening in his joints and subsequent difficulty walking, overall loss of strength, severe loss of hair (it was coming out in chunks much like the hair of someone being treated for cancer), pussy drainage from both eyes, and more. According to the doctor who did his bloodwork, he was in grave condition and probably just a matter of days or weeks from death.
Medical vets have had virtually no success in treating this disease. Cats with full blown Feline AIDS have an average life expectancy of no more than 6 months to a year. By contrast, homeopathic vets have been quite successful in treating animals who were literally on their death beds and restoring them to a degree of health sufficient to allow for a very high quality of life.
Homeopathic vets can be hard to find and are also highly expensive. I don't have any fantastic advice on how to locate one. Further, we went to one such vet who was not of much help with Jac before we found two others each of whom had some highly helpful suggestions.
What follows is a summary of everything we have learned through trial and error, as well as the information shared with us by the above mentioned vets.
Cats faced with Feline AIDS have two fundamental problems:
The best weapon to combat these problems IS NOT massive doses of anti-biotics, massive doses of steroids, AZT, or vaccinations. These are the single worst things you can do for an FIV+ cat, and are potentially fatal for a cat with full blown AIDS.
The very best strategy against this disease is long term nutritional support.
I won't even try to address diet. I am not a nutritionist, and I also realize that most cats have a set dietary routine. It is better to keep your cat eating regularly than to have them stop eating altogether because you have suddenly begun feeding them a highly nutritional food which tastes like garbage! It is vital to keep them eating.
What we were forced to do with Jac was to develop a "sports-drink" of sorts which contained all of his suppliments. He receives this formula four times per day via a syringe (with the needle removed!). We simply squirt it down his throat. Each dose is approximately 6 CC's.
The recipie for Jac's drink is as follows (NOTE: Each animal is different. You may have to try variations to find what your cat can tolerate best. If your cat is not a milk-drinker, the formula can be altered appropriately).
1 can vanilla flavored ENSURE PLUS (must be vanilla!) 15,000 to 20,000 mg of buffered vitamin C 15,000 to 20,000 mg of Bone Meal Vitamin E 400 (20 capsules) Beta Carotene (25 capsules) Parsley Capsules (8 capsules) Garlic Capsules (3 capsules) Acidophilus (8 teaspoons) Liquid Chlorophyll (3 teaspoons)
Here's the new milkshake mixture we have Jac on now:
Ester-C (powder form only!!!) 8,000 - 10,000 mg Bone Meal (powder only!!!!) 8,000 - 10,000 mg Acidophilus (powder only!!) * does varries depending on the strength of the formula you buy (the last batch we purchased had 2 billion live cultures per teaspoon and we put 5 teaspoons in Jac's shake Beta Carrotene 8 to 10 capsules Parsley 3 to 5 capsules Garlic 1 to 2 capsules Vitamin E 8 to 10 capsules Brewers Yeast 8 to 10 tablets
Since Jac does not appear to have a dairy problem, we also put in 1 cup of water, 1 cup of milk, and 3 scoops of Bryers Vanilla Ice cream.
All of these ingredients are mixed together in the blender, It usually takes about 10 minutes to break these down into a liquefied state. If it appears to thick, I usually add a little water. If your cat can't/doesn't drink milk you can leave out the Ensure Plus and mix all of this in water instead. You should make a new batch every 7 to 10 days (this stuff can go bad just like milk).
All of these ingredients are vital, but vitamin c, bone meal, and acidophilus are the most essential. Vitamin C can be tricky because you will have to find your cat's bowel tolerance (the point where diarrhea begins, at which time you reduce the vitamin c until the stool is a little better formed).
If your cat develops an upper respiratory infection, herbs such as echinacea and golden seal can be added to this drink (they are herbal anti-biotics). However, if your cat doesn't recover, it may be necessary to use standard anti-biotics from your medical vet. If this happens, be sure to give your cat extra acidophilus (this helps replace the good bacteria in the intestinal tract which anitbiotics generally destroy).
On the subject of vaccinations, you should never, NEVER vaccinate a cat with full blown AIDS. At this point, the immune system is all but destroyed, and the vaccination will only help kill them faster. As for FIV+ ctas, that's a judgement call. Most homeopathic vets I have spoken with or read about recommend against it (if you have a homeopathic vet, this is something you should discuss with them).
There is an excellent book on the market (actually there are multiple versions of it) called "The Natural Remedy Book For Dogs & Cats" by Diane Stein. ISBN 0-89594-686-6. It contains so much information that it might be overwhelming at first. What I like about it so much is the fact that it has a couple sections which spell out in simple terms exactly what the various vitamins, minerals and herbs are used for and how they work.
Oh!!!! I almost forgot. When you buy the suppliments for your cat, it is best to buy them at a health food store. The ones you see at Wal-Mart and many local grocery stores have shamefully high amounts of artificial binders, fillers, etc., many of which are harmful if not outright toxic to cats with Feline AIDS.
This is the best summary I can offer. We have received so much info on this disease during the past year that it isn't possible to list it all. The book I listed above is a fantastic place to start.
Even if your cat isn't showing symptoms yet, the suppliments I mentioned should be started anyway. If you want to take the cautious approach and start giving them the suppliments 1 at a time to see how they do, I would recommend starting with buffered Vitamin C, then Bone Meal, then acidophilus, then garlic.
Buffered Vitamin C: It is important to use a buffered suppliment so you don't irritate the stomach. NOW makes an "Ester-C" in a porder form which is excellent in this regard. As Diane Stein explains in the book, vitamin C boosts the immune system, kills many germs and bacteria, and help to retard the progression of even lethal diseases like cancer and AIDS.
Bone Meal: FIV literally sucks the calcium from the bones of FIV+ cats. Even before they start showing symptoms!!! This eventually makes them become frail (hence the scrawny look so many FIV cats have), and it also weakens their immune system -- big time!!!!!!! Bone Meal is made from crushed cattle bones and has been clinically proven to help even the sickest FIV+ cats recover substantial bone mass and regnerate their immune systems.
Acidophilus: FIV destroys the healthy bacteria normally found in the colon (anit-biotics kill these also!). Without these ctas are only that muc more vulnerable to upper respiratory infections and other problems. Acidophilus suppliments are great for helping to restore the normal bacterial balance. Buy the highest yield acidophilus you can find (powder forms are best) -- the label will usually say soemthing like "5 billion live cultures at the time of packaging."
Garlis: Read Diane Stein!!! Garlic is nothing short of a miracle herb which kills germs, bacteria, and helps the body repel diseases like AIDS & cancer.
** I forgot to mention that when making the drink I talked about last night, it help whenever possible to remove the suppliments from their capsules (just do it over the blender).. The capsules are harmless, but when all the suppliments go into the blender still contained within their capsules, the capsules dissolve into a thick, gummy film which causes the drink to get really thick and sticky. If that should happen to you, just liquefy the mixture on the blender again with a bit of water I just thought I'd mention that.
I'd be happy to talk with anyone who is in this tough position of having an FIV+ cat.
Tom Hapka (firstname.lastname@example.org)
P.S. Jac didn't die! He recovered, regained his coat, original body weight, and currently has an energy level and quality of life of a healthy cat his age.