Intestine and microbiota perform several functions on the immune, metabolic and digestive levels. In this case, the microbiota forms a protective barrier against other dangerous bacteria and works with the intestinal immune system to ensure backup missions. This undoubtedly goes much further because we know, for example, that, in humans, the microbiota synthesizes vitamins., breaks down toxins to allow the proper functioning of organs and transforms the residues of food not digested by enzymes. For this last task, different complementary bacterial communities interact with one another: they exchange their foods, degrade, ferment, which generates new organic compounds (metabolites) which in turn perform various functions. As similarities exist between our digestive system and that of our pets, it is a safe bet that their microbiota probably performs all or some of these tasks. Moreover, humans and dogs share the same microbiota at 63%!
When a microbiota includes families of bacteria in unusual proportions or when certain families deemed to be useful are missing, this can have health consequences: inflammatory diseases, diabetes and perhaps even certain cancers could be related to a defective microbiota. The current challenge is therefore to understand which disorders of the microbiota lead to which types of pathologies. This is not easy because the microbiota can naturally vary from one animal to another, without this necessarily being pathological ( what it eats plays a role in this variation). Researchers also want to understand how certain strains of bacteria known to be beneficial work.
But, before hoping to turn them into drugs, we must go through many stages: find a bacterial strain that is easy to cultivate, to administer, which does indeed benefit the health of the animal, but without generating new problems, etc. This usually takes years, and out of all the strains tested, only a small number will ultimately overcome all of these obstacles!
TREAT YOUR MICROBIOTE
While waiting to be able to modulate the microbiota with the help of “bacterial strains – drugs”, the best is still to pamper your microbiota when it is good or to do everything to make it better when it is not optimal. This is possible because, in humans as in dogs, food has a direct influence on the quality and therefore on the health of a microbiota. Gut bacteria feed on what they find in the gut. Depending on what is provided, some families of bacteria can proliferate and others decline. This has also been demonstrated in dogs who receive a diet very rich in meat: their microbial diversity is less, compared to dogs receiving a more varied diet.. From this was born the idea of giving them substances capable of stimulating, in a selective manner, the growth of the intestinal bacteria considered to be the most interesting. These substances are called “prebiotics” and the most widely used in dogs are fructooligosaccharides (FOS), mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS), inulin, lactulose, etc. : substances found in prescription foods for dogs with diarrheasold by vets! And indeed, the use of prebiotics in dogs suffering from inflammatory bowel disease is accompanied by immediate improvement. But, for prebiotics to have a chance of stimulating the growth of a family of good bacteria, this family must still be present! Otherwise, there is no choice but to bring it.
Probiotics are precisely microorganisms (bacteria or yeast) that, when ingested, provide benefits to health , for example by competing with pathogenic bacteria responsible for diarrhea, preventing them from adhering to the intestinal wall and therefore, by promoting their elimination. Successful trials have already been carried out with different probiotics: Bifidobacterium against stress diarrhea in dogs placed in kennels , or Saccharomyces boulardii , in dogs with chronic diarrhea. When a dog eats poopof a fellow creature, he unknowingly carries out faecal transplantation, that is to say, he imports the bacterial flora of another dog into his intestine! It is also necessary that this imported flora is of better quality than its own and that it can partly replace its undesirable flora, which is not obvious in these conditions!
STOP AN INFLAMMATION
To make a flora transplant worthy of the name, it is first necessary to wash the colon to evacuate part of the defective microbiota of the sick dog before sending him the bacterial flora of a dog in full health (from a filtered saddle donation) and thus hope for colonization of the colon of the sick dog by new good bacteria. This effect is however transitory: the microbiota returns to its initial composition within a few weeks. It is nevertheless sufficient to slow down an inflammatory flare in a dog suffering from Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), for example.
In addition, this procedure could be further simplified in the future with in particular the selection of donors with the ideal profile, the conservation of this flora on a large scale and the transplantation no longer of bacteria but only of their most useful proteins, why not in the form of of capsules , for practical reasons.