probiotics and cats

gibby2015January 22, 2012

I've been giving my cat probiotics for a few months for bad breath and gas. It's worked wonders for these problems - within a few days of starting to give it to him. However if I stop giving it to him the problems seem to reappear fairly soon. I was thinking this was something I'd give him until he got "in balance" and then I could stop giving it to him. Is this something you need to use forever?

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Have to admit I have very little experience using a probiotic in a cat. Not sure why it would help bad breath, either. Gas problems are usually a sign of either a dietary intolerance (something in the food that is not being digested properly and allowing some bacterial colonies to grow too well and produce some excessive methane... could be too much carbohydrates, even... your cat on dry food?). Normally probiotics are not designed for prolonged use so I can't comment on indefinite usage. But diet change alone might be helpful in this situation (such as weaning a cat gradually onto a higher protein diet... ie, less dry and more canned food).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:20AM
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I read an article recently (aimed at people) which said that the benefits of probiotics last only as long as you are taking them. That is counter to what I had always believed, having taken probiotics off and on for many years myself. I don't recall if the article went into any detail as to why a body reverts to it's regular levels (and may require additional probiotics), but maybe that's just it, that your body maintains a certain level only.

I have my old kidney disease cat on probiotics. In the case of kidney disease cats, it's my understanding that some of the bacteria break down nitrogen compounds in the digestive tract, which means fewer of them hit the kidneys and cause problems. That makes some sense there as to why you would have to use them continuously in her case. For the kidney protective benefits, I now give them to my young cat daily too- in hopes they will help to protect his kidneys longer.

My young male cat had terribly bad breath, which we attributed to gingivitis that he developed by around 9 months of age- seems awful early to start having tooth and gum problems. Anyway, we tried a number of products for the gingivitis without much luck, but once we started giving him a bit of the other cat's probiotics, the gingivitis has cleared up. That alone is reason enough for me to keep him on a small dose (he gets about half a capsule a day). It does stand to reason somewhat though- from what I've heard a lot of your immune system function starts in the gut, so a healthy gut could mean a healthier immune system.

Don't think that really answered your question, but that is about what little I know!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 10:37AM
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What kind of probiotics are you using? My vet gave us Forti-Flora to use as an "appetite stimulant" (I guess because of the smell) for our late kitty, but it's quite expensive. I now have a new kitten who is "smelly" with occasional diarrhea.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 5:48PM
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Tracey, I buy mine through a regular vitamin store geared toward people; one that has 6 or 7 strains in it. The ones I buy generally work out to around 11 cents each. Since we get good results with them, I figure they must be pretty good. My little guy will steal them any chance he gets, so he definitely likes them.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 11:38AM
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I'm using FortiFlora - I buy it from Amazon - and yes it is expensive. I have also switched his food at the vets recommendation because he also had loose stools and the vet had ruled out all other causes like parasites. The stool problem is better now with the different food. I guess I will wait a while longer and try discontinuing the probiotics again. Maybe the problems are now all related to the food.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Thanks, Quasifish; I'll try the people variety after we use up the Forti-Flora (I get multiple uses out of the little individual pouches), but just lately, she's stopped liking the food sprinkled with it.

Gibby--what about weaning kitty off the Fortiflora VERY gradually?

I'm soooo tired of catering to kitty dietary "demands"! Our almost 2-yr old, Coco, has his canned and dry food that he was doing well on. When we got him, he didn't like his then canned food and had diarrhea, too. Vet had us change the food until we found one that didn't give him diarrhea (the "upper" end brands were too rich or something for him). He ended up on Sci. Diet culinary creations for canned and a mix of Blue Buffalo and Sci Diet sensitive stomach for the dry. He liked it and we finally had good poo--we were set (for him and the other kitten)! Then other kitty died and we got a new kitten for him about 2 months later so he wouldn't be so lonely.....

Okay, new kitten, Maggie. She's on a better canned food (California Natural) and Chicken Soup for Kitten Lover's Soul dry food. We found that Maggie likes Coco's wet food, but it makes her throw up and feel bad for the day, but Coco won't eat her canned, so they're getting different canned foods, but I have to pick his up so she won't eat it (and he likes "free choice"--or whatever it's called--eating), so I have to pay attention to when he's asking for food, etc.

Coco liked Maggie's dry food, but it gave him horrid diarrhea. Vet found some bacteria in it and put him on Flagyl, but it was so icky that I couldn't even hide the pill after the 3rd day. Nothing (and no one) could get it down him, so I gave up. He stopped eating completely! Then 2 days later I discovered this: 1) he didn't want the kitten's canned food near his (smell?); 2) he didn't want Maggie trying to horn in on his food (which I couldn't let her anyway because of her vomiting it up); and 3) I had to stand there by him! But at least he went back to eating.

Aaaarrrgh. I just want them on the same page and pooping that too much to ask?

I think back to the cats of my mother never had a concern about their poop because they were outdoor cats and did their business outside with its "form" delightfully unknown to us! They were always healthy and totally happy with whatever cheap food that was put before them. Gee.....cats these days! ;-)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 6:44PM
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LOL, tracey, aren't our pets something! I never dreamed I'd be interested in the contents of a litter box before! Yes, my vet even told me that I could use people probiotics. I got them right at our pharmacy. Mine do like the smell of the Forti-flora, though :)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:14PM
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Maybe I will start giving it to him every other day and see what happens with that.

Speaking of being interested in the contents of the litter box: I kind of had to shake my head at myself last night. This cat who's had all the bowel, breath and gas issues was in the box while I was in the room. This is a big deal because then I can tell for sure what exactly is coming out of him vs. other cats. To my delight he was going #2 and to my greater delight he produced a nice, solid, cigar shaped piece of poop. So I guess the change of food did the trick for the loose stools. YAY!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 1:53PM
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Great news, Gibby! Only another cat lover can understand how exciting news that can be! I'm always peeking to see which one is doing what so I'll know who needs tweaking.

Hope his "productions" remain good.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 6:35PM
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We have 3 cats. For a while now, Gizmo, the oldest, seemed to have a fussy stomach. He would have diarrhea several times a week and would vomit once or twice a week. I took him to the vet, along with a stool sample. The vet decided that he had IBD. She gave us a Rx of Flagyl and a box of Forti-Flora for free, as it was a month over it's expiration date. She said that I should give him a hyper allergenic diet. I got on the net and learned that almost all of the commercial cat foods have too much carbohydrates in them. I started giving him scrambled eggs, chicken, pureed pumpkin, cottage cheese and whatever meats we were eating. So far, he is doing wonderfully. He is eating everything all up and looking for more. I am not looking forward to having to go the raw food route, but I will if it is necessary. There are a lot of supplements that have to be added to their food. We live out in the country and don't have any pet stores nearby. I am going to have to do a lot of phoning to find what we need to make up and freeze a lot of homemade cat food. If this means that I don't have to clean up messes up off the floor all the time, I guess it is worth it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 10:45PM
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