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Probiotics are nutritional supplements that contain “good” gut bacteria. In order for the digestive tract to function normally the presence of these good bacteria is very important. In times of stress or illness numbers  of these good bacteria may be adversely affected, in some cases “bad” bacteria, the types that cause infections, may overwhelm the good bacteria, meaning that digestion is impaired.

Probiotics are therefore most commonly used to establish and restore gut flora after/during illness or antibiotic treatment, or to aid normal digestion.  Probiotics are also used during periods of stress, to counteract the effects of stress on the digestive system.  Veterinary probiotics like Protexin come in a range of forms including pastes, powders and liquids. Protexin can be administered through either food or water, though if you choose the latter the mixture should be consumed within 12 hours.

Aside from times of general stress or ill health probiotics also have a variety of applications in the management of specific disease conditions. These conditions include (but are not limited to):

-         Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

-         Colitis (inflammation of the large intestine)

-         Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

-         Malabsorption syndrome

-         Inflammatory bowel disease

-         Colic

-         Laminitis

-         Gastric ulcers

-         Skin irritations

-         Digestive upsets.

Choosing the right probiotic for your pet

Your choice of probiotic should reflect your pet’s needs and take into account whether it is required for long or short term use, and which condition it is being used for.  For patients that are suffering from diarrhoea products like Diarsanyl and Prokolin are very popular, as these contain binding agents as well as probiotic bacteria. If the probiotic is required during a short course of antibiotics in a patient that is not experiencing diarrhoea then Protexin Professional (sold in individual 5g sachets) would be ideal. For longer term use Protexin Prosoluble,  Protexin Premium or Lacto B might all be appropriate and economical options.  For advice on which product will best suit your pet’s needs it is best to consult your veterinarian.