Stress and the role of the gastrointestinal tract micro flora
The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of all healthy mammals contains over 400
species of microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, fungi, and protozoa). These
microorganisms form a natural protective barrier which keeps opportunistic
pathogens from proliferating.
When a pet experiences some form of stress
such as birth, lactation, weaning, new household members (human and pet), new
diet, being left alone during the day, transportation, vet visits, etc., changes
occur in the GIT that cause the demise of many of these protective organisms.
Without that control, pathogens are able to proliferate. Pathogens can cause all
manner of problems, from stealing valuable nutrients, excreting toxins, to
penetration of vital organs.
Antibiotics also kill many protective
The natural solution
Probiotics are concentrated
mixtures of beneficial bacteria that can temporarily replace the devastated
indigenous micro flora. The probiotic bacteria perform the same protective
functions and have some other beneficial effects, which will be discussed later.
There are two general types of probiotics:
a) Feed-additive forms
(granulated or powders) – for everyday stresses
b) More concentrated
forms (paste, gel or drench) – for major stresses
The main differences
between these two types of probiotics are in concentration of microorganisms,
and the way they are fed. Generally speaking, there are as many microorganisms
in a pound of the feed-additive form as there are in a single dose of the more
concentrated forms. The Feed-additive types are designed to be fed on a daily
basis. To protect pets that are about to or are experiencing major stresses, or
to treat sick animals, the more concentrated forms must be given orally.
Stress opens the door to disease
The extent of the damage to the
protective barrier depends on the nature of the stress experienced by the
animal. Major (birth, lactation, weaning and surgery) or chronic stresses (being
left alone often, pain, itching/biting insects) do more damage than minor,
everyday stresses (occasionally being left alone or a vet visit). Probiotics can
be used preventatively in either case by simply choosing the correct
If an animal does get sick, the more concentrated forms
can help the animal recover. How? When an animal becomes ill, the digestive
tract shuts down and all available resources are directed to the immune system.
Probiotics can support the animal by:
a) Providing easily-absorbable
b) Keeping pathogens from proliferating in the GIT
Activating the immune system
Natur’s Way produces probiotic products
under the brand ‘MSE’ (Multiple Stabilized Enzymes).