Modern Treatments for FIV, FeLV and FIP

Today I’d like to discuss promising new medical breakthroughs in treating FIV, FeLV and FIP in cats. While the new medications aren’t a cure, they do buy an infected cat some time, as well as improve their quality of life. I’m especially excited about a breakthrough in FIP. More on that later.


  • FIV = Feline immunodeficiency virus
  • FIP = Feline Infectious Peritonitis
  • FeLV = Feline leukemia virus

New Treatments for feline diseases

New Treatments for feline diseases. Research.

FIV and FeLV

T-Cyte Therapeutics, Inc. has created a drug called LTCI (Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator). This drug has been around since 2008 and was approved for use in the U.S. in February 2009. The drug is classified as a lymphocyte T-cell immune modulator. This means it improves the immune system so a cat has a better chance at fighting off an infection. It’s used to treat cell abnormalities and opportunistic infections. LTCI is the only USDA approved drug to treat FIV and FeLV in cats.

The development of LTCI has an interesting history that can be found here. Dr. Terry Beardsley, a graduate of Baylor College of Medicine, set out to find a treatment that would mirror the body’s ability to fight infection. He used FIV and FeLV positive cats in his studies as he searched for a drug to treat HIV/AIDS. He’s the founder of T-Cyte Therapeutics, Inc.

The USDA granted T-Cyte a conditional license to test the drug using a study of 23 infected cats, of which 22 completed the study. The drug had no notable adverse reactions and their blood work showed marked improvement. This wasn’t a very large study, but individual cat owner’s are now spreading the word as to how LTCI saved their cats.

I would imagine the success of the drug is also influenced by how long the cat has carried the disease.

LTCI works by increasing the number of lymphocytes in the blood, as well as increasing red blood cell production. The increase in red blood cells will help a cat fight anemia. It also increases Interleukin 2 (IL-2) production, which helps the body fight off viruses and other infections.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition lists IL-2 as: an interleukin produced by antigen-stimulated helper T cells in the presence of interleukin-1 that induces proliferation of immune cells (as T cells and B cells) and is used experimentally especially in treating certain cancers.

A list of veterinary clinics currently using the drug can be found at by using this search facility.

Here’s the information to give your vet (if your vet isn’t familiar with the treatment) should you wish to use the drug on your cat:

  • In the USA, T-Cyte Therapeutics phone number is (1-800-483-2104).
  • Agrilabs, another carrier of the drug, can be contacted at (1-800)542-8916.
  • Abroad it can be ordered from Masters Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Unit 380, Centennial Avenue, Centennial Park, Elstree, Hertfordshire, WD6 3TJ, UK and their phone number is (0208 327 0900).

Please note I didn’t call or try to contact the suppliers of LTCI. Hopefully your clinic may already be using it on some of their patients.

FIP

Now for the exciting news! As though the success of LTCI in treating FIV and FeLV cats isn’t enough, LTCI is also being used to treat cats with FIP. I won’t go into all of the symptoms and dangers of FIP because that would take up a lot of space.

I lost an 8 month old kitten named Tramp to FIP back in 1993. It’s a cat disease that’s always been considered fatal. I can tell you from experience how horrible it is to know there’s little hope once your cat contracts FIP. There are several stories of hope written by average cat owners about their experience using the drug on their FIP cat.One is at http://www.examiner.com/article/miracle-girl-fip-couldn-t-kill-me. Whether LTCI is a treatment or a cure, cats who receive the drug are living longer with their disease.

The LTCI regimen consists of a series of injections. A typical schedule is one injection weekly for three weeks, a fourth injection two weeks later, a fifth injection two weeks after that, and a sixth injection one month after that. Then a booster injection is needed every six weeks. I did reference where one vet had given a total of 21 injections to an infected cat. I don’t know whether there’s a maximum number of doses a cat may be given or if there’s a cut off point. Since the drug has shown to have no bad side effects, perhaps it can be given for the life of the cat.

Use in FIP cats is classified as “off-label,” which means a vet can use it for a use other than what is was developed for. Unfortunately, some states may have laws limiting the use of an off-label drug.

The cost per injection is usually under $50 if ordered in packs of 4-6 from a manufacturer. A private vet may charge $110 or more per injection.

I’ve used quite a few reference articles in gathering the information for this article. Instead of giving the readers a long list, those of you wishing further information can Google “LTCI for cats” or “Tcyte for cats.” I also found a good bit by Googling “new FIV and FeLV treatments.”

Do any of the readers here have experience with this drug or know more about it than I’ve listed here? Any vets out there willing to comment? If so, did it show any marked improvement in your cats or the cats you treated?

One final question for the readers. How do you feel about the experimentation being done on cats who were FIV/FeLV positive to test a drug for treating HIV/AIDS? This is clearly a case where the cat has benefited from medical testing on animals. That doesn’t appear to happen very often.

Elisa


Comments

Modern Treatments for FIV, FeLV and FIP — 14 Comments

  1. Well in principle it’s wrong. But its true to say that many great discoveries in science are made by accident. Even so I don’t think this makes it ok. Obviously tests are different as well, some being very unpleasant and painful for animals and some less. I’m not sure if I feel ready to draw a line and say ‘well if its not hurting the animal then its ok’ since ‘hurt’ needs to be defined, by humans, and I dont trust the humans to make the right call on that. In every case of anything I think the best thing to do is to put human babies in place of cats and see if it is still ok. If it is, then ok, do it. Thats the only real measurement that can be given to people who are totally objective and have no feelings for animals – like scientists. If you would do it to a baby then I think its acceptable to do it to an animal. I’m not even sure of that though really. Its not like we humans have an amazing track record with regard to our own experimentation on ourselves. Let’s face it, HIV AIDS was the result of scientists taking shortcuts when testing cures for poleo on primates. Another accident but with bad results.

  2. FIP research has a special place in my heart. You might want to check up on what is even more current. Polyprenyl Immunostimulant a veterinary biologic by Sass & Sass, Inc., recently FDA approved for treatment of feline herpes virus (URI) is being used off-label with great success for treatment of “dry” FIP. Research continues, but is available to confirmed cases of “dry” FIP. In my group discussions with people involved in the case studies, many say their cats are doing extremely well and the quality of life has vastly improved. I recently heard from someone on P.I. for 33 weeks now and the cat is doing wonderful.
    http://www.vet.utk.edu/research/fip/fip.php
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Polyprenyl-Immunostimulant/229781391324

    • Katherine, thank you for sharing. I am sure it will help a cat somewhere. For people who don’t know or people who are perhaps living in a different country, can I presume that LTCI means “Long-Term Care Insurance“. If I have that wrong please correct me.

      • Michael, in this case it stands for Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator, a drug being used as an immune system booster, as also referenced in the above article.

  3. i am looking for opinions on the LTCI drug used specifically for FIP. my cat has tested high for the corona virus in FIP and has had two injections. my vet was kind enough to administer them for free as these two shots were given to him. i am seriously considering buying more injections. he has also tested positive for the toxoplasmosis disease. unfortunately, my dear cat, Linus, is suffering from two diseases. please submit any stories and/or personal experience with the LTCI drug for FIP.

    • Ann, I’ll write a further comment later this morning having done some work on this. I am a bit rushed right now. Thanks for visiting and asking. Sorry to hear about your cat.

  4. 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.

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