Probiotics And Prebiotics

Probiotics are the healthy bacteria which live in the intestines of all mammals. They are essential for the proper digestion and assimilation of food as well as helping to regulate the gut.

Even the immune system depends on a healthy bacterial population in the body. Probiotics live in the gut, the mouth, on the skin and in all orifices, where they help to maintain health.

Why Use Probiotics?

Most holistic practitioners, like me, have been using probiotics for decades, but it is only now that our colleagues in the 'normal' allopathic veterinary world have realized their importance. The enormous range of benefits is only just being discovered by scientists, doctors and vets.

This week, there was an article in the Veterinary Times entitled 'Probiotics: the new treatment for acute diarrhoea in cats and dogs'.

Pet Plus has been an essential part of my treatment for acute and chronic diarrhoea since its creation in 1996. You may have already read my article about Chester, a Golden Retriever who had diarrhoea for 6 years!

He's completely healthy now and has his Pet Plus every single day! There are hundreds of dogs and cats with intestinal troubles, all related to diet, all sorted by adding Pet Plus to their food. The probiotics are definitely part of the story.

Probiotics are involved in so many areas of the body that their inclusion in any diet is now regarded as essential. By colonizing most of the body's surfaces, they help to prevent pathogenic, bad bacteria and yeasts from invading.

How Many Different Bacteria Are Needed?

There is a lot of discussion on this topic and no real conclusion. Some people think it is beneficial to have loads of different healthy bacteria. It is also thought that if there are lots of different types of bacteria all trying to colonize the one place, they will be competing against each other.

The 'strongest' one will win and the 'weaker' colonizers will be lost. That is why we have chosen the 'strongest' one, Lactobacillus acidophilus.

It is generally accepted that at least 500,000,000 CFU are needed to maintain an effective presence. Currently in Pet Plus, we have 750,000,000 CFU (Colony Forming Units) which has proved to be very effective over the years.

Which Bacteria Are The Best Probiotics?

A lot of the drug companies that have suddenly realized there's a huge market in probiotics are using Enterococcus faecium.

The world leading manufacturer of nutritional supplements that I have chosen to make Pet Plus refuses to use Enterococcus faecium because they regard it as a contaminant! They know that it readily transfers antibiotic resistance and as such is dangerous.

Lactobacillus acidophilus has been used for decades and is well established as a completely safe and extremely effective probiotic. It is found naturally in the intestines of dogs and cats as well as the herbivores they would eat in the wild.

Being the best colonizer, it also creates a slightly acidic environment which repels the pathogens and enables it to survive transit through the stomach.

Probiotics are not found in pet food. They are very delicate and so could not survive the processing involved in the manufacture of pet food. Unless you are feeding whole herbivores to your dogs and cats, probiotics will also be missing from a raw food diet comprising meat and bone.

Dogs can supplement their diet by eating herbivore faeces. Cats can gain probiotics by catching herbivores and eating them whole. But these are rather unreliable! Adding Pet Plus ensures that our pets are getting the probiotics, prebiotics and a host of other fantastic nutrients every day.

What Are Prebiotics?

Probiotics are living organisms and need food, now known as prebiotics. Fructo-oligo-saccharides (FOS) have recently been identified as the most useful and are found in all sorts of vegetable matter. Pet Plus contains plenty in the form of wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa and even the ground flax seeds act as prebiotics. We have now included Frutafit Inulin IQ, an excellent, tasteless FOS from chicory, which stimulates the growth of existing healthy gut bacteria as well as promoting the colonization of the Lactobacillus acidophilus in the Pet Plus.

It is now thought that the prebiotics are more important in a supplement than the probiotics, as they support the existing healthy bacterial population in the gut. We have both in Pet Plus.

In Summary

It is essential to provide a good source of healthy bacteria (probiotics) and support them with the nutrients they need (prebiotics) to maximize the benefits of good quality nutrition. In nature, carnivores would obtain these from the intestines of their prey. We need to provide them for our pets, whether their diet is raw or processed.

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22 comments on “Probiotics And Prebiotics”

  1. Hi Suzi
    Thanks for your reply! Their main diet is turkey fillets and I cut these into good size pieces which make them chew the food without swallowing it whole (like they used to do with biscuits). They have raw meaty bones once/twice a week. They have a poussin split between them and they eat every part of it, bones as well. I'll try them with the chicken wings and let you know how I/we get on. I already have tea tree at home. Can this be used on its own or does it need to be diluted with water?
    Rachel 馃檪

    1. Well done! I usually mix the Tea Tree oil with some Aloe Vera either straight from the inside of the Aloe Vera plant leaves or from some clean Aloe Vera juice (like the Pukka one) or gel.
      Keep up the good work! You're doing brilliantly!
      Suzi x

      1. Hi Suzi

        Just noticed on the Aloe Vera juice that it only lasts for 3 weeks once open but doesn't expire until next year (if that makes sense). Does this 3 week shelf life apply for cats as well as humans?

        1. Yes, shelf life applies to the product, so of relevance to whoever consumes it. Drink some yourself! It'll do you the power of good. You could freeze some. So keep some in the fridge and put some in the freezer in several small bottles so you can defrost small amounts at a time. As with everything, just let it thaw naturally. Apparently, the taste changes a little and there'll inevitably be a little decrease in its activity, but that's better than letting it go off / mouldy in the fridge. Glad you asked the question Rachel. Thanks.
          Have a lovely Christmas too. You could take some Aloe Vera to help cope with the excesses of Christmas!
          Suzi x

  2. Hi Suzi and everyone
    Just thought I'd share my story. Bliss who is now 7 has suffered with gingivitis off and on since she was a kitten; however the last couple of years it had got much worse. She had some blood tests (which were clear) done along with xrays and was diagnosed with periodontal disease, affecting all of her gums. The vet said to me that it is due to plaque formation on her teeth but after a scale and polish, her gums would swell back up within a month or so. High dose steroids helped but once they were reduced, the swelling reoccured. The vet suggested long term steroid/immunosupressant treatment which I refused as I thought that this would take its toll on her organs, etc. The only other option that the vet offered if the worst came to the worse was removing her teeth (which I think is very extreme).
    After speaking to Suzi about a year ago, I started both of my cats on a raw food diet which Bliss took to straight away. She eats just about anything! The one side of her mouth looks much better than it was but the other side is still a bit swollen. I did stop cleaning her teeth once she was on the raw food diet but as the swelling is still there, I thought I should start brushing them again? She allows me to brush them with undiluted Aquadent but the gums do bleed slightly (not everyday). Is there anything else you can suggest that I do? One other question, my other cat Stella is not too fussed on the Pet Plus (she's fussy and won't eat organs) so in the mornings, I split one pouch of Almo Nature Raw and mix a small scoop of Pet Plus and Plaque Off into it. The rest of the day they have raw food. Is this ok?
    Since their diets have changed, I have noticed that they seem more playful and mischevious.
    I want to thank Suzi for speaking to me over the phone and for her continued support. I felt like I was at my wits end, not knowing what to do for the best.

    1. Sorry I forgot to say that even though she has been on the raw food diet for nearly a year she still suffers from bad breath. I have tried using Virbac Hexarinse which she absolutely hates. This put her off having her teeth brushed so have stopped using it.

      1. Well done Rachel. Those are excellent changes you've made with an excellent result. Sounds like there's still more to do, but it is SO much better than having all her teeth taken out, which is very painful and rarely done well as the roots of cat teeth are extremely difficult to remove in their entirety, which is essential! Even if the job is done properly, 50% of cats will still have sore gums, so with no teeth, life becomes a very painful, wretched existence, as they can't groom themselves properly either. And cats hate being dirty!
        I'd suggest you get some raw meaty bone for them to chew now. This will help to clean the teeth without the trauma of brushing and will also stimulate their gums and jaw muscles. Chicken wings are a good start, then try some raw rabbit from Woldsway
        There are no chemical solutions that are of any real help with tooth brushing. Feeding raw meaty bones is very much better. Also, it's great nutrition for them, really good exercise and keeps them entertained and in touch with their wild side!
        You could get some Aloe Vera and pour a little into a dish to dip the tooth brush in so you can brush her teeth in Aloe Vera. Pukka is the best make, from health food shops like Beanfreakes, our local one. Tea Tree Oil is also a useful anti-bacterial oil, so you could mix 2 drops in with the aloe vera in the dish and brush her teeth with that mixture. Lavender oil is also an excellent anti bacterial agent, so you could do a week with Tea Tree than a week with Lavender.
        Cats are funny souls that's for sure! I have a Maincoon cat as a customer who likes to dip his paw into the pot of Pet Plus and lick it off, but is less keen on it in his food! You could try that! I'm hoping she will be able to get a good picture of that for my website!
        Almo Nature Raw unfortunately isn't actually raw (strange name then???) as you know, but if that's a way of getting little fuss pants to take the Pet Plus, then that's fine! I don't think you need Plaque Off as well.
        As for the bad breath, that probably comes mostly from her mouth, but could also be coming from her lungs and digestive tract, so I expect if you can get off the processed foods altogether, that may help. First of all though, get her mouth cleared up, then see what else needs to be done.
        If her mouth continues to be sore and swollen, it would be a good idea for me to give her an anaesthetic and thoroughly clean out everything from under her gums, flush it all out with aloe vera, polish it all thoroughly and ensure there are no decay lesions brewing under there. they're called FORL (Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions) or colloquially, cat neck lesions. Years ago we did try treating these with fluoride based filling materials called glass ionomers, but the lesions are so aggressive and destructive, it is often best to remove the offending teeth, except in the most superficial lesions. These holes are extremely painful and very difficult to diagnose without anaesthesia and X-rays, so time consuming and therefore expensive.
        So see how you get on with these suggestions and let me know what happens.
        Well done!
        Best wishes,
        Suzi

  3. Hi Suzi,I have started my cat on petplus and will wait to see if it helps his sore gums,he is FIV+ and at the moment apart from his gums you would'nt know it !only trouble is he has fleas and wondered if is safe to use Advantage etc on him with his immune system being compromised?

    1. Thanks for your question. You're very wise to ask. Once he's on the Pet Plus especially with raw food, the fleas will just vanish, amazingly enough. To be quicker, you might want to try one of these natural treatments: Billy No Mates has an excellent reputation; Brewer's Yeast (already in Pet Plus for B vitamins); diatomaceous earth (be very careful with this stuff and only use food grade or garden DE, not the pool stuff); Thornit is just for ear mites if he has those as well; garlic is toxic to cats, so don't use that.
      And remember to treat the environment as well. Wash his bed. Vacuum everywhere really thoroughly especially skirting boards, all the nooks and crannies in the furniture, then sprinkle salt everywhere as this will dessicate and therefore kill the larvae. It's a 3-4 week life cycle, so vacuum and re-salt everywhere for at least 4 weeks. Having said that, 20 years ago, before the days of Pet Plus, I first learned about the brilliance of feeding raw when my 4 kibble-fed cats had fleas and my children were being bitten. How embarrassing was that!!! I changed the cats immediately onto raw food and the fleas literally disappeared without the use of any noxious chemicals and without any house treatment. Maybe I was just lucky. We humans all changed onto raw food as well and feel much better for it!
      Let me know how you get on.
      Suzi

      1. Hello again Susie,i thought i would update you about my cat Alfie.i have been giving him Petplus and Aloe vera juice on your recommendation and he is full of energy!Regarding his Gingivitis,after having most of his teeth removed the vet said his mouth is "a million per cent better"I am convinced it is the Pet plus and Aloe vera that have given such wonderful results!The only trouble is he will not touch raw food or just has a lick of it!Never mind i will keep trying with different ones.I just want to ask you if aloe vera is completely safe to give my cats long term as i know the actual PLANT is toxic to animals?Thank you for your much needed advice,i don't know what i would have done without it!Best wishes to you,Sue

        1. Brilliant result Sue! Thanks for sharing!
          The aloe vera is a medicine and is just used to reduce the inflammation. So as the inflammation has gone, you don't need to use it any more. The Pet Plus is the most important and will continue to provide Alfie with the nutrients his body needs to heal itself.
          Don't worry if he refuses to eat raw food! It's a shame, but as long as he's taking his Pet Plus, the job is done!
          Does he like raw egg? Most cats just eat the yolk...so you can make meringues with the 'white' !!! Egg is an excellent source of nutrients and really easy to digest too.
          With the processed food you give him, aim for ones with absolutely no chemicals, so make sure you can read and understand the ingredients. None of this 'animal derivatives' rubbish, which is just the cheap bits of animals not fit for human consumption (and therefore, as far as I'm concerned, not fit for animal consumption at all!). The best is to buy meat and bone minces and very lightly cook it if he won't eat it raw. Sometimes, they literally like it just warm, as they would eat in the wild having just caught an animal. Having said that, never feed any animal cooked bones as they are brittle, indigestible and often cause constipation which could even become a serious obstruction.
          Hope that helps.

  4. Hello,our 2 year old cat had to have most of his teeth removed due to severe Gingivitis.His gums are still sore and i would like to know if there is anything i can give him to help them heal better instead of antibiotics for long periods.?Kind regards,Sue

    1. Hello Sue, Thanks for your distressing question. Poor little cat. And only 2 years old! That is terrible. So yes, add Pet Plus to his food as gingivitis is associated with a poorly functioning immune system and lack of probiotics, among other things.
      Feed raw minced up meat and bone like Nutriment and stop feeding processed foods which are all totally devoid of enzymes and active micronutrients.
      If you can get him to accept Aloe Vera, that sometimes helps as it has anti-inflammatory activities with no side-effects.
      Don't ever vaccinate him, as him immune system is clearly compromised.
      What have you been feeding him on so far?
      The massive amount of active micronutrients and probiotics in Pet Plus will help to give him the nutrients he needs to heal. Processed foods and antibiotics do the exact reverse. So if you do the things I suggest above, you will eventually be able to do without those wretched antbiotics.
      Prevention is always easier than repair!
      I hope you choose to follow these suggestions!
      Suzi

      1. Thank you so much for your reply Suzi, our cat Alfie turned up as a stray last summer and we have been feeding him normal cat food.I will try him on the things you suggest in the hope it helps the poor boy.He is fine and playful even with a sore mouth.I will keep you posted and thank you once again for your advice,i wish that there were more vets like you!best wishes,Sue.

        1. PS,I have read conflicting reports about feeding cats raw food because of the bacteria they may contain,is it something to be concerned about?Sue x

          1. Thanks so much for raising this frequently asked question Sue!
            Don't worry about the bugs! Think about what cats and dogs lick (their own bottoms for example) and eat out there in the 'wild'. And just imagine what he was eating as a stray!
            The concentration of acid in the stomach of carnivores is at least 10 times stronger than ours and is very effective at destroying pathogens. You know how quickly carnivore vomit damages the floor!
            I know cats are not crocodiles, but the following story serves to illustrate my point! A crocodile hunter had his photo taken having climbed inside the croc he'd just shot, with his legs in its stomach. When he climbed out a few minutes later, the skin of his legs was partly digested and the rest of his limbs would have soon followed suit! Crocodiles don't bother to chew their prey; they swallow it whole or in huge chunks, having let it predigest a bit in their lairs. Then the stomach acid and enzymes do the rest. So this particular crocodile certainly got the last laugh!
            Interestingly, the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) are designed to withstand a bit of acid, hence the name of the best one, Lactobacillus acidophilus (in Pet Plus of course!)
            Also, when we're feeding raw, we usually use frozen foods as it's easier to store than fresh meat and bone. Many of the bacteria and parasites are destroyed by freezing, so using frozen minced meat and bone or meaty bones or whole fish (like sprats) has already reduced this theoretical risk.
            The enormous health benefits of eating raw food far outweigh this minuscule risk with vastly improved overall health and an immune system that can focus on removing any pathogenic bugs instead of having to deal with the processed food particles that end up in the blood (digestive leucocytosis).
            I hope that helps you to have the confidence to feed raw.
            Suzi

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