Where To Buy L Lysine For Cats
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Along with conventional treatments, many veterinarians prescribe L-lysine supplementation to cats suffering from respiratory problems or illnesses like the feline herpesvirus. But what is L-lysine, and does it help your cat or harm her
L-lysine has long been administered by veterinarians as a mode of prevention and treatment of feline herpesvirus, also known as FHV-1. Multiple cat foods and treats also include L-lysine as an ingredient, although care should be taken to not exceed the proper dosage for your cat. L-lysine dosages are determined per individual cat based on her weight, age, health status, and breed.
Upper respiratory illnesses may be caused by either a bacterial or viral infection, and chronic occurrences of these colds may signal the existence of FHV-1. Cats with weaker immune systems, such as kittens or senior cats, are most prone to respiratory infections and FHV-1; however, even healthy cats in their prime can fall victim to these illnesses.
Consult your veterinarian to determine if your cat is dealing with a kitty cold or a persistent bout of FHV-1. In particular, FHV-1 can be tricky, as most infected cats will overcome the initial infection, but some will develop a chronic condition. In these cats, the immune system is suppressed and FHV-1 will flare-up and cause the symptoms to start all over again.
Veterinarians typically prescribe L-lysine supplements because of a long-held assumption that the amino acid eliminates the aforementioned symptoms of the infections and also prevents future flare-ups from occurring; nearly 90% of veterinarians recommend the use of L-lysine to treat these conditions. Veterinarians were of the thought that L-lysine interfered with the replication of the FHV-1 virus by preventing the uptake of a second amino acid, arginine.
In the early 2000s, a series of research was conducted on the use of L-lysine on cats with varying and, at times, conflicting and inconclusive results. A 2003 study in the American Journal of Veterinary Research found a reduction in FHV-1 virus replication with an oral dose of 400mg of L-lysine.
However, a 2009 study, also published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research, argued that L-lysine was not an effective management tool for countering the FHV-1 virus, and might make the infection worse. The study examined a group of 261 cats and found that dietary lysine supplementation had no influence on controlling or preventing infectious upper respiratory disease amongst these felines.
Frequent use of L-lysine as a supplement lowers levels of arginine, an amino acid essential to cats; low arginine levels may cause serious health issues in felines. Arginine is responsible for critical body functions, such as kidney filtration, immune system function, hormone function, and wound healing.
Worse yet, a cat with arginine deficiency may die from hyperammonemia (ammonia intoxication), as cats are unable to synthesize arginine. Because of these conclusions, some veterinarians have reversed their position on L-lysine and no longer recommend its use on cats although it was never shown that such a severe symptom resulted from lysine administration.
Cats with digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome or ulcers, might find their chronic conditions worsened when taking L-lysine supplementation, due to negative interactions with other prescribed medications. Occasionally, a cat may develop an allergy to the L-lysine medication, resulting in difficulty breathing, dizziness, and rashes.
Because of the uncertainty surrounding its effectiveness, and the findings of the 2015 study, some veterinarians are more reluctant to prescribe L-lysine. Other doctors are waiting on new studies to be completed and results published. Until more information is available, err on the side of caution and discuss with your veterinarian whether L-lysine is right for your cat.
During active infection, cats may present with frequent sneezing, inflammation of the eyes and nasal mu