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2 cats with chronic herpes. Can I use elderberry juice?

I have a couple of cats who have chronic herpes according to my vet. I treat it periodically with antibiotics but it’s effectiveness is short lived. My question is: since this is a virus could it be helped by taking elderberry juice/syrup since it is a natural anti-viral. I have plenty of elderberries. I certainly would not give it to my cats unless I was certain it would not poison them.


14 Responses to “2 cats with chronic herpes. Can I use elderberry juice?”

  1. Roxanne Levinson, DVM - Smyrna, GA says:

    Chronic herpes infections in cats can often be controlled or at least have the clinical signs decreased by adding L-lysine to the cat’s daily diet. Doses of 250 to 500 mg per day are usually recommended, and it will take approximately two weeks for any improvement to be seen. Many cats will need to stay on the supplement to keep the signs under control, but some cats can be taken off the supplement after 1-2 months without signs immediately returning. L-lysine is available at many health food stores. It is believed to work by keeping an essential nutrient for Herpes virus replication bound up and unavailable to the virus.

    Roxanne Levinson, DVM
    ARKLE Veterinary Care
    Smyrna, GA

  2. PETVET1 says:

    I would not give elderberry juice. No proof that it is helpful in cats and could be harmful…..but…who knows?


  3. Dr. Bob Esplin - Sylvania, OH says:

    L-lysine would be better.

    You need a holistic vet to comment on elderberry.

    Dr. Bob Esplin, DVM

    Sylvania, OH

  4. Frank Akawi, DVM - New York, NY says:

    The best treatment for that is 250mg of amino acid lysine daily for 2 weeks as needed. A well known blockage of herpes virus replications.

    Frank J. Akawi, DVM
    New York, NY

  5. Mike Keem, DVM - East Aurora, NY says:

    L-lysine is what is recommended for cats infected with FHV-1 to help prevent flareups. We use a product called Viralys in gel form for cats in our practice.

    Mike Keem, DVM
    Aurora Pet Hospital
    East Aurora, NY

  6. lesley says:

    I have used lysine in my cat with some results but when I started to give her elderberry juice. 2 cc It cleared up the eye infections rapidly (over night)
    I will be speaking with my vet to get blood work done to assess for toxicity.

  7. trisha says:

    lesley, did you determine that elderberry was safe for cats from your success using it with the eye infections? Since elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is such a powerful anti-viral, I’ve often wondered if it was safe for cats, since they can be devastated by so many types of virus infections. I’ve noticed that some postings say the “flowers” of the elderberry are completely safe but that the stem and leaves of elderberry are slightly toxic. So what about the fruit, the berry itself? Hopefully it is safe, because what a wonderful option to have in healing our precious friends. Trisha

  8. lia says:

    Aloha I hope you will be able to offer some suggestions to help our older cat Lucky. He is a rescue cat we got 7 yrs ago. They didn’t know his age, very ill, abused, had a 5″ scar from a dog bite, and a bad upper respiratory infection that we had to leave him at a vets for a week before we could bring him home.

    He was also diagnosed with kidney problems 3 yrs ago and we hydrate him 1x a wk. Been giving him tripsy remedy each day for the last yr.

    Over the yrs he has had occasional cat flu reoccurance, but last yr. he had developed sneezing fits and the vet told us this would most likely never go away, flare up when stressed. When he’s gotten very bad, he was prescribed antibiotics including a new one for feline herpes. They help for a while, but it always comes back. This has strained our limited fixed income with the costs of antibiotics and office visits and I don’t feel antibiotics are good to keep giving him.

    (he is a good diet of raw organic rabbit, duck, pumpkin, wild salmon oil, taurine that I make up for him)

    His breathing has been getting worse, sinus are blocked on left side, and he hasn’t been feeling well for the last 2 wks. I’ve found your site and a few other possible suggestons and hoped you would help us.

    Is elderberry or echanacia safe to give him?

    Leslie mentioned she gave it to her cat for eye infection (2cc of syrup)and she said it worked wonders.

    I know some things are good for humans, dogs but toxic to cats. I couldn’t find anything negative about the elderberry, had some and mixed a 1/4 capsule with organic goat yogurt and gave it to him via oral syringe last night and this morning.. I haven’t noticed a change yet…..please let me know if this is ok to do for him.

    please get back to me at your earliest convenience.

  9. JulieD says:

    I don’t know if elderberry products are safe for cats or not, but I know that raw elderberries are toxic to everyone, since they contain cyanide.

    I’m a fan of elderberry, but I’d only use professionally prepared syrups, juice, or supplements.

  10. JulieD says:

    Also, echinacea is placebo-only – so save your money, it won’t help a cat at all.

    Haven’t heard for sure yet about elderberry for cats, but the sneezing is most likely feline herpes, which is very common in outdoor and former street cats, it’s spread by contact. Since it’s viral and not bacterial, anti-biotics don’t apply-so save your money on those too.

    Anything the vets here care to add about addressing feline viruses?

  11. elleB says:

    i have 2 cats that had feline herpes (an upper respiratory virus) when i adopted them from a shelter. at a vets advice, i treated them daily with 500 mg of l-lysine and a couple drops of black elderberry in their food. within a month or two, they were healthy, happy cats. once they were well, i think i slowly tapered off both the l-lysine and elderberry… instead of every day, every other day, then 2 days, etc. neither seemed to have any negative reaction to either supplement. both remained symptom free for 5 years. unfortunately, recently one of my cats has had a flare up due to stress so i am beginning the same treatment again. i wanted to share this info for those who are wondering if elderberry is safe for cats. it seems to be fine with my cats and my vet recommended it. of course, always best to consult your vet and research thoroughly before taking advice on a blog. i can only speak from my experience… some cats might react differently.

    this is the brand i am using:

  12. Misty says:

    I have two cats with feline leukemia, I gave them both a tiny bit of black elderberry, they seem to do pretty well. They have nothing else to offer them so thought I would try mother natures anti viral. The vet said I don’t know what you are doing but these are two of the healthiest leukemia cats I have ever seen. They have made it past their first year. I hope we share many more.

  13. Peter says:

    I just seen your comment Misty and I’m delighted to hear black elderberry is safe as I have only just discovered it. I have a cat with sever FHV I am trying to treat at home as the vets can’t do anymore for her, they normally only get this chronic if they have Felv or Fiv, I am treating her for Felv with a product called AC11, as I have with all my Felv rescue cats for the last 4yrs, One passed away last year, but not from the Felv, she had chronic FHV as well and stopped eating and went into liver failer, but she was happy for three years, I have four who have been doing great for the last two years and one for the last year, are last one was on deaths door when we started treatment, with in two days he was eating and back on his feet, he’s about 10 months now and very fit and healthy, as we are just a small rescue we don’t have the funds to retest, so where not sure if it cure’s them or sends them into remission, I have also used it to cure cancer in a dog, and it’s great to steblise tempature’s in pets, giving them a chance to start eating again to get better, AC11 is a little expencive and you’d have to track it down where ever you live, but a grown cat gets quater a tablet a day for three weeks in food or water, so they last a while, if really sick you can give half a tablet for a few days till they start eating and drinking. We treat the felv cats every six months for three weeks, they do really great on it, and treat all new rescue cats coming in as well, have found it to be very successful. I did have my vet check it out for me and she is happy for me to continue to use it. It’s an eye opener to read up on it. AC11 is made by solgar. Hope your little one’s stay well.

  14. Bonnie Smith says:

    I too am curious about giving elderberry syrup to my cat. She has kitty HIV and has bad eye infections. The last infection did not respond to antibiotics. Has there been any new information about whether elderberry is safe for cats.

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