“Bowel-flora alteration through fecal microbiota transplantation is a potential future cure for feline inflammatory bowel disease”(Michael)
To the best of my knowledge a new treatment called “faecal microbiota transplantation” (FMT) has never been discussed as a treatment for feline inflammatory bowel disease (feline IBD). Update: there is at least one example of this on the internet. Please see the comments.
This short post discusses the possibility that this treatment will be used and I hope that others will pick up on this article and discuss the prospects of this treatment further.
Feline IBD is a disease that can be controlled but not cured. That is the current thinking by veterinarians about the treatment of this illness2.
There are three bowel problems in cats, the symptoms of which include protracted diarrhoea, sporadic vomiting and malabsorption (nutrients being poorly absorbed into the bloodstream). Together they are classified as IBD. All of the diseases are “immune-mediated” reactions of the gastrointestinal system to food, bacterial or parasite antigens.
“Immune-mediated” means inflammation as a result of a malfunctioning immune system.
The role of bacteria in IBD has not been clearly analysed and established in cats. However, the role of bacteria in this disease in cats has been suggested as a possibility since cats have a higher concentration of bacteria in their small intestines than many other mammals.
The high concentration of bacteria may be due to the fact that cats are, as you know, obligate carnivores. They have to eat the flesh of prey. The short intestinal tract of the cat would also seem to make it more important to have more bacteria in the gut. As consequence, some scientists think that if a cat is fed a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet matching the diet of the wild cat they are less likely to develop IBD.
The fact of the matter is that if scientists believe that bacteria in the gut plays a role in IBD then I would suggest that FMT is an ideal candidate has a form of treatment for this illness because FMT would replace, wholesale, the bad bacteria in the intestinal tract of the cat with the faecal bacteria of a healthy cat.
As for humans, FMT as a treatment for the management of IBD has been proved successful in studies. The success rate was high. “In the 17 patients in whom it was reported, 13/17 ceased IBD medications within 6 weeks. All experienced symptom reduction or resolution within 4 months and 15 patients experience complete resolution within a year”1.
I will leave it there for the time being because this post is about suggesting a treatment, no more no less. However, I have a strong feeling that it is only a matter of time before FMT is used as a standard treatment for feline IBD.
The issue is this: FMT is a new process and as a treatment for a range of disorders regarding the intestine tract of people it is new. I remember seeing a television programme recently about an Australian physician who had a very high success rate with faecal microbiota transportation. He treated a woman who had terrible intestinal tract and bowel problems. She was forced to go to the toilet up to 40 times daily. She received the treatment and almost overnight her debilitating medical condition was literally cured. Her problem was a total imbalance in the bacteria of her digestive tract. There was bad bacteria in it and this treatment forced out bad bacteria and replaced it with good bacteria.
- Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook 4th ed. pages 270-271
- Picture of bow: http://cdifffoundation.org
- Picture of moderate feline IBD (tissue sample): http://www.wpfelineclinic.com
- Image by Michael