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C2007-22

Dear Christopher Cat

My veterinarian prescribed probiotics for my kitten with diarrhea. What are probiotics?

Christopher Responds

Probiotics are “good” bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacteria, Saccharomyces and some Enterococcus species.

These useful bacteria aid in the control of diarrhea caused by Clostridium, Salmonella and other harmful bacteria, as well as viruses, protozoa and even stress.

Several years ago when I took an antibiotic for an infection, I developed diarrhea because the antibiotic killed the good bacteria in my intestines, allowing the pathogenic bacteria to overgrow.

To treat the diarrhea, Mom gave me a probiotic product that helped various ways.

First, probiotics compete with harmful, disease-producing bacteria, preventing them from attaching to the lining of the intestines, minimizing their production of toxins and eventually killing them.

Second, probiotics strengthen the gastrointestinal tract’s physical barrier to block absorption of potentially toxic metabolites, such as ammonia.

Finally, probiotics stimulate the body’s immune system, 70 percent of which resides in the gastrointestinal tract.

In one study, for example, healthy puppies given Enterococcus probiotic and then vaccinated developed a better antibody response than similar pups not given probiotics.I’m sure that with the help of the probiotics, your kitten’s diarrhea will resolve soon.

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