What is the microbiome and why does it matter?
A “microbiome” refers to the complete picture of micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, etc.) present in the body of a dog, cat, human or another environment.
In today’s world, many pets (and people) have an imbalanced microbiome, because the populations of good bacteria are being disrupted and depleted by modern diets/processed foods, frequent use of antibiotics, pesticides/flea products, vaccinations, etc.
A balanced intestinal microbiome is crucial to good health in dogs & cats, as well as humans. We are actually designed to live in harmony with billions of bacteria, which help to improve and maintain health. In fact, most healthy animals have more than 1000 unique species of bacteria in their bodies, and these bacterial cells outnumber their own body cells by more than 10 times over. This means your pet has over a hundred trillion bacteria in his/her body.
Many of us don’t really appreciate the impressive work these bacteria do to protect the health of our animals (and ourselves). Typically, we have been taught that bacteria are bad “germs” that cause disease. In reality, there are both helpful and harmful bacteria, but problems are more likely to occur when there are deficient numbers of good bacteria.
The latest scientific research shows that the microbiome plays essential roles in:
Helpful ways to replenish and support a healthy microbiome include:
1) Fresher diet options vs heavily processed foods
2) Wider diversity and rotations of food ingredients within the diet
3) Regular intake of probiotics-canine/feline specific best; also raw milk, fermented foods
4) Adding sources of prebiotics - such as inulin, FOS, medicinal mushrooms
5) Fecal transplants (feces transfer from a very healthy donor animal)
See future/following articles for more info on these topics!
Or contact us for an appointment to discuss specific therapies for your pet.