Unless you’ve lived a life devoid of modern communication devices, research of the connection between microbes and health has been hard to miss. Just about any ailment plaguing humanity is being looked at from a microbial angle.
The microbiome is the entirety of microbes that share our body space. These microbes are generally non-pathogenic and exist in harmony and symbiotically with their host. Symbiosis means that the microbes and the body mutually benefit from one another. Trillions of microbes are part of the human body. That’s 10 times more microbial cells than human cells.
Initial exposure to microbes comes from the birth canal. Animals will also commonly replenish their digestive flora by eating feces. As disgusting as this sounds, “eating shit” promotes a healthy life.
Daisy, a very proper poodle lady used to be very picky about the poop she would choose. On our walks she paid no attention to some horse manure piles, while others seemed to be a delicacy.
Foals often eat their mother’s feces as they transition to eating more solid food. Horses with GI issues can also at times be found dining on their pasture mate’s excrements to heal their gut.
In the wild, dogs and cats tend to first feast on the intestines of their prey, thereby ingesting large amounts of microorganisms. Dogs will also much enjoy a buffet of rotting meat and further increase the intake of microbes.
The microbiome plays a MAJOR role in health – physical as well as mental.
- Intestinal maturation
- Inhibition of pathogen growth
- Digestion of food
- Protection of mucosal barrier (prevention of leaky gut)
- Regulation of hormones
- Excretion of toxins
- Production of vitamins and other healing compounds
- Training the immune system and modulating immune response
- Production of Secretory IgA (immune globulins)
- Neural development
- Synthesis of neurotransmitters (90% of serotonin is made in the GI tract)
With 80% of the body’s immune system residing in the gastrointestinal tract, we can easily deduct that its health is paramount to the proper functioning of the entire body.
Little research is available in the animal field, but in humans the microbiome is found to play a role in auto-immune diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, fibromyalgia, allergies and some cancers. An imbalance in the microbiome has also been related to obesity. Since microbes in the gut play an important role in the production of neurotransmitters, a disturbance in gut flora affects the brain, potentially causing psychological disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and other neurochemical imbalances.
A few veterinarians, among them Dr. Margo Romano, DVM, are successfully using Microbiome Restorative Therapy (MBRT) in their practice. The process of transplantation is very simple. Finding a healthy fecal donor on the other hand can be tricky. Many criteria need to be met in order for this process to work. The donor must be in excellent health and also live a life style free from chemical exposure.
Symptoms and diseases that can benefit from MBRT are gastro-intestinal disturbances, neurological issues, hypothyroidism, aggression, anxiety, skin conditions, different types of cancers, Lyme disease, kidney and liver issues, chronic ear infections, etc.
For more information on how you can heal your pet’s gut, click here to watch my FREE Masterclass.