Feline Leukemia Specialist Fayetteville AR
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Creature Comforts—Feline Leukemia
By Victoria L. Freeman, PhD
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) compromises a cat’s immune system, opening the door to conditions ranging from diarrhea, skin infections, and dental disease to leukemia, other cancers, and liver disease. Cats pass the contagion on via bodily fluids such as saliva, urine, or a lactating female’s milk. While science searches for a cure, about 30 percent of exposed animals manage to rally their own defenses to overcome this formidable virus.
How do these super cats fend off FeLV? It starts with super nutrition, says holistic veterinarian Linda Faris, DVM, from her practice in Overland Park, Kansas. Superior immunity begins with nutrition appropriate for the species, she explains, and for your feline friend that means feeding it fresh, preferably organic meats, while steering clear of processed grains. “I see many FeLV compromised cats that are at the same time obese and nutrient-deficient due to poorly constructed commercial diets,” she notes. “You can’t have a top-notch immune response with obesity or nutrient deficiencies.”
If your cat needs treatment, what then? The answer depends on whom you ask. Possible false negative and false positive readings require conventional vets to diagnose FeLV using blood tests combined with a thorough evaluation of symptoms. Then typical treatments focus on symptoms (such as fluid therapy for dehydration) and management of secondary conditions (like antibiotics for persistent infections). A few Western vets push the treatment envelope with experimental immune-boosting drugs such as ImmunoRegulin and antivirals like AZT.
Holistic vets view FeLV a bit differently, though. Using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnostics, Faris checks for imbalances long before pets become outwardly ill (FeLV-infected cats may not show overt symptoms for months or even years). Then she uses alternative therapies to bolster the animal’s own defenses. Identifying health threats early on proves particularly important with FeLV since treatment becomes less effective as the infection progresses.
Based on past success, Faris favors TCM in the battle against FeLV. “Chinese herbal formulas, which include huang qi (astragalus root) for correcting immune deficiency and shu di huang (rehmannia) for balancing blood, work wonders,” she says. “If caught early in the disease, the combination of proper nutrition, Chinese herbs, and acupuncture along the governing vessel [running down the back from the tip of the nose to the tip of tail] can keep this virus under control and enable your companion to live symptom-free.”
Author: Victoria L. Freeman, PhD
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