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1. I have FIV and FeLV positive cats and my homeopathic veterinarian has
recommended changing them to a raw diet. I've been trying, but the cats are not
interested in the food. Would I unduly stress them by essentially forcing
them to eat the food by giving them absolutely nothing else to eat?
2. What are your opinions on glyconutrients and supplements such as
Transfer Factor for fiv and felv positive cats?
Dr Randy Kidd’s response:
To my way of thinking, nutrition is an area with the least black and white of any area of health. So, with that in mind, here are some thoughts. (Contrariwise, many of my colleagues feel strongly that they have nutrition all figured out, and that their nutritional suggestions are the only ones that clients should use.)
FeLV and FIV cats can benefit tremendously from ANYTHING that enhances their immune system – raw food diets are certainly helpful in supporting whatever major therapy you’ve chosen (eg homeopathy) … as are some herbs including Echinacea, etc. Also helpful is lack of stress, a more natural environment (including less toxins etc.) and so forth.
Now, how we go about the raw food diet can become problematic. Trying to REQUIRE some cats to do ANYTHING -- including eating what we want them to – may not work. There are plenty of meats that can be the major component of the diet – beef, chicken, bison, deer, duck, venison, etc and etc. Sometimes a simple change is enough to stimulate the eating. Or an addition of a culinary herb – interestingly, although many cats reject any herbal taste, some actually relish herbs, and I’ve even had some who would kill for cayenne (red pepper)
((which is a decent herb to consider for any sick animal for its overall effects))
For very sick animals I like to see them eating, and I’ll often try almost anything to keep them at the dinner table. On the other hand, there is always a question of who is training whom. Healthy cats in the wild can and do go for several days without eating – in fact these several-day-long fasts may be their natural way, and the fasting may provide some support to a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Finally, I see many practitioners who are exceedingly dogmatic in their approach – demanding “client compliance” at all costs. “Lack of client compliance” is often cited as the cause of non-healing … when in my mind we could as easily blame any number of other things.
So, short answer is, it all depends. Longer answer is: It all depends, and what you feel, deep inside, is right for you and your cats … is most probably the right answer for your situation.
I’ve not had any personal experience with glyconutrients or Transfer Factor, so can’t help you with these. Sorry.
Dr Rose DiLeva’s response:
I would not force any animal to eat food by offering them nothing else to
eat, especially ones that are compromised with FIV or FeLV. Getting a pet to
switch to a new food, be it raw or otherwise, should be a slow process. It
may take 3 or 4 weeks in some cases. Offering a piece at a time along with the
pet's regular food is a start. Not every cat wants to eat raw meat immediately.
They have been used to a different food type their entire lives. Another
option is to offer some raw food with good quality canned food. Make sure the meat is organic or frozen and then thawed out. I have found that some clients feel better if they freeze the meat first to kill any Salmonella that may exist. I
have 7 of my own cats. When I tried to switch them to raw chicken half of them
looked at me like I was crazy and walked away. The others were curious and
tried it. Today they all enjoy the treat.