Lactoferrin for Animals

Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein found in the milk of cows.  It is thought to have the following effects:

– Promotes growth of the beneficial bacteria lactobacilli and bifidiobacteria while also creating an unfavorable environment for growth of others and inhibits adherence in the G.I. tract.
-Binds and transports iron in blood.
-Modulates immune function.
-Diminishes the damage of free radicals. 

In 1996, Dr. Sato and colleagues published a paper describing how they used lactoferrin to treat stomatitis in cats.  Topical application of lactoferrin reduced the severity and pain associated with inflammation of the gums of FIV positive as well as  FIV negative cats.  Unfortunately, the effect seems to be short lived.  It has been used to treat dogs born with a malfunctioning immune system called familial neutrophil dysfunction.  Current research is focused on using lactoferrin for treating influenza virus,  tuberculosis and hepatitis C.  

-Ammendolia, M. et al., Bovine lactoferrin-derived peptides as novel broad-spectrum inhibitors of influenza virus. Pathog Glob Health. March 2012;106(1): 9-12.
-Sato, R., et al. Oral administration of bovine lactoferrin for treatment of intractable stomatitis in feline immunodeficiency (FIV) -positive and FIV-negative cats. Am J Vet Res. Oct. 1996;57(10):1443-6.
-Sata, R., et al. Clinical effects of bovine lactoferrin on two canine cases with familial neutrophil dysfunction. J Vet Med Sci. September 2012;74(9):1177-83.
-Warren, E. ‘Nutraceuticals’ The VSPN notebook, 4/4/2007.
-WebMD, lactoferrin
-Welsh, K. et al., Influence of oral lactoferrin on Mycobacterium tuberculosis induced immunopathology.  Tuberculosis (Edinb). December 2011;91 Suppl 1(0): S105-13.

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.