Which probiotics best for IBD cat and how often to use?

Coolcattee

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Hi everyone. Thank you for your input. I'm at an impasse with my IBD kitty, 11 yrs old, otherwise in good health except her gut imbalances. A year ago she was put on prednisalone, nausea meds, and I changed her diet to more raw/homecooked, low carb diet. Started her on probiotics, some other supplements for GI health. She gradually improved, no more vomiting, more regular stools. I thought I was home free...but a couple months ago, she started excessive paw licking, overgrooming and diarrhea returned intermittently. Took her to vet, no signs of arthitis or injury in her paws/legs, no signs of skin patches/balding/bumps, etc. We're thinking this could be a new allergy issue...I thought to send out a repeat fecal biome test to Animal Biome. Unfortunately it showed overgrowth of some bad bacteria, and no changes in improvement in native flora. So in a way she got a bit worse biome wise, even though her symptoms were better from a year ago! I have been giving Visbiome 1/2 cap a day and alternating with Nexabiotics 1 cap a day. She's so sensitive to changes. I wanted to add in some psyllium and S Boulardii...but just after half a capsule, now she hasn't pooped in 5 days and her itching got worse! It went from loose to nothing. I don't know what where went wrong or where to go from here or which probiotics will really help restore her gut and keep the bad guys in check. I am getting conflicting messages from different places on what type of probiotic is best. I just want to get her back on track! Thanks.
 

daftcat75

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I put probiotics in the category of "might help, probably won't hurt, very likely not the miracle you're looking for."

It could be that she's developed a learned allergy to something you are feeding her (or possibly even a filler ingredient in one of your supplements.)

Psyllium and s. boulardii can both constipate a cat. Together can make matters worse. Instead of psyllium, maybe something with inulin instead. That's a functional fiber and pre-biotic.

Betty took AnimalBiome's Gut Restore Supplement for a year and it never really moved the needle in her Gut Health Tests. That tells me that those supplements can only do so much without diet and exercise interventions.

If you never saw the AnimalBiome report, does she seem like an imbalanced kitty? If you discontinued all the probiotics, does all her progress unravel? Maybe you're trying too much and one of them isn't agreeing with her?

None of these were miracle workers, but some I have tried:

AnimalBiome's Gut Restore Supplement. This seemed to improve her appetite. But I never really saw many changes in her biome test reports. Then again, whether it was by doctor instruction or Betty's own pickiness, we didn't try all the diet recommendations that came back in the report.

Vitality Science's Pet Flora. This one at least seems like it's formulated for pets rather than simply taking a human probiotic and splitting it into a cat dose. It looks like dirt because it is made from dirt. Many probiotics grow their strains on a dairy medium. VS chose to use a dirt medium instead. It looks off-putting. But Krista didn't have any fussiness eating it with her food. I haven't really tried it with Betty yet because she has enough fussiness without "poisoning" her food.

Adored Beast Feline Gut Soothe. I haven't tried this one yet. But lots of people here swear by it. There's lots of good stuff in there. But again, if you're trying to find the irritant/allergen, throwing a new batch of ingredients at the problem might not be the solution.

Since you are making her own food, you have a greater degree control over the ingredients that go into her. You might have to go simple for a couple of weeks (protein and fat without supplements) just to see if that changes anything. If she improves with a reduction in her protocol, then you'll gradually reintroduce things to see which triggers her reaction again. An otherwise healthy cat can eat an unbalanced (unsupplemented) diet for two to four weeks before nutritionally complete food must be reintroduced. That may not be enough time to see an improvement in symptoms. But yeah. That would be my starting point. Reduce your ingredient and supplement universe to see if you can find the culprit through elimination. You may also need to change proteins with her.
 
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Coolcattee

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Hi appreciate the advice. Yeah I was thinking I should maybe just stop all the supplements a while and see what happens. I'm getting too much advice from everywhere. I do want to stop the itching and diarrhea somehow. Yeah I did see the report. She had excess chlostridium perfingens...thus my desire to try the Boulardii. I had some GMP and have tried that the past few days with a tiny bit of psyllium as they recommended. It seemed to clean her gut out all in one day on thanksgiving...then nada since and more itching! I'm stopping the other probiotics i have for now. Maybe one of those could be the culprit. She's on such a limited number of proteins already...bison, pork, then a commercial raw rabbit, duck. I eliminated GLM...made her itchy bad, but even after stopping it she's still itchy weeks later. So that one wasn't the culprit. I eliminated beef..no change. Maybe will try the bison too. I live in a rural area too where it's hard to go shopping more than once a week. I get meats from the local small farms. I've tried gut soothe, slippery elm, love bugs, visbiome, nexabiotics, standard process enteric support. She was only on the visbiome/nexa plus SP for a long time. I quit the SP...no change.I guess it's onto food eliminations again. I'm so frustrated.
 

daftcat75

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Bison, pork, rabbit, and duck is four proteins--assuming there isn't also hidden protein sources in their like chicken (poultry) broth or egg yolk. Alnutrin makes a version of their powder without egg yolk since egg yolk shows up in a lot of raw/homemade recipes and preparations. What I'm getting at is that is still a large number of proteins. For a proper elimination diet, you should pick one and stick to that for as much as thirteen weeks. But really, if it's no good for her, you probably don't need that long to know it. Is she still taking pred?

Healthy cats can have c. perf in their gut. It's whether that c. perf is producing the enterotoxin (something AnimalBiome doesn't tell you) that would tell you whether the c. perf in her gut is a problem. When my Krista had c. perf, she had liquid stools for most of a summer. It took several times daily administrations of s. boulardii to clear that out. We took a wet slimy mess in for a Diarrhea PCR and it came back with c. perf and the enterotoxin. Months later, I brought in a fully formed sample for a PCR and the doc said, "let me save you several hundred and tell you that if c. perf were still a problem, her stool would not look like that." So again, if you hadn't seen the AnimalBiome report, does she seem like a kitty with an active and problematic gut infection? If she has chronic diarrhea, take that in for a PCR. If it was just a one-off thing lately, then the c. perf in her gut is probably not the problem and I would recommend proceeding with the elimination diet.
 

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I agree with daftcat75 daftcat75 's thought to go simple on the food first to try to figure out what's causing the problem. I also agree about feeding more homemade food; we use Alnutrin, which works really well for our cat with lots of gut issues (presumed IBD). If you're feeding any canned foods with gums and/or other thickeners, what's worked for us is keeping Edwina off all foods that have any thickeners beyond guar gum. So no agar-agar, tapioca, or xanthan gum. Among others. I also took her off egg yolk (which I was using for motility) and fish (which she got tiny amounts of). We're basically down to homemade plus a few kinds of canned and pouch foods. I tend to take out multiple ingredients simultaneously, which doesn't tell me exactly what's causing a problem but it does make the process go faster! Sometimes, as with Edwina and egg yolk, a cat can eat small amounts of an ingredient without any problems: Edwina can eat Alnutrin with egg yolk but I strongly suspect all the extra egg yolk put her over the top.

Edwina's a barfer and I'm one of the people here who swears by Adored Beast's Feline Gut Soothe. Her stomach inflammation was so bad last summer that she had to have it surgically removed. She went eight or nine months without problems but then started sliding back into her old barfing patterns. Gut Soothe has done wonders for her: I think it's the combination of probiotics and anti-inflammatory herbs that make it work for her. Adored Beast's Felix's Flora is just probiotics; I've heard great things about that, too.

A couple things about probiotics. Buy one that doesn't have any chemicals added like maltodextrin, which can irritate the gut. And start with a very tiny amount. We started Edwina with a pinch of Feline Gut Soothe and took a month or two to get her to the full dose for her weight class. Even at a half-dose, though, we could tell she was doing better because she looked far more comfortable. I think they named it right with "soothe."

Good luck!
 
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Coolcattee

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Yes she’s still on pred. I’ve upped the dose but she’s still licking and itchy. I use Alnutrin without egg and bison liver. The raw rabbit and duck have herring oil, but nothing else but some added vitamins. Yeah my kitty has had loose stools alternating with regular formed ones for several months, started going outside the box too sometimes so I knew something was up. I just thought it was maybe too much fat in her diet..I should have paid attention sooner. But she was on a couple good probiotics I thought, so how could she still have intermittent diarrhea? How could she get an Infection? Would the pred cause that? The diarrhea started before the paw licking, itching. Do you think enterotoxin could cause the itching?
 
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Coolcattee

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Oh wanted to ask what is a PCR? Do I ask my vet to do that?
 
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Coolcattee

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Oh thanks, I have heard gut soothe is great. I’ve been using some slippery elm on its own but it never helped her diarrhea issues. I’ve heard Felix flora is good too. I do give a little canned also rarely. It’s single protein bison but has agar agar. Though she was itchy and having diarrhea before I ever tried the canned. I’m worried the probiotics I had her on caused a worse imbalance. I’m stopping them for now. Just giving kitty biome GMP.
 
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Coolcattee

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Oh thanks, I have heard gut soothe is great. I’ve been using some slippery elm on its own but it never helped her diarrhea issues. I’ve heard Felix flora is good too. I do give a little canned also rarely. It’s single protein bison but has agar agar. Though she was itchy and having diarrhea before I ever tried the canned. I’m worried the probiotics I had her on caused a worse imbalance. I’m stopping them for now. Just giving kitty biome GMP.
 

maggie101

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Oh wanted to ask what is a PCR? Do I ask my vet to do that?
I also use adored beast feline gut sooth. Her stools got firmer. I stopped and diaheria came back,worse. She is back on it plus her imd suggested adding psyllium powder. It's only been a few days but today she went a big firm stool. Also looked like she peed at the same time or something else. Anyways,it looked much better. The brand I bought is Now Psyllium husk Powder
 

Margot Lane

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Somewhat along the lines of the “might help” category, has anyone tried turkey tail mushroom, in powdered form? I see it mentioned as being helpful for cats in so many ways on several websites. I only mention it b/c I have (or had) IBS and swapped out my coffee for OM coffee (mushroom coffee). The effect was instant and I am now fine. Obviously check out these websites profusely first but alls I can tell you is it works for a human. Maybe put It in your “last resort if all else fails,’ category.
 

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PCR is a test that the vet can run on a stool sample that you bring them. The fact that the itching and such hasn't stopped despite the prednisone says, to me at least, that the source of the itching is still there. As prednisone isn't a cure and doesn't solve the underlying issue. Your cat most likely has an issue with one of the proteins you're feeding. One of mine has developed an issue with elk & venison, which results in him licking his paws over and over. I would try feeding only one of the proteins on your list, temporarily, to see if that helps with the itching. Preferably whichever protein your cat as eaten the least of. If that stops the itching, then you can slowly reintroduce the other proteins, one by one, and see if the itching returns. If it does, then the meat that you just added is the culprit.
 

Jabzilla

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Sorry, I realized I didn’t explain what the PCR test does. It tests the stool sample for various parasites, be they bacterial or protozoan. The test will pick up the C Perf and will tell you how much of it is there along with which toxin it’s producing, if any. There are multiple toxins C Perf can produce and they cause different problems.

The Kitty GMP is good against E Coli and C Diff. C Diff and C Perf are different kinds of clostridium, so I’m not sure if the Kitty GMP will help with it. There have been multiple threads on here about S Boulardii with MOS being used to help treat C Perf with success. That will be more helpful than the other bacteria probiotics, as they don’t do anything to fight off the C Perf.

When you got your Kitty Biome test results, did you use their Gut Restore FMT pills? Those are the only form of “probiotic” that can fully rebalance the feline gut. Your test results will show a long list of various families of bacteria found in a health cats gut. The strains in probiotics all fall into the bifidobacterium family. A few have enterococcus and streptococcus added as well. Even with that though, they can’t provide any of the remaining families of bacteria that your report would say your cat is low on or missing. As of right now, only the FMT pills from Animal Biome can provide the full spectrum of microbes that a feline’s gut requires.
 

lisahe

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Oh thanks, I have heard gut soothe is great. I’ve been using some slippery elm on its own but it never helped her diarrhea issues. I’ve heard Felix flora is good too. I do give a little canned also rarely. It’s single protein bison but has agar agar. Though she was itchy and having diarrhea before I ever tried the canned. I’m worried the probiotics I had her on caused a worse imbalance. I’m stopping them for now. Just giving kitty biome GMP.
I'm not certain but I think Feline Gut Soothe's probiotics blend is Felix's Flora. The people behind Adored Beast's chat help are very helpful so I'm sure they could tell you if that's true or not. I think you did the right thing to stop probiotics for now. When I gave too much (meaning a small initial dose!) to Edwina, I think the best thing was to stop and then wait a few weeks.

We've banned a lot of ingredients over the years and agar-agar was one the absolute worst! It made both our cats barf, a rare feat. It became popular in foods a few years ago because many companies cancelled carrageenan... It took a couple months of increased gar-agar to cause visible symptoms (meaning piles of vomit) but once it took hold, it took hold so definitely watch out! It doesn't seem that sensitivities are especially common but they most definitely happen.
 
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