Dysbiosis (aka Leaky Gut Syndrome) is an imbalance of gut bacteria that leads to the delicate mucus membrane lining of the digestive tract becoming inflamed.  As the inflammation continues a breakdown of the intestinal lining can occur and allows food, bacteria and toxins to “leak” into the dog’s system.  The leaked toxins now cause the liver to try and filter them out and over work itself.  As the toxins accumulate in the liver, the immune system will kick in attempting to fight the toxins causing more inflammation and leading to auto immune disease.

Leaky Gut is most often caused by three things: poor diet, overuse of antibiotics and overuse of other types of drugs such as NSAIDS, steroids, and other drugs

Many pets today are fed highly processed diets that are loaded with chemicals and preservatives.  The proteins so necessary for good nutrition are highly processed and mixed with grains, plant proteins and other items that are difficult for the dog to digest.

Antibiotics are often prescribed and kill off the good gut bacteria as well as the bad stuff.  In addition, many other drugs are given along with the antibiotics and this makes things worse.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

Symptoms of leaky gut syndrome are numerous and varied;

  • Weight fluctuations
  • Gum disease
  • Bladder inflammation
  • Allergies
  • Hyperactivity
  • Dry eye
  • Joint pain
  • Behavioral abnormalities
  • Bad breath
  • Heart disease
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Seizure disorders
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Liver, gallbladder and pancreatic disorders
  • cancer

Treatment of leaky gut usually begins by addressing the dog’s diet.  Begin by removing highly processed foods in favor of an appropriate, balanced, low stress food.   Probiotics and enzymes are introduced to address the nutritional deficiencies and re-seed the good gut bacteria. 

Dysbiosis is a complicated issue and there is no one size fits all solution.  If you suspect your dog may be suffering from leaky gut, seek out the services of a holistic vet.