Dan Moore, The Natural Vet ®
Little Bugs, Big Bugs, lots of bugs are the next big thing! I am not talking about spiders, ants or even bed bugs – though the later has certainly been in the news and according to experts are more likely than not to be around for a long time in the future. Viral flu or cold bugs are NOT the topic either…. But I promise there are millions upon millions of the culprits in the body and some experts say trillions. In fact, there are 100 times more of these bugs in the body than all the TOTAL number of cells in the human body. Other animals such as dogs, cats, horses and cows have them too.
There are no exceptions – all animals are loaded with bugs! Millions of species and millions of bugs occupy all animal bodies. Some are good, some are bad. The good news is that IF you and your animal friends have more of the good bugs chances are you and your animals are healthy. On the flip side, if you have more bad bugs than good bugs more than likely you are sick and going downhill fast. The good guys and the bad guys do have, however, one big thing in common. …they are all bacteria – tiny microbial bugs that cause BIG THINGS! Sometimes good things, sometimes bad things!
Up until recent years many doctors and even experts in the field thought all bacteria were bad. Antibiotics, of which the word which essentially means against life, kill both good bugs AND bad bugs. Overuse of antibiotics have created “super bad bugs” by a process called resistance. The same thing is happening with dewormers. Indiscriminate use and deworming by the calendar instead of deworming strictly based on need has created super worms that even harsh chemicals no longer kill. I have been on my soap box for nearly twenty years preaching the hazards of calendar rotational deworming and the need for fecal exams instead. I have been preaching that a healthy immune system through healthy nutrition is superior over use of drugs and medication too. Now as each day passes, health care professionals around the world are learning that the makeup of the massive bacterial populations of all animal bodies, and even possibly some worms in the gut may very well be the PRIMARY FACTORS in our health status. Antibiotics and indiscriminate use of dewormers is on the way out! Probiotics are in!
Coexistence with bugs and worms start at birth or at least shortly thereafter. Studies have shown that naturally born babies are healthier than those delivered by C-section. It is believed that this is likely due to exposure of the baby to bacteria in birth canal during delivery. Babies that get mothers milk are healthier too, though this is hardly news to those that raise animals. Newborn animal babies that don’t get the first milk called colostrum almost always die despite heroic efforts to save. Of course colostrum delivers immunity but could it also deliver good bugs? Especially important to me as a veterinarian is that studies have shown that children of families with dogs are healthier than those without dogs – Maybe dog kisses too aren’t that bad after all! Of course, we all already knew that, right?
Would you believe that gut bacteria may be linked to obesity? Washington University has done a study that shows good bacteria improve weight and metabolism – at least in mice. Two doctors from the Netherlands say that further research may find ways to use intestinal microbes (bacteria etc.) to diagnose and even treat Type 2 diabetes. Another study from the Netherlands has shown that taking fecal material from a healthy person and transplanting it into a person infected with Clostridium difficile, a bacteria causing colitis and diarrhea, was 94% successful in helping reduce symptoms of the disease. Yuk! BUT….Clostridium difficile infects millions of people – this could be big! Big Companies too, are already on the move…. Nestles Gerber now has an infant formula containing bifidobacterium bacteria that supports the immune system of infants. A leading biologist from North Carolina State University, my undergraduate alma mater by the way, has written a whole book, best selling book I might add, on the subject called “The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites and Partners That Shape Who We Are”. He sees a link in the overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial wipes with an increase in autism, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease and more. Now that’s scarey! One study that I read, showed that even ONE DOSE of an antibiotic can change our entire gut bacteria population (called flora) forever!!
So what are the alternatives for good health? Overall, man still does not know everything and never will….so personally, I rely on naturally sourced foods, minerals and ingredients as much as possible. I take what man does know, formulate the best I can from it and then fill in the gaps with natural. Certainly good nutrition is upmost! No doubt, the less we and our animals get our food from bags or boxes the healthier we will be.
Many, myself included, have also been using and suggesting probiotics for years. BUT…Can you believe that up until just a few years ago the “powers to be” wouldn’t even let us use the word probiotics – we were required to use the exact words… “direct fed microbials”! Sort of confusing huh? Just to be clear, PRO means…. related to or pertaining to “good”. BIOTIC means ….pertaining to “life”. I am sure you agree that a “good life” is better than a bad life or against life (antibiotic) - be it for animal or man! So before you take your antibiotic or medicine or give any antibiotic or medicine to your animals, think about the bugs. Is the medicine truly helping or hurting? Is it really needed or would a good probiotic formula help even more? Regardless, feed the good little bugs with probiotics. They just may be and science is proving that LITTLE BUGS ARE THE NEXT BIG THING!
By the way, our Bug Check daily supplement for pets and horses is loaded with probiotics thus making it more “multi-purpose” and beneficial by working even more from the “inside out”. It’s easy to forget that the skin is the largest organ of the body and often it is with the skin and coat where results are noticeable when products are beneficial. Of course, Bug Check is even more than probiotics too. Enjoy! Reference websites: