National Cat & Dog Gut Health Awareness Day was established to bring attention to the significance of gut health to our pets’ overall health. National Cat & Dog Gut Health Awareness Day, observed on September 21, is an initiative of AnimalBiome, the global leader in cat and dog gut microbiome testing and restoration.
Does your cat have gorgeous, plush fur? Does your dog have a healthy weight and solid, regular faeces? You can credit their microbiome for this.
Similar to humans, cats and canines have trillions of microorganisms living in their digestive tracts. This community, known collectively as the gut microbiome, supports nearly every aspect of your pet’s health, including digestion, disease protection, and optimal GI function, among many others. Some of these functions may cease to function if the gut microbiome is disturbed by factors such as diet, age, disease, and specific medications. This may result in skin irritation, diarrhoea, constipation, obesity, and even behavioural problems for your companion.
The background of National Cat & Dog Gut Health Awareness Day
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch businessman and self-taught physicist, discovered bacteria in the late 17th century using his own powerful, single-lens microscopes. These “animalcules,” as Leeuwenhoek termed them, were the most astounding of all of his discoveries, according to Leeuwenhoek. The work of Leeuwenhoek paved the way for research into the connections between microorganisms and human health and disease.
In 1842, Edinburgh surgeon John Goodsir made one of the first descriptions of gastrointestinal bacteria, unearthing a bacterium he named Sarcina ventriculi from the stomach and implicating it as a cause of vomiting. Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and microbiologist, hypothesised around this time that microorganisms known as pathogens or “germs” can cause disease. A few decades later, German physician and microbiologist Robert Koch expanded upon these earlier investigations by developing a set of scientific principles known as “Koch’s postulates.” Koch’s postulates established unmistakable connections between specific pathogens and disease based on the isolation and culture of bacteria from infected people or animals, followed by inoculation of healthy individuals with the isolated organism to reproduce the disorder.
In the late 1880s, German paediatrician Theodor Escherich advanced our understanding of the connection between gut flora and health and disease. Escherich theorised that intestinal microorganisms, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), were essential for understanding the physiological and pathophysiological processes of the intestine.
Almost a century later, in the 1970s, Carl Woese and George Fox used molecular sequencing techniques to disclose the extensive evolutionary history shared by all living organisms. This resulted in a new understanding of animal biology, reflecting the strong interdependencies between complex multicellular organisms, their commensal or “friendly” microorganisms, and the impact of these relationships on animal physiology.
To further our understanding of these interdependent relationships, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Microbiome Project (HMP), initiated in 2007, examined microbial communities from 300 healthy human individuals across several distinct body sites. Molecular sequencing techniques were used to investigate the complexity of microbial communities at each body site, thereby facilitating investigations into the existence of a core healthy microbiota (also known as the microbiome) across individuals. Considered to be indicative of dysbiosis are disturbances that upset the equilibrium of a healthy intestinal microbiome. In human health investigations, dysbiosis of the gut microbiome has been linked to numerous diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes (types 1 and 2), multiple sclerosis, autism, allergies, asthma, and cancer.
Ongoing research has also demonstrated that the gut microbiome plays a crucial role in the overall health and wellbeing of our canines. AnimalBiome began testing pet microbiomes in 2015 and has become the world’s foremost pet microbiome research company by utilising molecular sequencing techniques. They have tested thousands of cats and canines and have the largest collection of pet microbiome samples in the world, with over 1,000 veterinarians recommending their products and at-home testing kits.
According to AnimalBiome’s 2022 State of the GutTM Report, 58% of canines experience at least one symptom per month that could be attributed to a microbiome imbalance. Therefore, it is more crucial than ever for pet owners to comprehend how the microorganisms in an animal’s gut affect its digestion, immune functions, skin health, longevity, and other aspects of its health.
By learning how to maintain and enhance your cat or dog’s gut microbiome, you can help your companion live a long and healthy life.
5 SURPRISE FACTS ABOUT THE GUT OF YOUR PET
The gastrointestinal microbiome is comprised of thousands of different types of bacteria and other microorganisms that reside in your pet’s digestive tract. The bacterial groups may be similar between cats and dogs, but the composition and proportions of each animal’s intestinal microbiome are sufficiently different to make it unique.
Your pet’s diet has a significant effect on their gut microbiome because the food they consume directly nourishes the gut bacteria. What you feed your cat or dog influences the types of bacteria that flourish and proliferate in their gut. The best and most important method to maintain a healthy gut microbiome is, therefore, to properly manage your pet’s diet.
Over the course of their lifetime, the bacterial composition of your pet’s intestinal microbiome can undergo dramatic changes. There may be a general decline in gut bacterial diversity as our canines age. Reduced diversity can contribute to a variety of common maladies in senior pets.
Your pet’s faeces contain a sample of the microorganisms and bacteria in their intestines. Through the use of molecular techniques, companies such as AnimalBiome are able to identify imbalances in the gut microbiome and provide pet owners with personalised recommendations for restoring their companion’s gut health and overall health.
Antibiotic Use May Cause an Imbalance in the Microbiome of the Gut
Antibiotics administered orally are not specific for the harmful bacteria that may be causing a bacterial infection, and they may also destroy the beneficial bacteria that support your pet’s gut health. The absence of beneficial microorganisms may result in diarrhoea or other symptoms. This may cause an ongoing imbalance in the gut of some cats and canines, which may contribute to conditions such as chronic diarrhoea, vomiting, or constipation.
NATIONAL CAT & DOG GUT HEALTH AWARENESS DAY DATES