Animal Health - FAQs

Below are a series of questions. 

What Is The Microflora?

The microflora consists of various bacteria, protozoa and yeasts. These are distributed throughout the length of the gut and coexist in a symbiotic (mutual) relationship in the healthy animal. These micro-organisms can be health positive (beneficial), health neutral or health negative (potential to cause disease).

What Is A Probiotic?

Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”.

How Do Probiotics Work?

Probiotics have been shown to work by the following mechanisms:

  • Competition for nutrients – within the gut beneficial and pathogenic micro-organisms will be utilising the same types of nutrients. This results in a general competition between bacteria for these nutrients. When a probiotic is administered there is an overall reduction in nutrients available for pathogenic bacteria and consequently this minimises the levels of pathogenic micro-organisms.
  • Competition for adhesion sites – beneficial bacteria can attach to the gut wall and form colonies at various sites throughout the gut. This prevents pathogenic bacteria from gaining a foothold, resulting in their expulsion from the body.
  • Improvement in digestion – probiotics have been shown to increase the efficiency of digestion and therefore provide an improvement in digestion.
  • Lactic acid production – probiotics produce lactic acid which acts to reduce the gut pH, inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria, which prefer a more alkaline environment.
  • Effect on immunity – probiotics have been shown to increase the levels of cell-signalling chemicals and the effectiveness of infection-fighting cells (white blood cells).
What Makes A Good Probiotic?

When choosing a probiotic for your pet or other animal it is important to identify the best product possible. When assessing probiotics it is important to check:

  • Safety – the micro-organism chosen must be non-pathogenic and non-toxic. Within the EU all probiotics must be registered for use in an individual animal species. For example, Enterococcus faecium (NCIMB 10415) E1707 is registered for use in dogs.
  • Viability – the micro-organisms within a probiotic product should remain viable during their storage. The probiotics should also be able to pass safely through the stomach so that they can colonise the gut. A good freeze-drying process will enable the product to be stored at room temperature throughout the duration of its shelf life. Microencapsulation will afford protection throughout the high acidity of the stomach.
  • Sufficient numbers – the concentration of a probiotic must be such that inclusion rates provide a beneficial effect.
  • Quality assurance – when manufacturing probiotic products high quality standards and processes are imperative. This ensures that the product meets label specifications and is also effective and safe to use.
Can I Give Protexin Probiotics Alongside Antibiotics?

We recommend giving your Protexin probiotic product a few hours after antibiotics so that the beneficial bacteria contained in the product are not killed by the antibiotic itself.

Why Can't Live Yoghurt Be Used?

Live yoghurt can be used to provide some live micro-organisms, however it has some distinct disadvantages when compared to Protexin products.

The concentration of live micro-organisms present in the yoghurt is unknown but will tend to be relatively low and will depend on the freshness of the yoghurt and the conditions in which it has been stored. After opening, the microbial concentration can become depleted. Compare this with the high and guaranteed concentration of probiotics in Protexin products.

The actual strains of micro-organisms contained within live yoghurts will tend to be chosen for taste and textural properties rather than a probiotic benefit. The micro-organisms contained within the yoghurt may not produce any probiotic benefit.

Can Probiotics Be Given Over A Long Period Of Time?

There are no contra-indications for the use of probiotics for pets and their use will always be of some benefit. In pets and animals suffering from long-term problems, prolonged use is indicated and no 'resistance' will develop to the probiotic micro-organisms.