What is a Fecal Transplant in Dogs and Cats

Doctors and researchers began to recognize the importance of gut bacteria for digestion in the last few years. They are essential for the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. The “microbiota of the gut” is a community that includes these bacteria and other microorganisms, which work together to maintain digestion health. Many factors influence the composition of your microbiota, such as genetics, diet, and environment. The gut microbiota is altered by intestinal infections that can cause diarrhea and antibiotics. This can lead to long-term dysbiosis or an imbalance of microbiota.

What is a fecal transplant?

FMT, or Fecal Microbiota Transplantation as it is also known, is the procedure in which fecal matter from an otherwise healthy person is transferred to a patient with an intestinal disease to help restore the healthy gut microbiota balance and to resolve their illness. Humans are most commonly treated with FMT for gastrointestinal infections caused by C. Dificle is a dangerous bacterium that thrives on immunocompromised patients, those in hospital, or other people who are very sick. Healthy bacteria in the fecal material can replace harmful bacteria and restore the beneficial bacteria community. Scientists are currently studying whether FMT could also be used to treat chronic gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative Colitis. The therapy has so far shown promising results.

Veterinarians and researchers were curious if the FMT procedure would also be effective in treating dogs and cats suffering from chronic diarrhea and intestinal diseases.

A bout of occasional diarrhea may not be cause for concern and is easily treatable. Some pets have diarrhea or rarely get a normal stool for several weeks. Dogs with this condition may require daily treatment or a major change in diet to achieve normal stool. Veterinarians classify diarrhea by what type of therapy resolves it: antibiotic-responsive, fiber-responsive, diet-responsive, and non-responsive. Dogs with diarrhea that does not respond to treatment may have dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in their gut microbiota. FMT is designed to treat dysbiosis through the replenishment of beneficial bacteria. It is important to select and screen the animal donor because their microbiota must be balanced and healthy.

What is Fecal Transplant Therapy?

A small, recent study used FMT to treat dogs suffering from chronic diarrhea that did not respond to other treatments, such as diet, antibiotics and probiotics. A fecal specimen was taken from a carefully selected donor dog. The donor dog had to be tested before the “donation” for parasites, harmful bacteria and other infectious diseases. After blending the sample into a thin, slurry-like slurry which could be forced through a tube within hours after collection, it is ready for transplantation. A thin tube was inserted in the recipient’s rectum and small doses of donor material were administered along the length of his intestine. The procedure was repeated over several months. They responded very well.

Most veterinarians still consider it experimental and there’s no standardization of the treatment. Different screening protocols led to varying levels of success. Many veterinarians are waiting for the results of FMT trials in dogs. They prefer to wait until efficacy, safety and effectiveness have been thoroughly documented. The procedure is not harmful to recipients, as long as they are properly screened. However, administering the treatment requires anesthesia and will therefore carry all of the associated risks. This risk is generally low but should be considered before subjecting a pet to an untested procedure. Some clinics offer both fecal and cat transplant therapies.

FMT may be an effective treatment for chronic feline diarrhea, but even for cats we know very little. Dogs and humans share an omnivorous physiological makeup, but cats have an obligate carnivore digestive system that has different health requirements. There is only one report in the veterinary literature of FMT occurring in a kitten. It is a start, but it gives families with cats suffering from chronic diarrhea hope.

Can My Pet Be a Candidate For A Fecal Transplant

The idea of transferring feces between animals is gross, but the benefits for chronically sick animals outweigh that disgust. As most FMT discussions in dogs will remind you, dogs are known to eat feces. Feces are eaten by many dogs. No evidence exists that shows dogs treat themselves by eating their own feces. A recent study has found that there is no connection between dogs eating feces, and chronic gastrointestinal illnesses. Oral therapy isn’t recommended because the acidic stomach environment kills the majority of bacteria. As an alternative to the rectum, a tube can be passed from the mouth or nose through the stomach to the intestines. These procedures are done under the supervision of a tiny camera on the end of the tubes so the vet can watch what she does.

The majority of dogs and cats who have chronic diarrhea are suffering from a disease that can be effectively treated using more traditional methods. Finding the best solution to your pet’s individual needs can be frustrating. It can be expensive to run all of the tests your vet needs for diagnosis and treatment. These are usually performed one at a time. Do not give up because you are frustrated. You and your veterinarian both want to see that your pet feels better. Keep a record of your pet’s treatments and their responses. If nothing else helps, you can ask your vet if she or another colleague in a specialist clinic performs FMT.