National Cat & Dog Gut Health Awareness Day 2023: 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 feces? 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, diarrhea, constipation, obesity, and even behavioral problems for your companion.
National Cat & Dog Gut Health Awareness Day 2023: HISTORY
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. Leeuwenhoek’s work opened the door for studies on the relationships between microbes and human health and disease.
John Goodsir, an Edinburgh surgeon, made one of the earliest descriptions of gastrointestinal bacteria in 1842, naming the stomach bacterium Sarcina ventriculi and associating it with regurgitation. Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and microbiologist, hypothesized 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 diseased people or animals, followed by inoculation of healthy individuals with the isolated organism to reproduce the disorder.
In the late 1880s, German pediatrician Theodor Escherich advanced our understanding of the connection between gut flora and health and disease. Escherich theorized 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) was initiated in 2007 to evaluate microbial communities from 300 healthy human subjects at multiple 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, using molecular sequencing techniques, has become the world’s foremost pet microbiome research company. 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
Our Pet’s Gut Is Filled with Billions of Microorganisms
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.
Proper Diet is Essential for a Healthy Gut Microbiome
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.
The gut health of your pet tends to decline with age.
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.
The feces of your pet contain viable bacteria.
Your pet’s feces 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 personalized recommendations for restoring their companion’s gut health and overall health.
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 these beneficial bacteria may result in diarrhea or other symptoms of ill health. This may cause an ongoing imbalance in the gut of some cats and canines, which may contribute to conditions such as chronic diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation.
WHY IS NATIONAL CAT & DOG DIGESTIVE HEALTH DAY IMPORTANT?
Poor digestive health is a key factor in the rise of veterinary visits.
digestive and skin issues are the two most prevalent symptoms of an imbalanced digestive tract. Given that digestive and skin problems account for more than half of all veterinary visits, gut microbiome testing has the potential to substantially reduce the number of veterinary visits in the United States.
A Vet Visit Does Not Resolve Nearly 30% of Digestive and Skin Problems
When a companion develops symptoms, pet owners frequently take them to the veterinarian. However, a significant proportion of pet owners may not adhere to the veterinarian’s complete treatment recommendations, resulting in an unsuccessful attempt to alleviate the symptoms.
Nearly one-third of tested canines and one-seventh of tested cats contain unhealthy levels of E. coli in their gut microbiome.
According to research conducted by AnimalBiome, nearly one-third of canines and one-seventh of cats have unhealthy levels of E. coli, making it one of the most common causes of an imbalance in the gut microbiome. Elevated levels of E. coli crowd out beneficial bacteria in the intestines and impair your pet’s ability to fight off other infections, which can result in severe illnesses such as stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.
NATIONAL CAT & DOG GUT HEALTH AWARENESS DAY DATES