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FIV-related infection or New Home stress?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone,


I'm new here so bear with me if my question isn't totally in the correct format. 


I just adopted a wonderful male cat, 3-4 years old, from a shelter in a town nearby. He is FIV positive, which I knew when adopting him because I did a LOT of research online about it and felt that the benefits outweighed the risks, and that he was SUCH an awesome cat that I shouldn't let something that would probably not for years, if ever, majorly affect him affect my decision to adopt him. I have been very pleased with him since.


However, practically overnight (it's only been about 5 days since I've had him home) he got a pretty bad eye infection. I took him to the vet and they prescribed an eye ointment and an antibiotic, as well as some l-lysine supplements and probiotics to help with the antibiotic-induced potential GI problems. Great, no problem.


My question is, does anyone think it's the FIV or just the stress of being brought to a new home? I've heard that a lot of cats can get URIs or conjunctivitis when they first come home because of shelter circumstances. I'm just hoping this isn't the beginning of him getting sick all the time, mostly for his comfort and my wallet. Please let me know if you've had any experience with FIV+ cats and new adoptions, or even FIV- cats and infections post-adoption. Thank you!

post #2 of 8
First of all, THANK YOU for doing your research and not letting his FIV deter you! hugs.gifhearthrob.gif

Developing a URI or having a herpes flare-up is so very, very, VERY common when adopting a new kitty. Something like 90% (95%?) of cats have been exposed to the herpes virus, and usually their immune systems keep it in check. But they can have flare-ups during times of stress, and moving to a new home certainly fits that definition! rub.gif

Many, many people use L-lysine to help kitty's immune system manage herpes. Did the vet mention this? During a flare-up, the usual dose is between 500mg and 1,000mg daily, split into two doses. Though as with all supplements, it's better to start small and work up, to make sure kitty doesn't have a problem with it.

We have an FIV+ kitty, Chumley, and L-lysine used to give him diarrhea. We've got his insides fixed up now, and he can take lysine now without the diarrhea. But it took some work to get there.

Another anti-viral supplement that may help slow the progression of his FIV and benefit his immune system in terms of fighting herpes is bovine lactoferrin. It's shown efficacy for both. I give Chumley 250mg daily (split into two doses). Jarrow makes a capsule supplement (I checked with the company, and it is bovine lactoferrin, even though it isn't marketed that way). I just sprinkle half a capsule on his food in the morning, and half a capsule on his food at his late night meal (I feed 3 meals a day).
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Yes, she gave me a boatload of medicines haha but I had actually started him on L-lysine as soon as I got him home. I had read a bunch about it being potentially helpful and no evidence of it being harmful so I figured 'why not?' I'd been giving him 1-2 treats a day, as the bag recommended. Thankfully, he loves the whimsical little fish-shaped treats. She recommend I up the dosage by more than double what I had been giving him (500 mg twice a day.) He's also going on some probiotics (Proviable?) to hopefully help with any GI issues he might get from all the medicine. 


Have you seen any issue with using both the l-lysine and the bovine lactoferrin? I'm totally into the idea of giving him any supplements that might help him feel better for the long haul, I just don't want to overdo anything and have him on 50 different things a day. I've read several websites about supplements you can give FIV+ cats and to be honest, it's been somewhat overwhelming. But I will definitely look into this bovine lactoferrin and let you know how it turns out. 


Unfortunately, I work away from home all day so the best I can do is two meals a day, which I do. I've been feeding him grain free kibble (Before Grain) and wet food in the evening (more grain free, atlhough I don't know why any wet food should have grain in it in the first place?) and he seems to be ok with taht. I think he's a little chunky anyways, so I've been trying to monitor his eating a little more. Thankfully, although he's still in hide-under-couch mode, he DOES seem to be eating/using the litter box on a regular basis. Just this pesty eye infection that I'm hoping will clear up within the next few days if treated aggresively, like I plan to. 


Thank you for your response LDG! It has definitely helped dissuade my concerns. I'll let you know how he does!

post #4 of 8
PLEASE do keep us posted! There's also an awesome Yahoo group (though since Yahoo changed the format, it's much more of a PIA to use rolleyes.gif ) that's run by the guy who founded If you join, you do have to introduce yourself and your kitty, or you get "unjoined." laughing02.gif Most people report their kitty's annual blood work - and ask any questions, share ups and downs....

And you've probably seen this, but it's the best FIV-info website out there:

There are LOTS of supplements to choose from. agree.gif It can be difficult to know what to do. Most people don't do anything, other than feed the best diet you can, which it sounds like you're doing. hugs.gif Have annual vet visits, and dentals.... agree.gif

This is what I'm doing for Chumley:

What you might want to do is just put out a measured amount of dry food for while you're gone. smile.gif

Please do keep us posted! hugs.gif
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

UPDATE! He's doing MUCH better and seems to have resigned himself to the fact that he will be getting medicine twice a day. While he clearly doesn't like it, he either recognizes it's helping or has just accepted it haha because his eye is looking MUCH better and he's not constantly hiding like he was before. Granted, it's still only been a week since he's been home but still...I feel like we're making strides, illness and all!

post #6 of 8

I'm sure he knows you're helping him. agree.gifrub.gifhearthrob.gif

And that's great his eye is looking better - clearly he must be feeling better!!!!!! biggrin.gif
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

So now I have a weird question. I've finished the antibiotics, great, no problem with anything with that, even when I wasn't always super consistent with the probiotics. HOWEVER, he's had a little bit of diarrhea for the last two days and I really have no idea where it could be coming from. I did try a different wet food, and I've also been giving him a few leaves (literally a few, 3 leaves tops) of fresh catnip because my friend bought us a plant. I'm thinking it's more likely to be the cat food since I really can't imagine that eating 3 leaves of anything, especially catnip, would make him get diarrhea, but I'm not really sure. Any thoughts? 

post #8 of 8
When did you change his food in relation to the diarrhea? Have you tried changing it back? And while I highly doubt it's the catnip, to eliminate it as a possibility, I'd not feed him any for a few days.

It's also possible it is the balance of his gut flora. The vet had me keep Chumley on the 10 billion CFU of the L. acidophilus+bifidus supplement, 2x a day for about a year. Now he's on "just" 10 billion CFU.

And actually, the way we used it was to mix 1/4 teaspoon of slippery elm bark powder with 1 teaspoon of George's aloe vera juice (fractionally distilled from the leaves: no latex in it). Let it gel up. Add the probiotic, and mix into food. This is what we did 2x a day. He doesn't need the slippery elm bark powder or aloe vera any longer, whatever was going on in his GI tract seems to have healed up / rebalanced now.

When their insides are out-of-whack, food changes throw them for a loop, even with canned foods. So you might want to try that mixture for a while, and see if over time he's able to handle a wider variety of foods without throwing everything out of whack.

Here is info on slippery elm bark powder:
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