Faecal Microbiota Transplantation

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Every time someone tells me their dog has started eating their own or another dog’s faeces, I can’t help myself. I can’t help telling them about a microbiome restorative therapy known as faecal microbiota transplantation. Faecal microbiota transplantation, also known as faecal matter transplantation or FMT treatment for dogs, could soon be coming to a veterinary practice near you. And sooner than you might think!

You see, I’m a great believer in canine self medication. So every time a concerned pet parent tells me their dog eats grass, I say, great. That’s because they know something you don’t. They’re self-medicating. So how are we to know that a dog who chooses to eat another dog’s faeces isn’t doing exactly the same?

What is FMT?

Faecal microbiota transplantation is known as FMT for short. It’s the ancient human practice of treating the digestive problems of a sick person with the faeces, stool or poop of a healthy person. As bizarre as it might sound, it works. It’s now a treatment option offered at some of the world’s top hospitals. Including Johns Hopkins in America and Guy’s and St Thomas’ in London.

FMT is mainly used to treat persistent diarrhoea caused by a type of bacteria called clostridium difficile. C Diff for short. It’s also used to treat the likes of ulcerative colitis. The treatment helps to rebalance the bacteria and other organisms (the microbiota) in an unhealthy gut by implanting microbes taken from the stool of a healthy donor. A healthy gut, This procedure is carried out via either the upper or the lower gastrointestinal tract. Nasal tube or rectal enema.

How it’s done and whether the same method is used for dogs doesn’t matter. What counts is that the procedure works. That FMT treatment for dogs is an effective method of treating persistent gut problems in man’s best friend.

My dietary consultation will focus on your dog’s specific health problem and provide you with a bespoke feeding plan customised to your dog's individual requirements.

Canadian Dr Karen Becker is the world’s best known holistic veterinarian. Dr Becker recently highlighted a study in Brazil where FMT treatment for dogs had been effective in treating 66 puppies stricken with parvovirus.

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious disease. It can affect any dog, but largely targets puppies and unvaccinated dogs. It spreads like wildfire, damages the lining of the intestines and causes severe illness and even death.

While the mortality rate is said to reach as high as 91% in the case of untreated cases, researchers at two veterinary teaching hospitals in Brazil treated the pups with standard veterinary treatment plus FMT treatment for dogs. The results were amazing!

According to Dr Becker:

  • “Puppies who received FMT had a lower death rate (21.2% vs 36.5% in the group that received only standard supportive care)
  • Diarrhea resolved within 48 hours in 61.5% of puppies who received FMT vs only 4.8% of pups who received the standard treatment
  • Average hospitalization time was much shorter for puppies who received FMT (3.3 days vs 6 days)

The study authors concluded that FMT is a safe procedure with no adverse effects, and that it decreases the mortality rate and recovery time in puppies with parvo.”

Maybe dogs know best

So next time your dog seems intent on snacking on another dog’s poop, as disgusting as it might seem to you, cut it some slack. Maybe, just maybe, it knows something you don’t!

Gerald Pepin

Gerald Pepin

Canine Nutritionist

Gerald Pepin is a qualified canine nutritionist, writer, speaker and homemade dog food advocate. Gerald believes that good nutrition can improve or cure most canine health problems and that the natural way is always the best way when it comes to healing man's best friend. A life-long lover of German Shepherds, Gerald and his wife The Dog Chef have two GSDs and live in rural Somerset.


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