Conscious Cat

June 21, 2012 52 Comments

New treatment for cats with feline leukemia and FIV

Posted by Ingrid

brown_tabby_cat

Guest post by Lorie Huston, DVM

Until very recently, feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline AIDS (FIV) were both considered to be untreatable diseases, fatal once an infected cat started to show signs of disease. Recently, a new product has been introduced that may change that fact. (In all honesty, this is not really a “new” product per se, having been around since at least 2008, but one which seems to be getting a bit more attention lately.)

TCyte: A New Treatment for Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline AIDS

TCyte, a new treatment for feline leukemia and feline AIDS is a lymphocyte T-cell immune modulator. In the simplest terms, that means that TCyte works on the infected cat’s immune system to improve the cat’s ability to deal with the feline leukemia or feline AIDS infection.

TCyte is used to treat cats infected with either the feline leukemia or feline  AIDS virus who are experiencing symptoms such as red blood cell or white blood cell abnormalities and/or opportunistic infections.

How Does TCyte Work?

TCyte has several different effects on the immune system of the infected cat. It helps increase the number of lymphocytes formed in the blood stream of the infected cat as well as improving the way the lymphocytes function. (Lymphocytes are specific types of white blood cells that are an important part of the immune system and they play a crucial role in the cat’s ability to fight disease. They are often decreased in feline leukemia and/or feline AIDS infections.) TCyte also increases red blood cell production, helping to fight anemia in infected cats. In addition, it increases IL-2 production, which is also known to stimulate the lymphocyte reaction against viruses, such as the feline leukemia and feline AIDS viruses.

Is TCyte Proven to Work?

TCyte currently has a conditional licensure granted by the USDA. This means that additional efficacy and potency studies are in progress. However, in a study published in the International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine (Vol. 6, No. 2, 2008):

“A total of 23 FIV or FeLV-infected cats entered the study of which 22 qualified and completed as scheduled. No significant adverse reactions attributed to LTCI (TCyte) treatment were detected. Treatment with LTCI resulted in improvements in both clinical and hematological parameters.”

These results are encouraging. However, 23 cats is not a large number of animals. And the long-term benefits of treatment are still largely unknown although several of the cats in this study did survive for long periods. Much more research is needed in this area before we can really know how effective this product is in the long run.

Still, when you consider the deadly nature of these viruses, particularly once the red blood cell and white blood cell lines have become abnormal, this product might be worth trying if your cat is suffering from feline leukemia or feline AIDS. I have not, at this time, tried this medication in my veterinary practice yet. However, it is something I would consider should an owner be willing to attempt treatment, I think.

Have any of you had tried TCyte for your own FeLV or FIV-infected cats? If so, we would love to hear about your experience. Please share by leaving a comment below.

Lorie Huston has been practicing veterinary medicine for over 20 years. Besides a successful career in a busy small animal hospital in Providence, RI, Lorie is also a successful freelance writer specializing in pet care and pet health topics. Currently, she is the feature writer for the Pet Care section at Suite101.com, a contributing writer for Veterinary Medicine at About.com  and the National Pet Health Examiner at Examiner.com. Lorie also publishes her own blog, The Pet Health Care Gazette and manages an increasingly popular facebook page, The Voice of Pet Care.

Photo by Tomi Tapio, Flickr Creative Commons

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52 Responses to “New treatment for cats with feline leukemia and FIV”

  1. Lynn says:

    A veterinarian exhibiting his products at Global Pet Expo in 2011 told me about this drug. He also said it has shown promise in battling the nebulous FIP, which actually intrigued me more, since I had just a couple of weeks prior to then lost a cat to FIP. It hadn’t been tested or approved for that, but he and some other vets he knew had been successfully using it and keeping cats alive who would otherwise have been dead from FIP. Here’s hoping it’s that miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for!

    • Linda says:

      THANK YOU for this information! As I was reading the article, I immediately wondered if there would be a treatment for FIP. I will take this info to my Vet and discuss with her. I provide refuge in my home for “unadoptable” cats and this information could be a God-send. Thank you again.

  2. Connie says:

    I had not heard of this, so thank you so much for sharing!! I was wondering too if it might help those kitties battling FIP – and look there was Lynn’s comment. I pray this continues to do what it is designed to do and is able to help so many kitties.

  3. Great post today. Thanks for all the information.

    pawhugs, Max

  4. We have one FIV+cat. Thanks for the insightful post, Lorie!

  5. We had heard of this – but had not heard about the potentially promising results for FIP. This would be a real game changer! Here’s hoping….

  6. Ingrid says:

    I agree with everyone else, it would be wonderful if this treatment also showed promise for helping cats with FIP.

  7. kathleen meade says:

    I currently have 3 FLV+ cats and have been caring for them for 6 years… I adopted the stray, pregnant momma-to-be, and 2 weeks later, she gave birth to 5 kittens, only to find out at the first vet check that they were all FLV+. Amazingly, the kittens lived, but we lost the 2 hearty boys around 1 year old and our little special needs runt at 3 years old. Because the little one face numerous issues, I gave her and her sibs Transfer Factor, to help build their immune systems. I’m not certain, but think it extended their lives. My vet is amazed that the kittens survived and that we still have the momma and 2 of her girls. Currently, all 3 are healthy in appearance, although I know it can change in an instant. I will definitely talk with my vet about T-Cyte, to see if it would be worthwhile using it now or in the future. Thank you for sharing this new hopeful treatment.

    • Ingrid says:

      That’s wonderful that all three of your cats are doing so well, Kathleen. I’d love to hear from you again if you decide to use T-Cyte.

  8. scott says:

    Would like to take part in any treats if possible. We just adopted an outdoor cat and can’t bring it into our home to meet our other two unless we get this cleared up. Can we apply to be a trial? Scottconsoliebay@gmail com

  9. Jess says:

    Scott, is your outside cat FIV or FELV? If it’s FIV you can still bring him into your home, just give a careful introduction (seperate for 2 weeks, swap rooms to let them all adjust to smell, short visits increasing in time) I brough home a FIV cat a few years ago with all negative cats in the home and we’ve never had an issue. There’s a lot of myths surrounding FIV+ cats living with negative cats. Of course if yours is FELV that’s a different story.

  10. James and EMMITT says:

    Goodday To All:

    Our 11 year old male cat “Emmitt Smith”was found to have FIP (DRY FORM) about three weeks ago after his right eye became inflamed and very Red! There had been nothing visible in the Eye the day prior-that in it’s self was shocking. We had never even heard of FIP. The worst part is that our VET of 10 yrs had only Prednisone to give him, to slow the FIP! She gave him a month of so, that was very shocking to us! We were not onboard with that PLAN! After much searching on the net and speaking to a very famous genetic Professor working on FIP research- We were directed to a vet who had used TCYTE to save cats with Dry Form FIP. We have already starting giving Emmitt the TCYTE and as of this morning, he has shown GREAT improvement! Emmitt gets his third dose tomorrow. We are Very, Very lucky to have found this vet!! Emmitt would already be dead if not for his help. The most shocking part of this story is NOT FIP, It is the Reaction of our regular vet! She not only was angry that we had chosen to go this route, but refused to prescribe the two secondary antibiotics we required to use with the TCYTE! So, weather we are able get the FIP in remission or not, TCYTE has already been a life saving drug for Emmitt!! We know that others have run into this same closed small minded reaction from their VET’s as well. SO, beware that if you decide to use TCYTE your going to be fighting two diseases, the first is FIP and the second is your vets Arrogance and ignorance to TCYTE.

    James and EMMITT

    • Ingrid says:

      That’s the first time I’ve heard of TCyte being used for FIP – thanks for sharing your experience, James. Thankfully, not all vets are as close-minded as yours appears to be. Patient advocacy is as important in veterinary medicine as it is in human medicine. Please keep us updated on Emmmit’s progress!

    • SuzAnne says:

      James & EMMITT

      Congrats on your FIP progress so far! Our neighbor has been taking FIP cats in when vets sentence them to be euthanized and has over a 50% recovery rate! We will be looking into TCyte right away too! You may look into using Tamaflu use for Emmitt as we’ve used with success (sounds strange I know but it has worked). I hope you get the other 2 antibiotics for his recovery as well. The vet reactions are due to it’s high contagion factor and can wipe out an entire group of cats with death sentence. Once the cat is cured, it will not get or give it again, so quarantine is MANADATORY for success, as well as not infecting other cats at the vet or neighbors. Happy Emmitt is a fighter and having a chance!

  11. James and EMMITT says:

    Ingrid: I gave Mr.Smith his third injection of TCYTE and he seems to be responding as well as i had hoped. I thought to mention that more information can be found at http://www.tcyte.com, as well as ordering information. TCYTE is very cost effective, and has virtually no side effects! The entire first
    round of treatment is about $400, keeping in mind that your VET may mark it up (As Ours Did).

    It comes in a “Cold Box” and must be refrigerated. You can have your VET do the injections, (If your lucky) but in Mr. EMMITT SMITH’S case- I do them. It comes in two parts, Part one is a sealed vial of powder and the second is a vial of Solution. I withdraw the clear Solution into the ceringe and inject it into the second vial of powder. It must be hand shaken for about two minutes, and withdrawn
    into the needle, I then inject under the skin between Mr. Smith’s Shoulders (behind his neck).

    Giving your loved one’s shots is not for everyone, so if your scared of needles- it’s probably better left to the VET! It’s about 1ml of TCYTE. Be sure your ready, because after the two parts mix, it MUST BE USED with in four hours or thrown away.

    I notice that Mr. SMITH likes to take a nap after his shot. HE wakes up hungry and happy! I hope that this helps someone with getting to know this wonderful and life saving drug. Keep in mind, this does not cure FIP, but with a lot of luck-FIP goes into remission.

    James and Emmitt

  12. Eric says:

    James

    thanks for all the info, I hope you will be able to provide regular updates on the status of Emmit and his treatment. I hope this works for the little guy. Sending you both my best

  13. Suzie says:

    Hi,

    I have 5 cats and one of them has been diagnosed with FIV+. Can the FIV+ cat live together with the non FIV cats. Please advice

  14. Suzie says:

    Dear Ingrid,

    Thank you so much for your reply. I live in Malaysia. So far only 1 cat has been tested for FIV+. I will be sending the other 4 cats for testing this weekend.

    I have read about the LTCI drug. However, this drug is not available here. Can you advice how i can get the drug sent out to Malaysia.

    My vet has advised that i try Interferon Omega which i may have to import from UK.

    Appreciate some advice.

    Desperately thanking you.

    • Ingrid says:

      You’d have to have your vet look into getting LTCI. Suzie. I’d recommend that your vet contact the manufacturer directly.

      • Suzie says:

        Dear Ingrid,

        I have spoken to my vet and they have tried to contact the manufacturer for LTCI. Unfortunately, that was 4 days ago and the manufacturer has not reply to my vet’s queries. My vet is also willing to do the test trials in Malaysia. Is there anyway you can help us obtain the LTCI to be sent to Malaysia.

        Would most appreciate your help.

        Thank you

  15. Sheri says:

    Suzie,

    I have heard wonderful things about Interferon Omega. Unfortunately it is not available in the US. I may start one of my FeLV+ cats on LTCI (Tcyte) soon but of the 2 drugs, I would much rather be able to do the Interferon Omega. More research has been done, and there are valid results indicating its efficancy. I hope you can get your cat on that and comment on results.

    As for LTCI, I had hoped that the people who responded on this forum had actually tried it. I’m also scouring the internet and wondering why there aren’t way more comments.

    By the way, I have adopted 5 FeLV+. The oldest four range from ages 4 to 8 years old and have not been on any medication other than Azithromycin or Convenia and sometimes steroids from time to time for various ailments. They’ve beat the odds, but I just got a young one (1.5 years) who has stomatitis and other clinical symptoms. Just wish I could get him on the Interferon Omega…but for some reason, the US is behind on this one.

    Sheri

    • Ingrid says:

      Sheri, would you let me know how your cat does on the Interferon Omega if you decide to try it?

      • Sheri says:

        I’m in the US so I can’t get Interferon Omega (Virbagen Omega). Suzie was the one who said something about getting it imported from the UK for her cat. I think it has to be shipped refrigerated, but maybe that can be done to her country. I hope so.

        Sheri

    • Jess says:

      I used it for a few months for my boy who is around 6 or 7 years old (was a stray) I didn’t feel there was enough of a difference to warrant continuing its use for the cost but he also doesn’t show any symptoms of being FIV+ other than a more than normal build up of plaque. I can’t say how it works for FeLV+ but that was my experience with LTCI. If the cost was lower I would have considered leaving him on it a bit longer to see but I wasn’t really impressed. My vet thought that it may have more of a noticeable impact it were a cat that was experiencing problems vs one that didn’t have much going on. Not sure if she was right but that was her first experience with it too.

      • Sheri says:

        I don’t blame you for discontinuing LTCI on your FIV+. My mom has 3 FIV+ cats, and they seem as healthy as her other cats, although one did have some minor dental problems when we found him.

        I’m thinking about using it on a symptomatic 1.5 year old FeLV+ cat that I adopted a few months ago. He’s constantly congested and has stomatitis that won’t clear up. He’s been on 2 courses of antibiotics and had about the half the teeth in his head pulled out during a recent dental. All this hasn’t affected his appetite. His former owner didn’t feed her cats well, and he’s about to eat me out of house and home. That’s a good sign, but I don’t see him living as long as my other positive cats without some help. My vet is advising me against LTCI simply because he feels it’s too much money for something that hasn’t been extensively tested.

        Have there not been any clinical trails with results published in major journals? I’m torn here. I don’t want to sit back and do nothing for the little fellow, but the initial 2-week treatment of LTCI will cost me $250 (for 3 shots). Just wish it were a “miracle cure”…but that’s still a long way away I suppose.

        Thanks,

        Sheri

  16. Suzie says:

    Hi All,

    sorry for the late reply. I could not obtain the Interferon Omega (Virbagen Omega) as despite repeated emails, there is no reply from them. Further i understand that the price of Interferon Omega (Virbagen Omega) has increased dramatically.

    So i decided to give LTCI a try. My vet at AMC was kind enough to import the LTCI. My kitty has had 3 injections and after that we did a blood test and everything seems good. That was 1 month ago and last weekend, did another test and the results was also good except for her sugar level which was slightly higher. I am still monitoring my kitty and will run test on her in another 3 months time.

    Will keep you posted on her condition.

    suzie

  17. steve says:

    i start my Felv cat on LTCI this am. Hope it works. will post results in a month or so.

  18. Omar Lopez says:

    Hi all,

    I’ve had excellent results with TCyte so far. If you want to leave a comment at my website http://opusvsleukemia.blogspot.mx/ you will be very welcomed,

    Omar (Mexico City)

  19. Sheri says:

    I have 5 FeLV+ cats and have been on the fence about TCyte. A friend of mine who is both a veterinarian and a ph.D in microbiology does not feel it would be effective after reading the literature on it. She says it doesn’t target the virus specifically. Also the main “scientific” article on it had data that is all supplied by the manufacturer.

    I feel if this were legitimate, there would be clinical trials. If these trials were wildly successful, LTCI would be a world sensation. My friend also questioned why it’s on conditional approval by the USDA but not the FDA, who approves most legitimate vet medicine. Finally, the guy that developed LTCI–Dr. Terry Beardsley–is now peddling ProBoost, an anti-aging supplement for humans.

    I really hope this stuff does work, and that someday clinical trials will support it, but my own vet says he feels it is way too expensive for something that is unproven (i.e. “snake oil”). The solace I take in all this is that I have been lucky enough to have most of my FeLV+ cats asymptomatic for years (the oldest is now 8 yrs old), but one is struggling. Maybe LTCI would help him, but with no clinical trials by objective parties, I worry it could not only be a rip off, but even hurt him.

    So please, TCyte…if you have a product you believe in …prove it through clinical trials to those of us who would gladly do anything to help our “babies.”

    • Ingrid says:

      I’d love to see clinical trials, too, Sheri, but in the meantime, I’m still very interested to hear from cat owners who have used the producct.

      • Suzie says:

        Hi Ingrid

        Greetings from Malaysia. My 2 cats have used the TCyte and so far the results are good and they seem to be doing well.

        Best Regards and Happy Thanksgiving

  20. Sheri says:

    I see your point about personal stories by pet owners. When considering LTCI, I scoured the internet and just couldn’t find anything compelling. It seems to do no harm at least, but my vet is pretty adamant that it’s a rip off. I would love TCyte to prove skeptics wrong. I desperately want something to work.

    Has anyone heard of a cat in clinical stages (anemia, stomatitis, and other typical FeLV+ symptoms) that improved after the use of LTCI?

  21. Brenda says:

    I had 2 cats who were FIP positive. One was born with it and the other caught it when she was less than 1 year. I used the human interferon which helped for a while and I eventually ordered the Interferon Omega for UK. It was expensive but worth it ($1,200). The cat that caught the FIP when 1 year old ended up being negative. She had all the clinical signs and is now 10 years old and healthy. My other cat who was born with it ended up living to 5 years old and then was killed by a dog. She had no FIP symptoms after being treated twice. I ended up pulling her teeth due to gingivitis. I had some Interferon Omega left over and then treated a cat with FelV and he ended up coming up negative after the treatment. I’ve had great success treating FIP with Human interferon and Omega. I am now dealing with FelV. I have a 5 month old siemese who is becoming anemic. I’m presently getting ready to order Omega but will try LTCI first. I’m going to try LTCI and will keep you informed.

    • Ingrid says:

      Wow, that is certainly a testament to the effectiveness of interferon Omega, Brenda! I’ll be interested to hear how the LTCI works for your cat.

    • Sheri says:

      Hi — I was wondering what you meant by FIP+. My vet says there’s no easy test for FIP (unlike the ELISA for FIV/FeLV). He can check to see if the cat has been exposed to the corona virus, which causes FIP, but then again a lot of cats carry that virus. In only a few does it really mutate into FIP. Years ago, I dealt with one stray cat that had developed FIP, and he only lived a week after showing signs of the wet form (stomach very bloated). I wish I’d had something to help prolong his life.

      Thanks,

      Sheri

      P.S. That’s horrible about the cat overcoming disease but ending up being killed by a dog at such a young age. I never let my babies outside…just too many hazards out there.

  22. Brenda says:

    I’ve ordered and used the LTCI. My siemese kitten stopped having an upper respiratory and was acting like a normal kitten. There are no side effects. I do recommend it! I’m now treating her with Interferon Omega which I got from UK. She’s not showing any signs of being sick, so hopefully it’s in remission.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  23. Brenda says:

    I forgot to mention that my siemese has Feline Leukemia. This is the first cat that I’m treating with Interferon. I have treated FIP with Interferon Omega and both cats ended up being cured, testing negative.

  24. Suzie Loo says:

    Hi all,

    It has been a year since i last wrote about my FIV+ fur kids. As i have mentioned 1 year, 3 has been diagnosed with FIV+. Last week, i did the blood work on the 3 babies and now i have 2 FIV+ babies.

    What happened? I am shocked. All the doctor could say was that the earlier results could be inaccurate and from my understanding, you could only get a inaccurate report if your fur baby had taken FIV vacine which my fur kids did not.

    Up date on my 2 FIV+ fur kids. They had their LTCI one year ago and so far they are healthy except for the off and on flu, eye infection and now gastro prob.

    I am also trying other holistic methods with them ie by applying pure essential oils on them.

    love to all :)

  25. Patricia says:

    Hello guys! I hope someone can help me here.

    Do you know something about the use of LTCI, from t-cyte, (approved for FIV/FELV) for FIP?

    Searching the internet i could only find the Healing Heart cats case, examiner article and Emmit case, sounds promising, so why arent more research about?

    I have two kittens with the dry form, being treated with human interferon, we dont have feline omega or LTCI here (Brazil), and its very expensive to import, so I have to get to a conclusion before importing.

    Thanks very much.

  26. Brenda says:

    I have used ltci and it works. I have a 10 month kitten with feline leukemia and is doing well. I also used omega interferon and it puts cat in remission.

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