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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Q for Tom/Steven: Boswella safe for cats?
Date: 22 Feb 1999 02:56:37 GMT

In <7ajupa$mm9$> Curious
<> writes:

>From a long-time lurker: Is Boswella safe to be administered to cats? It
>may well be a long time before this type of information is published, and
>we hoped you might be able to enlighten us.
>We have two cats, both with different problems that *may* benefit from
>Boswella as described at the LEF web site. (1) One cat has very bad
>inflammatory bowel disease, and has been on 5mg prednisone twice a day
>for half of his three years of life. It is anticipated that he will need
>to take this for the rest of his life.

   Are you sure it's not feline infectious peritonitis?  This does
produce a microvascular inflammatory bowel disease.  Nasty, and I hope
your other cats are vaccinated if this is the case.  If it's not FIP, I
suppose the treatment is the same.

>(2) The other cat suffers from significant patellar luxation. At two
>years old, he does not appear to be in pain at this point, but one can
>anticipate that unless the situation improves this will become a real
>problem for him in the future.
>Just for information, both cats take Slippery Elm powder and Shark
>Cartilage daily. The latter, along with a change in diet, has calmed the
>IBD quite a bit, but the steroids are unfortunately still required. Also,
>glucosamine and chondroitin were given to the cat with patellar luxation,
>but were discontinued due to digestive upset.
>Thanks in advance for the reply.


    I have no information about Boswellia for cats.  Cats are obligate
carnivores with poor tolerance for plant toxins.  Herbs for cats is a
bad, tricky, and dangeous subject, and I would not presume to mess with
it, or even guess at it.  Except to suggest you try to stay away from

   Anti-inflammatory stuff for cats is best along on the lines of the
fats they naturally do so well on.  Which means fish oil and coldwater
fish meat, with lots of extra vitamin E (50 IU a day).  It's no good
trying to divert their metabolism away from arachadonate with GLA,
since they can't make arachadonate anyway (as humans do), and they get
it in any good quality cat diet.  Don't mess with that pathway.  For
your kitty with FIP, you may be stuck on the steroids (but see what
more fish and E does-- you may be able to lower the dose).

   For a cat with joint disease, especially patellar suluxation, there
might be a corrective surgery possible, to redirect the muscle before
the joint is damaged.  I don't know.  But it would take a trip to a
very sophisticated animal orthopedic center, such as exists at UC Davis
in California.  Suggest a web search if the animal means enough to you
to spend the money.

                                 Steve Harris M.D. (not a vet, so take
all the above for what it's worth, which may not be much)

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Vitamin E Toxicity??  How Much??
Date: 4 Mar 1999 09:48:54 GMT

In <> "physical (Droll Troll)"
<> writes:
>Michael H. wrote:
>> physical (Droll Troll) wrote:
>> > The 1989 RDA for E is an incredible 10 IU (No, there's no missing
>> > zero's folks, that's TEN). LOWERED, incredibly, from the 30 IU in the
>> > 1980 RDA!! An idiot friend of mine gave an already pretty screwed up
>> > stray cat 400 IU of E. The cat deteriorated so badly so quickly it
>> > had to be put to sleep.
>> Sad. I know that cat's cannot digest vegetable oils, and so that itself
>> would be a problem with vit E.
> Are you sure about this? If it were true, diarrhea would have been the
> result, not death. Given their penchant for fish, I would not imagine a
> difficulty with any type of oil. Or salt. It seems my cats line up to
> "bathe" me after a workout. Yuk.

    Agreed.  The idea that cats have intrinsic difficulties with oils
or salt is rather hard to believe.  They're made to eat protein and fat
in practicly unlimited dietary fractions.  Far more likely that the
screwed up cat in question already had some bad disease like FIP, and
the vitamin E had nothing to do with its demise.

    One of my cats has gotten 50-100 IU a day of vitamin E for months
as a wildly experimental treatment for his FeLV (since it seems to help
mice with the very similar murine leukemia virus).  And a healthier
looking cat you've never seen-- he's solid muscle with lightning
reflexes, runs and plays like a kitten, and has a coat of silk.  I have
no idea if the E is doing a thing to the the FeLV he carries (since
he's never been symptomatic), but I think I CAN conclude that megadose
vitamin E is not terribly toxic for cats (as a matter of fact, both my
cats get a big dose, since It's hard to separate them at feeding of
tinned food, where the vitamin E oil goes, so I usually don't bother.
They're both fine, and look great).  I can find no good studies of mega
E dosing (5-10 IU/lb/day) over very long periods in cats, in the
literature-- so I can only rely on my n of 2.  That's enough to say,
though, that it's surely not cat poison.

   Moreover, if cats are fed a diet containing primarily fish as
protein source, we know extra vitamin E supplements (though not in the
above megadose range) are necessary for them, as they are for many
animals.  That much omega-3 is a terrible oxidative strain, even for a
cat.   How esquimos get away with it, I don't know.  They probably all
have steatitis, like those flax fed pigs.

                                    Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Vitamin E Toxicity??  How Much??
Date: 5 Mar 1999 13:59:05 GMT

In <> "physical (Droll Troll)"
<> writes:

>Steven B. Harris wrote:
>	The cat I'm talking about got _at least_ 400 IU in one shot. That's a
>lot for a cat.

   Well, I didn't write that.  And if you're going to be giving cats
(or other animals) shots of E, it depends entirely on what kind you
give them, and how.  There are comercial vet water soluble vitamin E
products, such as Vital-E, which are basically complicated phospholipid
cremophor-stabalizied emulsions.  They are used by hog producers to
keep farrow piglets alive through oxidative stress, and so on.  Or
saving the black rhinos from hemolysis from their G-6-PD deficiencies
when given odd foods in zoos.  They can be used in dogs at doses of 50
IU per kg, INTRAVENOUSLY.  But a dog is not a cat.  So without trying
it, I can't tell.  Cremephor being a plant product (some kind of
modified soy lecithin) does not sound like something a cat might like
(even humans and dogs occasionally get nasty allergies to it when used,
as it is, widely, in injectable fat soluable meds).

   On the other hand, this guy may have injected the poor cat directly
with oil out of a capsule, and given it some kind of abscess or emboli
or activated macrophage mess.  Or used "water-soluble" E from any one
of a number of great tasting health food store liquid E's, which all
are rapidly fatal when injected parenterally.  For reasons the
companies that make them refuse to speculate upon.  But it's true.


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