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Probiotics for Cats

An imbalance of bacteria in your cat's gut can lead to numerous health conditions. In this post, our South Florida vets share some information about feline gut health, how it can be managed, and what the best probiotics are for cats. 

Many people are aware that probiotics an be used to improve digestive health. Probiotics are natural ingredients that can positively affect multiple kinds of stressors to general health. Similarly, cats can also benefit from probiotics to promote their health?

Probiotics for cats come in a variety of forms, making it convenient for owners to administer them. 

What Are Probiotics for Cats?

Probiotics are live organisms (typically bacteria and yeast) that can restore or improve gut microbiota (the collection of microorganisms that's naturally present in a healthy gut environment).

If your cat has been under stress or is experiencing changes in their environment (e.g. recent travel, boarding, moving homes, medical conditions, a new pet or family member, changes, in routine, etc.), this can result in an umbalance of healthy and unhealthy gut bacteria or yeast, which can negatively impact your cat's digestive system in many ways (including bloating, gas, and diarrhea). 

It can also negatively affect your cat's mood, immunity, hormones, weight, and risk of infections or recurrence of infections elsewhere in its body, such as the eyes. Stress can contribute to recurring episodes of viral cat conjunctivitis

How Can Probiotics Help Your Cat's Gut?

Using probiotics can help restore the normal balance of healthy gut bacteria and yeast, which can restore the equilibrium of beneficial bacteria. Various factors and circumstances can contribute to an imbalanced bacterial environment. 

Along with impacting your cat's digestion, these harmful bacteria can also disrupt their hormones, mood, immunity, weight, and raise the likelihood of infections. It's been discovered that probiotics can offer assistance in several areas, including:

  • Flatulence: When a cat (or any other creature) suffers from gastrointestinal issues, it can lead to an increase in flatulence. 
  • Stress: Stress can be linked to gastrointestinal issues. By giving your cat a probiotic, you can help them manage their gut health through stressful situations. 
  • Immune system booster: If your kitty is very young or old, they could use the immune-boosting benefits of probiotics. 
  • Overweight and obesity: Some vets believe that there is a direct link between the health of the cat's gut bacteria and obesity.
  • Chronic diseases: Bad gut bacteria can contribute to inflammatory bowel disease or feline intestinal lymphoma.
  • Other diseases: Hormonal diseases and allergies can both cause issues affecting the bacteria in your cat's stomach.
  • Infections: As mentioned above, probiotics may be recommended if your cat is having treatment for infections using antibiotics.
  • Diarrhea: This can commonly be caused by viruses such as feline panleukopenia or parasitic diseases such as giardiasis.
  • Antibiotics: The use of probiotics is common in humans taking antibiotics as the medication helps to rid the body of illness-causing bacteria, but also the good bacteria. Taking probiotics may be able to help restore the balance in cats as well.

The Best Types of Probiotics for Cats

The most common types of probiotics are lactic acid based such as:

  • Enterococcus
  • Lactobacillus spp
  • Streptococcus
  • Bifidobacterium

When it comes to cats, the most beneficial probiotics are typically Enterococcus and Bifidobacterium.

Each of these probiotics has its own designated area of residence within the cat's digestive system. Enterococcus is commonly found in the colon, while Bifidobacterium primarily inhabits the small intestine. Enterococcus primarily focuses on maintaining colonic health and promoting the formation of healthy feces. On the other hand, Bifidobacterium is dedicated to supporting overall digestive health.

The various types of probiotics serve distinct purposes and offer different forms of assistance. Hence, it is crucial to select a probiotic that contains multiple strains, ideally a minimum of two, to ensure comprehensive benefits.

What probiotics do vets recommend?

When selecting a probiotic for your cat, it is crucial to prioritize the delivery method. Probiotics are available in various forms, such as powders, capsules, chews, or incorporated into specially formulated food. The key consideration when choosing probiotics for cats is to opt for a product that contains the appropriate combination of strains tailored to your cat's specific requirements.

It is important to note that probiotics should not be created at home. Leave the intricacies of gut bacteria science to the experts.

Are there any side effects with probiotics for cats?

While the most notable side effect would be flatulence, our vets in South Florida also would like to remind you again that these are live bacteria, so they should only be administered under the direction of your primary care vet.

When should cats take probiotics?

Aside from taking on a daily basis to help promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, you may also want to consider giving your cat probiotics if you begin to notice any of the following concerns:

    • Dietary changes
    • Your Cat's Age
    • Antibiotics
    • Eating grass
    • Deworming
    • Stress

If you notice any changes in your cat's digestive health during these situations you should speak with your vet about treatment with probiotics. Additionally, if your cat has an eye condition that's unresponsive to medication and treatment from your primary vet, you can request a referral to our veterinary ophthalmologists at Animal Eye Guys. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your cat may have an eye condition? Contact our South Florida veterinary ophthalmologists today to book a consultation. We also accept referrals from primary vets.

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Animal Eye Guys is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of South Florida pets. Get in touch today to book an appointment.

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