Sunday 8 June 2014

Treating Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease With Fecal Microbiota Transplantation

Treating Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease With Fecal Microbiota Transplantation

Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a condition which is an immune-mediated reaction of the intestinal tract to food, parasite antigens or bacteria.  In other words, the immune system reacts in a negative way to the presence of certain foods or bad bacteria, or substances produced by parasites in the intestinal tract.

It is not known what precisely the role of bacteria is, in feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). But if bacteria plays a major role and let's say that it is bad bacteria which causes the intestinal tract to become inflamed then replacing all the bacteria in the intestinal tract might solve the problem.

Normally, the intestine contains a range of good bacteria which is used to digest food.  If the balance within the various types of bacteria is upset it may cause IBD.  One way to restore this balance is to inject mashed up poop from another healthy cat into the intestine of the ill cat.  It is a bit like a reset button on a computer.  The bacterial content of the intestinal tract is restored to good health.

This unusual treatment has been used on people with great success.  It sounds rather crude and a bit odd and it is a cutting edge treatment as far as I know. When fecal microbiota transplantation is used on people, laboratory staff receive some sh*t from a donor who, by the way is paid for that service, which is then mashed up using kitchen equipment and a saline solution added to it.  This mixture is then placed into a very large syringe and through keyhole surgery (I believe) this solution is injected into the person's intestinal tract thereby totally replacing all the bacteria that is already in the tract.

Because inflammatory bowel disease in domestic cats is rather poorly understood and the treatment is confined to simple but lifelong management without cure, it would seem that FMT would be an ideal treatment to try on the domestic cat in a study. If the human studies are anything to go by success is likely.

People with IBD have been subject to studies.  There were given FMT treatment.  The results are very impressive. There is a high success rate.  This is a rather novel treatment but as mentioned the success rate is good if the problem within a person's gut is due to an imbalance in the bacterial content.

I would like to see scientists and veterinarians exploring the possibility of administering FMT to domestic cats with IBD.

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