There are always concerns with long term use of medication but over recent years a lot of focus has been placed on the amount of antibiotics that are being used. There is evidence that suggests that antibiotics are being overused. As a matter of fact, a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that antibiotic use is unnecessary in 50% of the cases where it is prescribed. You’ve probably noticed that if you’ve seen a doctor or taken your dog to the vet, these medical professionals have become much more hesitant to prescribe antibiotics.
The problem with antibiotics is that with frequent use, bacteria may become resistant to the treatment. If you have heard talk of “superbugs”, this is how they develop.
It’s not just the bad bacteria we have to worry about… Antibiotics don’t discriminate – they kill bacteria, meaning they battle good bacteria too! There is increasing awareness of the role that healthy bacteria play in the digestive system and how they work to help keep our pets healthy. The fact is that the healthy bacteria residing in the digestive system are responsible for maintaining health in many ways! Aside from working to boost our immune system, these bacteria also help by producing and making use of vitamins, minerals and nutrients in the body. These actions are critical in keeping our pets healthy.
Studies show that antibiotics have short term benefits, but in the long term they can increase our pet’s likelihood to develop problems. You’ve probably seen evidence of this if you’ve ever had a dog on antibiotics for any period of time. Many dogs experience loose stool or diarrhea while they are taking antibiotics, as their digestive system experiences an imbalance. Yeast infections are also common with antibiotic use, as the imbalances created in the digestive tract can create a good environment for yeast to grow. Yeast infections can cause rashes, skin issues, diarrhea and can even be responsible for digestive issues, like food allergies!
Antibiotics have their place and are necessary in many situations, such as the treatment of urinary tract infections or following a serious injury, like a bite or scratch. However, when dealing with digestive issues caused by microbial infections, there is a better way to combat the situation. The solution is to balance the healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, which boosts the immune system and helps the body combat illness, even preventing infection or disease. There are many things that can contribute to a healthy digestive system – eating right, managing weight and staying fit. Adding a prebiotic to the diet can play a big role in improving the microbiome in the digestive system!
Prebiotics are unique, as they provide a source of sustenance for various strains of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, many of which aid in the production of other good bacteria through cross-feeding within the digestive tract. Using prebiotics to help build this bacteria army within the digestive tract is a simple way to a healthier pet, and can help them resist infection by strains of bad bacteria that lead to health issues in our dogs. Instead of using antibiotics and being reactive to illness, this is a proactive solution that can prevent these problems in the first place!
Many medical professionals are encouraging the use of prebiotics as a way to build a better immune system, both in humans and animals. Unlike probiotics, which are live bacteria that can be destroyed as they travel through the digestive system, prebiotics are a source of fuel for the healthy bacteria already in the digestive tract. Prebiotics resist digestion and travel intact through the gut, allowing prebiotics to be fermented by healthy bacteria in the colon, making this a very effective way to manage gut health.
While this is only one of the many benefits of using prebiotics, it is one that simply cannot be ignored. Prebiotics are a simple solution to improving our pet’s health, through boosting the immune system and reducing the need for antibiotics and other long term medications – not to mention expensive costs of long term veterinary care!