Leaky Gut Syndrome in Dogs.
In this article, Holidays4Dogs looks into the problem of leaky gut in our canine pals. Although leaky gut is common amongst humans, dogs can also suffer from this condition which can cause uncomfortable symptoms. Read on to find out more.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky gut refers the inability of the lining of the intestine to stop undigested food, or toxic substances, from passing into the bloodstream. When the intestinal lining is compromised, undigested food particles can pass directly into the bloodstream. This, in turn, can trigger hypersensitive immune responses. Experts believe it could be more common in canines than once thought.
How does the intestinal lining become damaged?
Antibiotics are also cited as being responsible for creating imbalances in the gut. Antibiotics kill bad bacteria, but they also wipe out beneficial bacteria. Likewise, the use of steroids can completely suppress the immune system, which also have a detrimental effect.
As a result, the imbalance of bacteria causes inflammation of the lining of the gut, which then stops it from functioning properly and results in leakage.
Unfortunately, this condition can be difficult to heal. Furthermore, increased permeability in the gut, can lead to secondary health issues such as autoimmune disorders, or chronic hepatitis.
What are the symptoms of leaky gut?
Bouts of diarrhoea and bloating are usually the first indications of leaky gut syndrome. Secondary symptoms will develop if the condition goes un-treated and these can range from itching, classic dermatitis, hot spots and ear infections. Leaky gut can exacerbate, or even cause a range of other conditions, many of which may have little to do with digestive function. These include respiratory problems such as, dry eye, gum disease, bladder infections, and joint pains.
Treatment of leaky gut.
Diet is an all important factor when dealing with leaky gut. Leaky gut means inflammation creates an over population of bad bacteria and yeast. Therefore, an appropriate diet will make all the difference when attempting to heal leaky gut syndrome.
It is important to avoid feeding the affected dog carbohydrates and starch. Therefore, remove grains and potatoes – including sweet potatoes – from your dog’s diet. These foods also contain a lot of sugar that feeds yeast and exacerbates inflammation of the gut lining.
Omega-3s however are excellent foods to add to your dog’s diet. High quality fish oil and oily fish, will help to ease inflammation which occurs in the lining of the intestine.
Probiotics are also considered to be essential in the treatment plan since it can help re-establish imbalance in the gut. You can purchase probiotic supplements, but other sources of probiotics include, fermented goats milk or kefir. Goat’s milk is already a good choice for a healthy diet in humans, as well as dogs, but the fermentation process helps to develop extra probiotics. However, when using fermented goats milk always ensure it is derived from raw milk that hasn’t been damaged by heating.
Glutamine is another particularly valuable supplement to add to a dog’s diet if he has leaky gut. Excellent sources of glutamine can be found in high protein foods such as meat, fish and dairy
In addition, digestive enzymes can help to clean up the mucosal lining in the bloodstream by removing toxins and bad bacteria. In turn, this lightens the load on the liver and immune system. Digestive enzymes address, not only the damaged gut, but they help with nutrient deficiencies and food intolerances too.
Leaky gut can be a tricky health condition to deal with and is les recognised within mainstream veterinary practice. If your dog is suffering from long term ear infections, chronic itching, alternating diarrhoea and constipation, excessive shedding and greasy skin or, recurring anal gland infections, it may be a good idea to discuss the possibility of this with your own vet. You could also consider seeking further advice from a homeopathic vet.