Grapefruit seed extract for cats
You can buy grapefruit seed extract in commercial products such as Nutribiotic®. People say that when it is diluted with water it is an excellent health remedy as it kills a whole host of microorganisms and/or it inhibits their growth. For example, it is said to be a remedy for upper respiratory infections, skin diseases, bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasites and viral infections generally. People say it can be administered internally and applied externally in diluted form.
I am writing this article to flag up this product so that people can assess it themselves. Caution should be applied. When I searched this product on veterinarians’ websites my initial impression is that it is not referred to on these sites. This does not mean that it is no good. It just indicates that it is not recommended by veterinarians although some of them might.
Also, I did some research on this product on the Wikipedia website. The author says that there is no scientific evidence that grapefruit seed extract has health benefits for cats. What the author says is that the artificial preservatives in the commercial products, such as benzethonium chloride have an effect on microorganisms. In other words, the synthetic preservative is the “anti-microbial agent” rather than natural grapefruit seed extract (GSE).
Studies have shown that many grapefruit seed extract products are contaminated with preservatives. A study found that there was no effect on feline calicivirus and feline parvovirus by GSE.
Advocates of the product say that it can also be used to disinfect cages, for example at shelters and breeder catteries. If so, it may the disinfectant qualities of the preservative which is working. I am playing devil’s advocate.
Nutribiotic GSE can also be mixed with other off-the-shelf topical preparations such as shampoos. I’ve decided that it would be unwise to discuss the dilution levels. I’d rather leave that to readers to work out if you believe that there are health benefits for cats but it must be diluted. As a guide: “three to 15 drops of GSE added to pet food or water. One or more times treatment per day, depending on size of critter…”
One cat owner said that she had struggled to cure her cats’ respiratory infections and her veterinarian had failed to assist so she relied upon grapefruit seed extract and had success she claims:
I use two drops per day per cat in canned food with great results….Now this was after countless vet visits, bouts with amoxydrops, and clavamox and even baytril. Nothing was working. So I started using this, in their canned food and also dropping it into the water fountain, about 6 drops every time I scrubbed the bowl out. Within one week, I started seeing differences in the kittens first, then with the cats (hissy on the cat site).
Another product on the fringes of cat health treatments is L-lysine for viral infections.
Haley said in a comment (see below):
“CAUTION. Grapefruit seed extract is TOXIC TO CATS!! After reading about the miraculous benefits of GSE I started giving it to my cat who had a nasty upper respiratory infection. Well after about 10 days he started eating less and becoming less active so I continued giving him the GSE thinking the virus was coming back. I was wrong! It was liver toxicity symptoms. Soon he started shaking, throwing up and he would just sit in one place balled up looking at the ground. Liver numbers not normal. Please learn from my mistake and don’t give cats grapefruit seed extract!”
This article was first published on April 1st 2015. It is republished here as it has value.