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How I am treating Chumley's FIV

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
OK, though there likely won't be many updates, I thought I'd post this so it's here for me, to use as a journal if necessary, and for others with FIV+ kitties, as a reference.

Anyone interested in background, this is Chumley's rescue story:

(We originally called him Charlie, and changed his name. I'm SO glad we did! heart-on.gif ).

This is his journey back to EXCELLENT health, as he was facing GI problems, chronic diarrhea, and itching himself bald in spots when first rescued:

So this is what he looked like when rescued:

And this is what he looked like once his coat was done transitioning, and his health problems were resolved:

He was rescued May 2010. That second picture was taken November 2011.

We transitioned all the cats to raw food in January 2012. He is doing fabulous. I work with feral cats right around our home. Three times now I've brought a virus inside, and most of the other cats were sick for a few days - not Chumley. He had chronic to explosive diarrhea for six months; now he seems to have a cast iron stomach.

So I figured it was time to get more aggressive about doing something to slow down the potential progression of the FIV virus, beyond just the healthiest, least-inflammatory diet possible. rub.gif

For now, I am not going to follow the complete protocol ("Bud's 'Second Chance' Lifetime FIV Therapy") recommended in (the recommendations for when kitty with FIV is asymptomatic), I'm starting with four things, and have or will introduce them slowly.

This is the specific page on Bud's FivTherapy website:

What all of our cats (including Chumley) receive:

1) Prey model raw diet
2) 500mg of salmon or krill oil daily (Pure Alaska Omega Salmon oil; NOW Neptune Krill Oil)
3) at least 300mg of egg yolk lecithin (1/2 capsule Swanson Egg Yolk Lecithin)
4) 10 billion CFU live probiotic (containing L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, and B. Bifidum. Brand: Natural Factors double-strength Acidophilus+Bifidus in goat milk)
5) one egg yolk weekly
6) 1 or 2 sardines weekly
7) I provide a homemade supplement tailored to the raw diet I feed them. It includes a B-complex (Natural Factors Hi-Potency) and vitamin E (both recommended as part of the FIV therapy).

The salmon or krill oil and sardines provide omega 3s which are anti-inflammatory.
The sardines additionally provide vitamin D, which has long been known for its role in bone health, but it is now becoming widely known for its important role in immune system function and regulation, and as an anti-cancer agent.
The lecithin benefits fat digestion; helps prevent hairballs by acting as a fat emulsifier.
Egg yolks provide so many things, but especially choline (helps prevent dementia as cats age; also, a component of choline is acetylcholine, which aids in gastrointestinal motility), vitamin D, and more omega 3s.

Supplements only Chumley is getting or will get because of his FIV, from Bud's FIV therapy for asymptomatic FIV+ cats (above):

1) Ubiquinol. The first FIV-specific supplement we introduced to Chumley is ubiquinol. This is the bioactive form of CoQ10. Here is information from the Mercola website on it: Chumley receives 10mg, 1x per day.

2) Thymus glandular. I'm still searching for the right product, but right now, he receives the Nutricology Immoplex Thymus Glandular. It's from sheep, not cows, and all of the studies were done in cows. The product recommended on Bud's FivTherapy site we can't afford ( But for now, he gets the Nutricology Immoplex Thymus capsule (1,000mg) sprinkled on his food 2x a day. We introduced it slowly to make sure it caused no reaction, and worked up to 2x a day.

3) Olive Leaf, standardized to 15% oleuropein. We JUST began the process of introducing Olive Leaf ( Chumley is VERY not picky about food, but this has a strong flavor and is bitter. He did not eat his food with this stuff sprinkled on it or mixed into it, even with freeze dried liver sprinkled on. I was able to get him to eat it if in part of a pill pocket (butter or cream cheese didn't work), and immediately put a treat of freeze dried liver down, so he swallows what's in his mouth to eat the next treat. smile.gif I started it last night, and found out this morning that Chumley threw up last night. frown.gif Chumley NEVER throws up, so I don't know whether it was the olive leaf, or the pill pocket stuff. As he ate the pill pocket stuff for about a year, I doubt it was that (even though it's been longer than a year since he had it). I'll start over again tomorrow. The pet product, Vetri-Science Oli-Vet has rice flour in it, but it's 250mg. I also purchased Swanson Olive Leaf Extract, 500mg. The FIV therapy site recommends 1x or 2x a day - which is 250mg or 500mg. I gave him the 250mg yesterday. I'm letting his tummy settle, and we'll try again tomorrow morning to see if that was the problem. Gary and I will take the 500mg in the meantime, but ultimately I may give Chumley one 500mg capsule daily. This is one I will probably rotate, most likely one month on, one month off.

4) Lactoferrin ( ). I ordered the Jarrow 250mg product, because it wasn't crazy expensive with other stuff in it. The recommended dose is 40mg of lactoferrin per kg of cat. Chum weighs about 14 pounds, so that's about 250mg daily. I will wait until the olive leaf is introduced - unless that continues to go poorly. Haven't decided how frequently this will be given or whether we'll rotate it. We may provide olive leaf and lactoferrin alternately each month.

Bud's Asymptomatic protocol also calls for:

Vitamin C
Methylated B-12
and Alpha Lipoic Acid.

Here is the Little BigCat on antioxidants:

Chumley does not appear to be having any digestive issues, and eats a diet high in B vitamins. I don't see the need for the methylated B-12 at this point. We may consider Vitamin C rotated once he's been on the supplements we have decided to use; but the raw diet already targets a urine pH of about 6.5, and I worry about oxalate stones should vitamin C lower the urine pH further. I would not be able to test Chumley's pee the way our boxes are set up and the way he pees in the boxes.

As to L-carnitine, Chumley eats a raw diet with a number of red meat meals, so I see no need to supplement as he gets it in a natural form.

Alpha Lipoic Acid is toxic to cats, as noted by Dr. Hofve on Little BigCat. She has a recommended maximum dose of 15mg IF someone is going to use it, but for now I'm comfortable using the ubiquinol instead of the Alpha Lipoic Acid.

The Zinc we will avoid, as it is known to be toxic to cats. Don't need Chumley never becoming symptomatic with FIV only to suffer kidney failure at a young age. rolleyes.gif

The pred... It's been shown to help with HIV, but I'd prefer to stick with natural supplements.

Basically, we're sticking with the most potent natural supplements to help regulate his immune system in a manner beneficial for a cat with FIV, but using those that have the fewest known potential side-effects.
post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 
Tonight I fed him a small piece of pill pocket (the amount I would use to wrap the olive leaf capsule). We'll see what happens. cross.gif
post #3 of 21
I'll be keeping an eye on this thread. I usually have to read things about supplements a few times before they make sense in my brain, so I am glad you are going to record Chumley's progress here.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
agree.gif I also figure it's most helpful if I put the links to the "why" and include info about the brand I'm using and the dosage.

Well, whatever bothered Chumley the night before, it wasn't the pill pocket. I fed him the same amount of empty pill pocket last night after the meal as IF I was going to give him the Olive Leaf capsule. Put the treat down. He didn't want to eat the empty piece of pill pocket. laughing02.gif I rolled it in FD liver powder. He ate it. No vomit last night.

So either it was a coincidence, or the olive leaf capsule made him throw up. I'm going to try the olive leaf again tomorrow morning.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well, the Lactoferrin showed up. So I'm introducing that, because it's easier. laughing02.gif This I just sprinkle on his food and he eats it. I added it to the AM meal with the probtiotics, and so far so good. smile.gif
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Lactoferrin doesn't seem like it's going to be any issue for Chumley at all. smile.gif I'll give it a week or so, and try the olive leaf again.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
I need to update this thread.

I still haven't reintroduced the olive leaf. It's so darn bitter, I just haven't bothered to figure out how to get it into him. anon.gif

I've decided to "pulse" the lactoferrin and the ubiquinol, rather than give them all the time. We do two weeks "on," two weeks "off." I alternate between the two.

I've switched probiotics. I used to use Natural Factors acidophilus+bifidus in goat milk (double strength, 10 billion CFU). It is basically acidophilus, rhamnosus, and bifidobacterium. I've switched to the Nexabiotic 20 strain. The human dose is two capsules, 30 billion CFU. It has those strains - and obviously more. I switched because it includes S. boulardii. S. boulardii is active against clostridium strains and coccidia - both potential common problems in raw meat, which is what I feed the cats. The acidophiuls and Bifidobacterium are active against salmonella and e. coli - so including the S. boulardii provides better "coverage" against potential nasties. I give this every day, twice a day, 1/2 capsule, which totals 15 billion CFU. When first on probiotics, Chum got 10 billion 2x a day, and this isn't causing any poop or tummy problems, so I'm sticking with this for him. For the other cats, I may give them just 1/4 capsule. It's just easier to measure out a half cap though. laughing02.gif

Oh - why 2x a day with the new probiotic? Because S. boulardii is not a traditional probiotic. It is yeast-based, and does not colonize the gut. So it has to be given on a regular basis to provide the benefit. Thus the 1/2 cap 2x a day instead of a full cap once a day.
post #8 of 21
Thanks for the follow up Laurie.
post #9 of 21

Thanks LDG, where did you get the lactoferrin? That is one of the main things I wanted to still get for my FIV kits, if I remember correctly. I may have something on my amazon wish list lol. I've been using the 2docs antioxidant and the 2docs allergy pills alternatively. along with l-lysine as it is an important interruptor for virus action. But I haven't added more. With Roxie, the new FIV kitty, it would be good to add stuff to help her teeth and Curly's too, as he always makes dry-mouth noises when he eats, and she seems to have some mouth issues (it looks like she has had teeth extracted)

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
I ordered Jarrow 250mg lactoferrin from Amazon. The recommended dose is 40mg per kg of cat. I think it would be palatable for most cats, so it's easy to just sprinkle on some food. In fact, when I forget to put it on food, Chum just licks it out of the bowl if I dump the capsule in there. laughing02.gif

I confirmed with Jarrow that their product is bovine lactoferrin. Many of the lactoferrin supplements are made from transgenic rice. rolleyes.gif
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
OK, another update. laughing02.gif

Since all of my kitties are older, everyone gets the CoQ10 daily two weeks on / two weeks off.

I give all of the cats lactoferrin daily (250mg), split into 1/2 a capsule in the AM and 1/2 a capsule in the PM.

Chumley gets the Nutricology Immoplex thymus capsule sprinkled on his food daily, and two weeks on / two weeks off he gets it 2x a day.

I give all of the cats a combination of the Natural Factors double-strength acidophilus+bifidus AND the Nexabiotic 20-strain. Each gets 1/2 a capsule of the Natural Factors AM and PM, and I split one Nexabiotic capsule between 4 of them (1/4 capsule) 2x a day.

I'm not going to worry about giving Chumley the Olive Leaf extract.
post #12 of 21

Thank you for that information! I just recently read about this drug and am wondering if you have tried it or if you have any information or know anyone who has used it. Forgive me if it is already covered in this thread. I am just hopping on here after being out of town this last weekend augh.


I still have to get lactoferrin for Curly and Roxie. Also I had been giving them the allergy pills which had anti-inflammatory properties along with vitamin c, and also was giving them l-lysine, but I stopped when I began feeding them with all my other kitties. Now I have to get back into some sort of routine for them both. So thank you for this information!

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Barb, it seems T-cyte is best used when a kitty is showing symptoms:
Note: Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator (LTCI), an injectable product now marketed by T-Cyte Therapeutics (, received a conditional license by the Center for Veterinary Biologics (APHIS) as an FeLV/FIV treatment aid in December, 2006, with renewal in 2009. Imulan Inc., the applicant, for a time formed a distribution alliance with ProLabs, Inc. The drug manufacturer, T-Cyte Therapeutics, evidently associated with Dr. Terry Beardsley, the developer, recently became the distribution arm in the U.S. and cites availability “abroad” through Masters Pharmaceuticals Ltd in the UK. The parent product of LTCI is derived from cloned thymic stromal cell lines that normally produce it in humans and other animals. The same drug has been variously called Epithyme and TISF [T Cell Immune Stimulating Factor] and is available in a sublingual version as ProBoost Thymic. All are incarnations of a Thymic Protein A isolated and developed by Dr. Beardsley in the 1980's. TPA is a peptide that, according to Beardsley and researchers associated with Imulan, (1) encourages maturing of CD4+ T lymphocytes in the thymus that might otherwise be inhibited by disease; (2) stimulates production of Interleuken-2 (IL-2), sometimes called T Cell Growth factor, which "primes" clonal expansion at sites where they are needed and where they can enable CD8+ cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTLs) to perform their function of killing infected cells; (3) induces “apoptosis” (spontaneous cell death) in virally infected cells and reduces viral load; and (4) is broadly hematopoietic, producing increases in other major cell groups besides lymphocytes, including red cells and platelets. Several studies in FIV+ cats have shown clinical benefit for symptomatic cats with significant decline in viral load and increase in bone marrow cell production. Suggested treatment protocol is injections weekly (1cc subcutaneous) for four weeks, every other week during the second month, and monthly or as needed after that.

(Bold, my emphasis).

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
If you can afford it, I think you're better off using the thymus product recommended on Bud's FivTherapy site for kitties that are still asymptomatic:

We can't afford it, so use the thymus glandular supplement.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Time for an update.

Chumley continues to thrive!

He continues to get:

Jarrow lactoferrin - one capsule (250mg) split into two doses, given AM and PM
Nexabiotic probiotic - one capsule split into two doses, given AM and PM
20mg of Ubiquinol (bioactive form of CoQ10) once a day which I now give every 2 or 3 days instead of daily two weeks on/ two weeks off
250mg of lysine AM and PM daily
1 capsule of the Nutricology thymus daily, and every two weeks, twice a day.

And I've added 1/8th capsule of capsule of Doctor's Best standardized curcumin C3 complex (500mg per capsule) 2x a day (AM and PM). This is anti-inflammatory. I was using it for Flowerbelle's asthma, and added it to Pawley's diet for his arthritis, and it clearly has very strong anti-inflammatory properties without the immune suppression of steroids. It is discussed in Bud's therapy on As Chum always needs teeth pulled at his annual dentals, and usually has signs of gingivitis, we'll see if this helps with his mouth issues.

Oh - and all the cats get 500mg of omega 3s in the form of either Pure Alaska Omega salmon oil or NOW krill oil. This is also anti-inflammatory, and I think should be part of any FIV cat's supplements. (I think it should be a part of ANY cat's supplements, really). I can't afford to give them all krill oil, or I'd use that for all of them. Chum gets the salmon oil, as he eats food with that squished onto it, and he doesn't like the krill. The krill IS more bioavailable. I know this because I used the salmon oil for Flowerbelle's arthritis, and it made no difference to her mobility. The krill oil has her jumping around (long before adding the curcumin to her supplement list).
post #16 of 21

Excellent to hear that Chumley is thriving! Although, I had no doubt with him being in your care and all.  ;)

post #17 of 21
LDG Veterans -I am desperate to get my FIV cat, Bodhi, on natural remedies as I can't afford the vet prices. He is getting wet food with water as regualr food huts his mouth. I don't have the money to have his teeth pulled.How much do you spend? What would the bare bones list look like? Thanks, Linda Struble
post #18 of 21

Thanks for the update. I have two semi healthy FIV's in my 8 cat household and this helps.

post #19 of 21
Originally Posted by KittyLoverInPDX View Post

LDG Veterans -I am desperate to get my FIV cat, Bodhi, on natural remedies as I can't afford the vet prices. He is getting wet food with water as regualr food huts his mouth. I don't have the money to have his teeth pulled.How much do you spend? What would the bare bones list look like? Thanks, Linda Struble

If you want to get in touch with LDG, you either need to pm her, or do this: @LDG 


Now that I've done that, hopefully she will see this and respond to you via this thread.  Good luck with Bodhi and Thank you for caring for him.

post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by KittyLoverInPDX View Post

LDG Veterans -I am desperate to get my FIV cat, Bodhi, on natural remedies as I can't afford the vet prices. He is getting wet food with water as regualr food huts his mouth. I don't have the money to have his teeth pulled.How much do you spend? What would the bare bones list look like? Thanks, Linda Struble

@KittyLoverInPDX, unfortunately, there really aren't any natural remedies that help with stomatitis. There is a vet clinic in TX that has a "cocktail" of meds that sometimes helps, sometimes doesn't, but it isn't cheap. My Chumley doesn' t have stomatitis, and I get him regular dentals to manage his dental issues. He usually needs 1 or 2 teeth pulled at each dental, which I have done about every 9 months now.

A TCS member, Carolina, had stomatitis reverse in her cat Bugsy when she switched to a raw diet - but she did have the bad teeth removed. It's possible Chumley didn't develop stomatitis because I feed him a raw diet - he does have dental disease and gingivitis. You could try a curcumin supplement, like NOW Curcubrain, use half the capsule daily for a month or so - if that doesn't help, bump it to half the capsule 2x a day and see if that works - but you don't want to go over that, it can be toxic at certain levels. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It will work better if given along with an omega 3, 500mg of a salmon oil supplement daily could help, and would increase the likelihood the curcumin would help.

Yes, stomatitis is a crazy painful condition. frown.gif I would recommend applying for Care Credit and finding a feline dentist that takes it (probably most of them). Or I would talk to the clinic about working out a payment plan if they can. But without ANY treatment, your cat is in significant pain, and there aren't natural remedies that are going to help. frown.gif

@mrsgreenjeens I don't get ANY notifications. TCS has worked to figure out why, but we haven't. So tags don't work! The only way to draw my attention to a specific thread is to message me with a link.
post #21 of 21
Hi, I recently brought in a FiV+ cat. I feed my own cats raw and I was torn whether I should put him on raw as well after doing some research on whether raw diet will be suitable. I ended up going for it as his WBC is in the normal range with the thought that he will be able to fight off infection. Should there be other considerations?
Also, he suffers from constipation. I brought him various vets but none can tell me what the cause could be (e.g. megacolon). It seems like his poop volume is relatively more compared to my own cats. We administer a coconut oil enema if he doesn't poop by the third day.
Just this week we noticed that he has bald and raw patches on his back and head. I plan to bring him to the vet to diagnose what the skin problem could be but does anyone have a natural remedy for skin problems? I'm afraid the vet will just prescribe antibiotics and steroids.
He's currently on Vit B12 (he had anemia but RBC is up now), coconut oil and probiotics for the constipation. I've ordered digestive enzymes with the hope that it'll help with absorption and reduce poop volume. He's going to start taking fish oil and I'm sourcing for colostrum to boost immunity.
Any advice or pointers will be appreciated!
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