Transfer Factors and Your Cat’s Health

August 31, 2011

in Cats

by Kurt Schmitt

If your cat is in poor health from a long term chronic illness, or is in a weakened state due to injury or recent surgery, many veterinarians are recommending supplements containing transfer factors. These are immune boosting molecules that may help your cat fight off disease.

In order to understand how this works, it’s necessary to understand a little about how the immune system works. Transfer factors are protein molecules and are part of the immune system.

Cats, like all mammals, have an immune system that protects them from disease.

In a healthy immune system, foreign invaders, such as bacteria, are recognized and the body mounts a defense against them. Certain specialized cells are called on to attack the invaders. When the invader is defeated, the attack is called off. This is a proper immune response.

On occasion, the immune response doesn’t play out as expected. A cat with a compromised immune system has trouble defending against invaders and will more easily become ill. In conditions such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), the immune system is weakened and doesn’t cope well.

In other cases, the immune system doesn’t know when to shut down, or incorrectly identifies a part of the body as foreign. In autoimmune diseases, such as many forms of arthritis, an immune response is mounted against the body’s own tissues. The immune system is misdirected and doesn’t shut itself off. In effect, the body is at war with itself.

Transfer factors act as messengers, alerting your cat’s body to the presence of foreign invaders. These proteins also have a modulating effect and tell the body when not to attack.

The balancing or modulating effect that transfer factors have make them essential to proper immune system function. This means that they can be used on cats with compromised immune systems, as well as those with autoimmune diseases like arthritis.

Specific products are now available for your pet, including a version for cats, that contain transfer factors. This is a dietary supplement for your cat, combining the immune boosting power of transfer factor with nutrients that are beneficial to overall cat health.

There are a number of veterinarians using homeopathic techniques, and some have added products containing transfer factor to their recommendations. If you’re interested in boosting the immune system of your cat with transfer factors, check first to ensure your vet is open to the idea, and that there are no negative interactions.

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