Anyone interested in background, this is Chumley's rescue story: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/217397/help-charlie-is-fiv
(We originally called him Charlie, and changed his name. I'm SO glad we did! ).
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: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/224483/chumleys-fiv-health-journal
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.
For now, I am not going to follow the complete protocol ("Bud's 'Second Chance' Lifetime FIV Therapy") recommended in www.FivTherapy.com (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: http://www.fivtherapy.com/bdltimetherapy.htm#Asymptomatic%20Phase
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: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/ubiquinol-coq10.aspx 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 (http://www.worldantiagingstore.com/brands/dr-mulli-pharma/thym-uvocal-thymus-200-mg-90-capsules). 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 (http://www.fivtherapy.com/olive.htm). 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. I started it last night, and found out this morning that Chumley threw up last night. 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 ( http://www.fivtherapy.com/lactoferrin.htm ). 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:
and Alpha Lipoic Acid.
Here is the Little BigCat on antioxidants: http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/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.
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.