Microbiome Restorative Therapy in Pets
Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA
The term microbiome is now coming into the public mind set more frequently. What exactly is the microbiome? The microbiome consists of all the microorganisms in your pet’s body. Theses microorganisms include the bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses that inhabit the digestive tract. There are trillions of microbes in the body. Over 500 species and 1000 subspecies exist there. These microorganisms live symbiotically and comprise 80% of your pet’s immune system. As such, it plays a major role in your pet’s health and is necessary in maintaining a long healthy life. These gut bacteria are essential to health. When balanced and healthy, the microbiome will ensure that your pet absorbs nutrients properly, maintains a healthy immune system, inhibit pathogen growth, excrete toxins, produce vitamins and neurotransmitters, digests food appropriately, ensures an immune response when needed, regulates hormones, maintains an appropriate weight, has a healthy skin and coat and lives a long life. Your pet’s mood will be appropriate when their microbiome is functioning appropriately as well. A balanced, healthy microbiome will ensure a balanced, healthy pet!
Many elements in our world can cause disruption of your pet’s microbiome. Antibiotics and NSAID’S (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) disrupt the balance of the microbiome. Other offenders include pesticides, chemicals, dewormers, disinfectants, environmental toxins and herbicides. Diet, age and the general health of your pet also influence the gut microbiome. This is why diet is important, as it will influence the microbes in your pet’s gut. When there is an imbalance in the microbiome we have what is called dysbiosis. Any condition in which there is an imbalance in the microbiome can cause illness. This includes the pet who vomits intermittently or consistently, the on and off diarrhea or soft stool, the pet that eats but is losing weight, the constant itching from allergies, the constant scratching at the ears from on-going ear infections.
How does this imbalance potentially affect your pet? Conditions that result from a dysfunctional microbiome include chronic gastrointestinal diseases such as vomiting, diarrhea and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). Other conditions include autoimmune diseases, diabetes, cancer, allergies, asthma, chronic ear infections, many metabolic conditions, as well as, behavior problems.
Fecal Microbiota Transplant involves transferring material from a healthy donor to a sick recipient. This means we are taking healthy fecal material from one pet and transferring it to the gastrointestinal tract of a sick pet. It’s like giving them a whole new immune system. What a wonderful tool to add to a treatment plan!
The donors have been naturally reared with vaginal deliveries. They live in a chemical free home and yard. There are no pesticides, herbicides, chlorine or floride in the water they drink. They have never had antibiotics or pesticides. They are fed raw diets. They do not use any chemical flea or tick products, only natural herbal repellants and amber collars. They have had minimal vaccinations and are titered regularly.
The Fecal Microbiota Transplant procedure is relatively short and rarely needs any sedation with direct transfer. Oral capsules are also available. In my hospital, rectal Insufflation is performed prior to transfer to stimulate your pet to defecate and to prime the gut and flood it with oxygen rich ozone. After the transfer, it is best not to allow the pet to defecate for a few hours. This allows longer contact time with the intestinal mucosa and will enhance better outcome. Treatment is individualized to determine number and frequency of treatment. The pet must be on a healthy diet and nutraceuticals to pave the way for “new soil to be planted” so the immune system can grow and flourish with the introduction of new healthy bacteria and microbes into the intestinal tract.
In my professional opinion, this treatment is literally like giving your pet a new immune system to work with. Obviously, if they are ill or have a chronic condition, the immune system they have has been compromised by any number of influences from drugs to the environment. What a wonderful treatment to have in my tool box at my ANIMAL WELLNESS CENTER, Chadds Ford, Pa 19317.
Dr. Rose DiLeva is owner and director of Animal Wellness Center in Chadds Ford, Pa. 19317. Phone number is 610-558-1616. She is a University of Pennsylvania graduate and has practiced holistic integrative veterinary medicine for over 25 years. Dr. DiLeva is available for video consultations. Check us out at www.altpetdoc.com….. follow us on Instagram @ROSEDILEVA_ANIMALWELLNESS