Trust Your Guts!

Does your pet have a balanced and healthy digestive system? Whichever style of doggie feeding you follow, from raw or cooked homemade meals to store-bought wet food and/or dry kibble, it is important to know if your pet’s gut biome (the digestive system and its ability to convert food into energy and nutrients) is healthy. We sought out AnimalBiome to explore and understand Our Five Dogs’ gut health, and to learn how to correct their gut imbalances to help ensure they continue to live happy and healthy lives!

We feed Our Five Dogs a raw, fresh diet, containing:

1. Dr. Harvey’s dehydrated base-mixes: Paradigm, Raw Vibrance, and Canine Health.

2. A variety of raw and humanely-raised proteins, mainly from Raw Feeding Miami.

4. Dr. Harvey’s supplements: Solaris, Golden Years, Ortho-Flex, Co-Enzyme Q10, Runs-Be-Done, and Formative Years.

3. Healthy oils: A rotation that includes Dr. Harvey’s Salmon and Krill and Dr. Harvey’s Omega-3, along with organic coconut and olive oils.

5. Deer Velvet Supplement by Imperial Pet Company that includes bio-active deer velvet, green-lipped mussel, and ginseng. (Use Code: VetJulia for 10% off).

6. Primal Pet Foods Bowl Boosters: Raw Goat Milk, Bone Broth, Edible Elixers, and Raw Toppers.

But even with all of these healthy and nutritional ingredients added to Our Five Dogs’ meals, I still wondered if the dogs’ gut microbiomes were balanced and healthy.

I started researching and found this article: The Science Behind AnimalBiome Testing. It was just what I was looking for – AnimalBiome provides insight into dogs’ gut health!

For Our Five Dogs, I wanted their gut bacteria tested not because they were having any health issues or showing any clinical signs, (such as diarrhea or other digestive signs) but because I wanted to know if what I was feeding them correlated with healthy guts.

It truly was an easy process. Once I received the test kits in the mail, I collected a stool sample from each dog and sent the samples to AnimalBiome for assessments. Two weeks later, I received the assessment results by email. The results were extremely detailed yet easy to understand each gut bacteria and what role each bacteria plays in our pets’ overall health. The report also compares your pet’s microbiome to healthy dogs or cats and includes diet, supplement (if indicated), and lifestyle recommendations based on your pet’s bacterial composition.

After I read each dog’s report, I decided to speak to a knowledgeable AnimalBiome consultant to get even more insight on the results. Here is the summary of each of Our Five Dogs’ gut health assessments:

1. Woody, one-year-young Golden Retriever Mix

Woody’s microbiome results showed that he had a balanced and healthy gut health. This was exciting news! I adopted Woody from an animal shelter at seven-weeks-old, and I immediately transitioned him to a raw food diet. It was reassuring that Woody’s gut health reflected his healthy feeding lifestyle.

2. Rocky, a three-year-old Mastiff Mix

Rocky’s Fusobacterium was high. As explained in the report, Fusobacterium helps digest animal proteins. Elevated levels of Fusobacterium are associated with diarrhea and chronic digestive disorders. For correcting an overabundance of Fusobacterium, adding more dietary fiber could help.

Since Rocky luckily isn’t showing any of the clinical signs mentioned above, I am thankful that I know how to correct this imbalance now to help ensure that the imbalance does not turn into a future health concern. This bacteria abundance is simple to correct, as I will rotate Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm, which is loaded with healthy fiber, into Rocky’s meals more often.

3. Rosie, a four-year-old Black Labrador Mix

AND Annie, a fifteen-year-old MegaMutt

Rosie’s and Annie’s Prevotella and Alloprevotella were high. The former helps digest mainly simple carbohydrates, while the latter helps digest more complex carbohydrates. After speaking to the AnimalBiome consultant, I learned that Rosie and Annie might benefit from replacing some of the carbohydrates in their diets (~10%) with protein. Easy peasy!

On the other hand, Rosie’s and Annie’s Blautia were low. As explained in the report, Blautia produce anti-inflammatory compounds that help protect the digestive tract from being damaged due to chronic inflammation. It was recommended I add AnimalBiome’s Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) capsules to help correct these low levels. An interesting concept, if I do say so myself!

5. Dora, a five-year-old Australian Cattle Dog Mix

Dora was on an antibiotic at the time of testing, therefore I predicted that her levels of bacteria would be abnormally unhealthy, and that was definitely the case.

Dora’s Fusobacterium was zero. Fusobacterium helps digest animal proteins. Under normal conditions, if Dora was not on an antibiotic, increasing the protein in her diet could be helpful.

Dora’s Bacteroides were high, and made up over 45% of her gut bacteria. In moderate amounts, this bacteria helps prevent other harmful bacteria from colonizing the gut. However, in Dora’s case, since her Bacteroides were so high, her overall gut diversity was below average.

Dora’s Escherichia Shigella was also high. Excessive levels of particular strains of this bacteria have been linked to chronic diarrhea and other health issues.

Dora’s results showed how antibiotics affect healthy bacteria in the gut, as unfortunately antibiotics kill the good bacteria, along with the bad.

After speaking to the AnimalBiome consultant, it was recommended that Dora start taking AnimalBiome’s Gut Restore Supplement, a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) in a capsule AFTER the course of antibiotics was completed. Luckily, Dora just completed her antibiotics and has started a DoggyBiome Gut Restore Supplement. After the initial gut restoration regime, she will be getting Gut Maintenance Plus, a prebiotic and probiotic for dogs and cats to continue to replenish her gut flora with healthy bacteria.

AnimalBiome definitely helped me explore and understand each of Our Five Dogs’ digestive system. Now, it’s your turn!

Disclaimer:

AnimalBiome was kind enough to gift Our Five Dogs each an Animal Biome kit, along with Dora’s Gut Restore and Maintenance Plus FMT capsules.

After contacting Dr. Harvey’s to share the physical and mental health benefits that I witnessed after switching my dogs’ diets to Paradigm, Dr. Harvey’s has since given me free products from their lines of food, supplements, treats, and grooming essentials for my honest feedback. Dr. Harvey’s products are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

After hearing a lecture on Deer Velvet at the 2019 AHVMA conference, I contacted Imperial LTD. Since then, we have formed a collaboration where I get free products as a result of promoting their product line, which is easy for me since I do truly stand behind their products.

Primal Pet Foods and Our Five Dogs have an informal relationship, and I receive free product, in order to give my honest feedback.

All opinions expressed about the aforementioned companies, in this and any other article I post may not represent the thoughts or opinions of the affiliated companies.

In no way is this post or any other post intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Yes, I am a veterinarian, but I am not your pets’ veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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