Probiotics for Cats

Wynn, S. G. (2009). “Probiotics in veterinary practice.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 234(5): 606-613.

The definition of a probiotic is one of several “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” Probiotics have luminal and mucosal effects in the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal tract is the largest immune organ of the body. Mucosal effects would include interactions with immune cells and enterocytes. Luminal effects include chemical changes in ingesta and mucus as a result of the probiotic activity. Cats and dogs have high numbers of bacteria in the proximal portion of the gastrointestinal tract, more so than seen in humans. Cat feces contain high number of anaerobic bacteria, so the effect of Lactobacillus acidophilus has been evaluated in the cat. The use of probiotics clearly seems to enhance immune function in cats and seems to have a role in the treatment of certain gastrointestinal conditions (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease and diarrhea). Other clinical effects are still being considered. However, probiotic products have a large variation in quality control and the safety factor is still being evaluated. [VT]
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Related articles:
Weese, J. S. (2002). “Microbiologic evaluation of commercial probiotics.” J Am Vet Med Assoc 220(6): 794-7.
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Weese, J. S. (2003). “Evaluation of deficiencies in labeling of commercial probiotics.” Can Vet J 44(12): 982-3.
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