Kitty is adorable, but the messes he leaves you aren't. He throws up all over the house and you find runny poop in his litter box. You dread the sound of retching. He could be suffering from IBS and, just as with humans, probiotics may be able to help.
What Is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, refers to an array of conditions that cause digestive upset. If your cat has IBS you'll notice vomiting, diarrhea, and a change in his appetite or weight loss. Bacteria, parasites, food allergies and food intolerances are the most common causes of IBS. According to the Cat Health Guide, 50 percent of IBS cases are caused by Kitty's food.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are "good" bacteria that naturally live in Kitty's digestive system. Probiotics come from the food he eats and exist naturally in his digestive tract, working with his immune system to fight off disease. These good bacteria help kill bad bacteria and prevent gastrointestinal upset. If a cat doesn't have enough good bacteria present when dangerous bacteria enter his digestive system, he can develop an infection. Probiotics not only combat IBS, but urinary tract infections and yeast infections as well.
Why He May Not Have Enough Probiotics
If your cat doesn't have enough probiotics in his system, it may be because he's getting older. As he ages, Kitty's body is less able to retain good bacteria from the food he eats. For this reason, IBS is most common in cats over the age of 7. Antibiotics are another reason probiotics may be low. Antibiotics are great at killing disease-causing bacteria; unfortunately, they are also great at killing the good bacteria he needs.
Giving Kitty Probiotics
Probiotics can be given in food. Some commercial foods are formulated specifically to boost probiotic levels. Probiotics can also be given through supplements that are added into your cat's regular food. You can also find tasty treats that contain probiotics at your local pet store. Whenever giving Kitty nutritional supplements, be sure to carefully follow the dosing instructions on the package.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images