Polyprenyl Immunostimulant

Published October 2012

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Half of all respiratory illness in cats is due to feline rhinotracheitis, caused by the feline herpes virus (FHV).

Polyprenyl Immunostimulant (PI) is a drug that comes from plants. PI has been shown to improve the cell mediated immunity that fights viral disease in cats. When PI is given as an oral medication to cats with feline rhinotracheitis, it has proven effective at reducing the symptoms of and length of time it takes the cat to recover.

Dry FIP

Off label, PI can also fight the dry form of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).

The Research Study

Dr. Al Legendre, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, began to study the use of PI to control symptoms of rhinotracheitis. He then expanded his study to see if PI was effective against FIP.

In his first study, 58 cats with dry FIP received PI. Some cats died very early in the study, however, 22% of the cats lived for least 165 days. Typically, cats with dry FIP live about six months, with their overall health fluctuating over time. The cats in Legendre's study seemed to enjoy a higher quality of life until near the end when the cat's condition deteriorated rapidly.

A small percentage of the cats in the study that have received PI have survived 365 days past treatment. One miracle PI survivor, Gingo, is still alive and well 7 years after diagnosis.

The Future

Polyprenyl Immunostimulant (PI) is the first drug offering real hope for cats diagnosed with FIP.

Legendre says, “It appears that polyprenyl immunostimulant improves the survival times in cats with dry form FIP. It appears to improve well being of the cats and improves appetite. This is not the final answer to treatment of FIP but perhaps a step in the right direction.”

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