What Is L-Lysine, Why Give It To Your Cat, And What Are The Benefits?

Today, we can get medicine for the prevention and treatment of some of the most perilous diseases our ancestors couldn’t cope with even just a century ago. And thanks to present-day medicine we can also get a vast variety of medications when it comes to our pets.

As pet parents, we often start worrying as soon as our feline furballs start acting strangely. In some cases, we even wonder if we should give our beloved kitties the medications we use for problems like indigestion, vomiting, common colds, and so forth. Fortunately, some medications manufactured for humans are also safe for cats.

Codeine, prednisolone, dexamethasone, and other similar pain relief drugs are indeed safe for cats. What’s more, vets actually prescribe such drugs, even though they are mainly manufactured for human consumers.

One of the numerous drugs available on the market for humans, which are also safe and beneficial for cats, is Lysine or L-lysine.

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What is L-lysine?

To put it simply, L-lysine is an amino acid, which is a common supplement for humans, cats, and dogs alike.

Now, L-Lysine is already present in every kitty’s body – but sometimes it’s not enough.

For decades it has been used to treat the infections of feline herpes, also known as FVR and FHV-1.

L-lysine for cats can be purchased over the counter without a special prescription from your vet. I recommend VetriScience Lysine Plus chews if your cat is in need of supplementation.

vetriscience lysine

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Each cat requires a different dosage of L-lysine. The safe dosage depends on the cat’s breed, current health state, age, and also body weight. As such, in order for you to find out the correct amount your pet requires, you’ll need to consult with a vet.

If your kitty is suffering from a pre-existing health condition, you should be careful when administering L-lysine or other supplements.

The Benefits of Giving L-lysine To Your Kitty

As mentioned above, the most popular application of L-lysine for cats is the treatment of the feline herpes virus. The amino acid is widely used to treat current symptoms of FHV-1, as well as reoccurring symptoms.

Feline herpes is often misdiagnosed as feline allergies (yes, cats can have allergies too).

Fortunately, L-lysine is effective in treating the symptoms not only of FHV-1 but allergic symptoms as well. The amino acid basically treats upper respiratory infections and can help with the numerous health problems derived from these infections.

L-lysine for cats can help with:

  • Feline herpes infection
  • Squinting
  • Runny nose
  • Discharge from the nose, mouth, and eye area
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Respiratory issues like panting
  • Conjunctivitis

Why is it beneficial?

L-lysine is beneficial for cats because it can not only relieve the aforementioned symptoms, but can also prevent them from reoccurring shortly after the kitty has experienced a flare-up.

Even though the amino acid is already present in the cat’s organism, its levels aren’t always high enough for the kitty to battle the infections. As such, administering L-lysine supplements can give your pet’s immune system a boost and help it treat the symptoms of the infection.

Small kittens and senior cats are usually the ones in need of L-lysine supplements. However, young cats aged 2-5 could also suffer from flare-ups, even though their immune systems are stronger than the ones of kittens and elder felines.

L-lysine is efficient for treating numerous health-based problems, but it’s not a miracle worker. In other words, if you administer it as a regular supplement without the explicit need to cure a recurring symptom, it won’t do anything good for your feline pal. The supplement won’t make the cat invincible or disease-proof. It’s meant to be given as a medication only.

Side effects of giving L-lysine to a cat

As it is with everything else in life, L-lysine has its pros and cons. Not only is it not suitable to be given as a dietary supplement without a present health issue at hand, but sometimes it can actually harm your kitty, even if you’re administering it as prescribed by a vet.

Here are the most common side effects of L-lysine for cats:

  • Compulsive and persistent scratching
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Facial swelling
  • Pale gums
  • Seizures

The L-lysine can interfere with other medications, which you’re currently giving your kitty. What’s more, cats suffering from digestive disorders or having weak stomachs by default could easily get diarrhea or get nauseous from it.

Even if it’s just a mild side effect, you should immediately alert your vet about it. Moreover, you could mistakenly be using L-lysine to treat symptoms that are actually masking a bigger and more dangerous disease.

Last, but not least, L-lysine can’t truly cure feline herpes. Once a cat contracts the virus, it will carry it for the rest of its life even if it never experiences any symptoms of the infection. Feline herpes cannot be cured, it can only be treated. As such, L-lysine shouldn’t be misinterpreted as an ultimate cure.

Should you give L-lysine to your cat?

The supplement has been used for decades for the treatment of the above-mentioned symptoms in cats. So, it’s perfectly safe to use it as long as your vet approves the correct dosage and it doesn’t interfere with other pre-existing health issues.

One of the easiest ways to administer L-lysine to your kitty is by giving it to them in chewable “treat” form. Regardless of the type of L-lysine you get, you should always administer it orally.

VetriScience Lysine Plus Chews

An easy way to give L-lysine to your furball is to get it in the form of cat treats. VetriScience offers excellent Lysine supplements in bite-sized chews.

They are manufactured specifically for cats. What’s more, they come in chicken flavor. Thus, even the finickiest felines out there will want to eat them. On top of that, the formula is suitable for kittens, as well as for adult cats.

Compared to most supplements for cats, these chews won’t cost you a small fortune.

Moreover, VetriScience’s products are not only efficient but also vet approved and perfectly safe for your fluffy pal. The manufacturer is a leader in best-selling supplements for the immune system, hip and joint care, muscle relaxants, and so forth. In other words, you won’t have to worry about getting cheated into buying an overpriced good-for-nothing supplement.

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Regardless of the type of L-lysine supplements you’re getting, always consult with a vet before administering them to your kitty. Your vet will advise you on the correct dosage, duration of the treatment, and the possible interference with another health-based issue.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

1 thought on “What Is L-Lysine, Why Give It To Your Cat, And What Are The Benefits?”

  1. My cat hated the lysine for cats. I bought the human 500 mg tablets. I used a pill splitter and divided each tablet in 8 parts. That was such a small piece. That he would swallow it with no problem.

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