Benefits of Micro-Biome Restorative Therapy For Pets
Humans and animals with certain medical conditions that have arisen from or have been exacerbated by damage to the microbiome can be helped by a healthy fecal transplant. Like humans, a companion animal may struggle with gastrointestinal issues, allergies and a weakened immune system after years of exposure to antibiotics, other drugs, environmental chemicals and poor diet.
How can the immune system be rebooted?
One way is to replenish one’s damaged microbiome with healthy symbiotic gut flora. A telling sign for the many positive possibilities of fecal transplants are the interesting observations made in many of the animals that have received micro-biome restorative therapy, or MBRT (also known as Fecal Microbiota Transplantation, or FMT).
MBRT (FMT) has been used for human Clostridium difficile amelioration and is being used for other gastrointestinal issues. In the past five years, multiple research papers in various journals, including The American Journal of Gastroenterology, have shown the value of this treatment. For more than eight years, veterinarians have been leveraging MBRT treatment protocols for a wide variety of ailments in animals and the health benefits observed have been truly amazing. Especially in cases of chronic illnesses, there has been dramatic change post-treatment to health and behavior. A key factor in the success is the strength and health of the microbiome donors. The donors must be carefully vetted and consistently cared for to consistently repeat positive changes.
Just as important as the source of the micro-biome, is the “prepping the gut” of the recipient. It is vital to create a terrain that is hospitable to the new, healthy microbes. This can be done through proper diet and care, including feeding a fresh, whole foods organic diet and adding nutraceuticals specific to the recipient’s profile. After treatment, keeping the animal on a fresh, organic, pesticide- and preservative- free diet is an important way to mimic the gut terrain that was these microbes’ original environment. It is imperative to be aware of what the animal is exposed to, to ascertain what can and cannot be given to a patient that has such delicate microbiomes.
How long does one MBRT last?
It depends. In some transplants, after only one treatment, an animal can completely recover from their illness. But there are others that need routine treatments to stabilize and maintain the body throughout the healing process. The criterion for re-in-oculation is if the symptoms resurface.
There is much we do not know, about ourselves, our world, and our universe. We do know, or should know, that it is all extremely complex and that science is always learning new facts, creating new theories and tossing old ideas. Paying attention to the emerging science of the mind/gut connection may bring medical science into a new and fruitful paradigm of health care for humans and animals.
Margo Roman, DVM, CVA, COT ,CPT, FAAO, is a veterinarian at MASH Vet (Main St. Animal Services of Hopkinton). She has practiced integrative and functional veterinary medicine for almost 40 years. For more information, visit MASHVet.com.