Feline Leukaemia and Essiac
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Patricia
Posted on: April 16, 2007

I have a question for you. I have several cats, they are all rescues here in Chicago, that were "throwaways". As you know, most urban areas are rife with cats that have Felv, feline leukemia. I have several that I have rescued, they range in age from 17 years old (we just lost the 20 year old!) to one going on 5. (the "youngster" is the only one remaining from a litter we had from a pregnant stray who had 6 healthy kittens, but slowly, over the last few years, they succumbed to this disease. "Mom" was diagnosed with this, and she is still alive, but her eyes are teary and have problems.)

I had gone to a place that sells "holistic" cat food, as I cannot feed a "raw" diet due to the compromised immune-system. They had said that this has worked..somewhat. I am a horticulturist by trade, and work in management in garden centers in Chicago, and am familiar with the Essiac teas, their usage for cancer, aids, and compromised immune systems. I wonder, what dosage/etc. do I use for each cat? They are not presenting any problems, 2 are 10 and are slowing down some, but I don’t want to burden them IN CASE that something is not good "for felines". I am smarter than to think that the feline system can handle everything a human can.

At any rate, any help that you could give me in herbal preparations for my special needs household..I’d certainly appreciate it.

First off I would like to disagree that an immune-compromised animal cannot eat a species appropriate diet. In fact, many experts agree that a balanced homemade raw food diet is exactly what is needed by the body and the immune system for overall health. Please see the work of Richard Pitcairn, "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats", "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy and "The Barf Diet" by Ian Billinghurst for further information and recipes.

Next regarding Essiac: I do not have experience in recommending Essiac for cats. However, the website www.essiacforpets.com states that it may be given to cats as well as dogs at a dose rate of 1/2 ounce twice a day for an animal that weighs up to 25 lb. (They also recommend that you call their representatives before embarking on a programme that includes the use of Essiac.) Other herbs that are useful for a healthy immune system include Astragulus (Astragulus membranaceous), Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) and Echinacea purpurea. I have also seen the constituent Acemannan (from Aloe vera) used in cases of Feline Leukaemia. It would be best if you consulted a qualified practitioner in your area who has experience with both animals and herbs in order to have a treatment plan designed especially for your cats. Such a person may be found through the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association (www.vbma.org)

One addition..for my "mom" cat..her eyes have been teary..and pus-filled, sometimes, she has been treated in the past for what looks like an abraded cornea, which had been sliced by the vet, and had healed somewhat. She does not like cream in the eye, but we struggled through that. Should I make an additional eyewash of camomile tea, keep it in the fridge, and gently wash with a cotton pad?

You might want to try an eyewash made up of both Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) infused teas. Be sure to strain the tea really well as Chamomile especially can leave small bits in the tea which may cause discomfort if placed in the eye. Tea kept in the fridge will last up to three days at which point new tea should be made.

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