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Leaky Gut Syndrome

By Stella Wilkes  

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome

Inside your dog or cats’ digestive tract (and yours) is something called a microbiome.  This is a colony of bacteria that live throughout your pets’ body, but the largest, and most important, colony, lives in your dog or cats’ intestines and gut and plays a vital part in their immune system function.

If the microbiome isn’t healthy, your pet can’t be healthy and that is why most allergy drugs, diets and treatments won’t work in the long run as they all harm the delicate balance of the microbiome, which makes them more likely to suffer from allergies and other autoimmune diseases.

The bacteria in your dog or cats’ gut are responsible for producing much of their Vitamin K as well as some of the B vitamins. They help to absorb vitamins and other micronutrients that are vital to health and play an important part in regulating the immune system as well as producing fatty acids to keep the intestinal lining strong.

If the harmful bacteria are allowed to proliferate, holes can develop in the lining of the gut, allowing bacteria and undigested food to start to leak into the bloodstream.  Without going in to too much technical detail, it is thought that leaky gut causes not only allergies and hypersensitivity disorders, but creates autoimmunity, which is the root cause of a number of common health conditions including the following:

Symptoms of Leaky Gut can be numerous and examples are given below, many of which we would not imagine would be caused by a leaky gut.

  • Diseases of the skin (allergies), thyroid, joints, heart disease, spinal cord, eyes or brain.

  • IBD, interstitial and chronic cystitis, collapsing trachea, laryngeal paralysis, liver, gallbladder and pancreatic disorders.

  • Behavioural problems such as aggression, and obsessive compulsive disorders or self-mutilation.

  • Autoimmune disease and nutritional deficiencies which, left untreated, could lead to some forms of cancer because of the chronic inflammation.

Your pet’s gut is responsible for more than 70% of the immune system and is directly responsible for the absorption of the food you are feeding it and no amount of healthy food will benefit your dogs’ health, if it has an unhealthy gut.



  • STOP feeding processed food and feed a raw, species appropriate diet.

  • STOP routine vaccinations and ask your vet to measure antibody levels (titre tests can also be carried out by independent companies and are usually a lot cheaper).  Remember that a negative result does not necessarily mean that your dog has no immunity to that particular disease – it can mean that he has not come into contact with the disease to trigger an antibody response.

  • STOP using chemical flea and tick products that contain pesticides.  Use natural products and protocols with proven success.

  • STOP all drugs where possible.

  • Determine yours cat or dogs’ source of stress.  Make the time to go longer walks or hire a dog walker or someone to check in on them during the day.

Possible causes of Leaky Gut

  • Antibiotics (which kill both friendly and harmful bacteria)

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (many pain and arthritis drugs), which inhibit the growth of friendly bacteria.

  • Steroids

  • Antihistamines

  • Vaccines

  • Flea and tick treatments

  • Years of feeding dry commercial dog food.

  • Stress


Healing a Leaky Gut

  • Reduce the side effects of vaccines with homeopathic treatment, working with a qualified homeopath.  Detoxify and support the liver to remove toxins with herbs such as milk thistle or dandelion root.

  • Treat with a probiotic (kefir – preferably made with goats milk is the most natural choice for this) and digestive enzymes (tripe is supposed to contain digestive enzymes and is an easily digestible protein to feed.

  • Slippery elm will soothe and coat the intestines.

  • Phytoplankton-This is a marine antioxidant super-food that can be very helpful for leaky gut and will supply amino acids, micronutrients and protein while your dog or cats’ gut is healing.  It is very important to choose a reputable source that is not GMO, grown on land and watered with Atlantic ocean water that has been filtered for heavy metals – and no fillers.  If a good source can be found, you need only feed 1/16 to 1/8 of a tsp per day.

  • Bone broth – recipe for bone broth can be found in our files.                                                                                                     **Disclaimer-This article is for informational purposes only. Should you have any medical concern speak with your vet.**

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