Microbiome Health And Its Role In Canine Rehab

by | Mar 30, 2023 | General Veterinary Rehabilitation

Written by Dr. Margo Roman, DVM, CVA, COT, CPT

When we aim to treat our patients holistically as canine rehabilitation therapists, as we should be, we must consider more than just their musculoskeletal health. When we consider their mental health, nutrition, and environment, we are more likely to identify problem areas that can adversely affect the well-being of the patient.


The microbiome is one of these areas that we must consider when evaluating a patient. A microbiome that is out of balance can impact a patient’s ability to heal, regenerate tissue, and absorb nutrients. It can negatively affect their immunity and temperament.


Microbiome health can be improved through diet and more direct intervention.


What is the dogs Microbiome?

The microbiome refers to colonies of bacteria and microorganisms living within a dog’s digestive tract. The balance of good and bad bacteria within these colonies is crucial – we are either feeding and increasing the good bacteria, or the bad.

The microbiome forms an integral part of the immune system and has gained increasing attention in both human and veterinary medicine in recent years. Research has shown that 75-80% of our immune system is located in the gut, making a diverse, symbiotic, balanced microbiome essential to the health, healing and recovery of our patients.

Humans have over 100 trillion microbes in their gut, and the numbers are similar for animals. With the extensive use of microbe-damaging treatments such as antibiotics, NSAIDs and opiates, and exposure to pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals, the microbiome of the animal you’re treating may not be in any condition to promote healing.


How can the microbiome be treated?

Microbiome restorative therapy (MBRT) strengthens the whole body by restoring the microbiome of the gut. Veterinarians have been using faecal transplants in cattle and pigs for many years, but until now there has been no protocol for small animals. The practice is increasingly viewed as an integral component of veterinary healthcare and is used extensively in the US, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Israel and Japan. At our clinic in Hopkinton, New England, we’ve conducted over 7000 MBRT treatments – see www.mashvet.com.


Is microbiome restorative therapy successful?

The success of MBRT is dependent on three components:

  1. The quality of the donor. Donors should be as healthy as possible, having had no exposure to antibiotics, herbicides, pesticides, etc., and raised on an organic, raw diet. Our donor family of standard poodles has been raised organically and holistically for 25 years and five generations.
  2. Prepping of the gut terrain to allow good transfer from donor to recipient. We support the gut through the addition of nutraceuticals that nurture the gut by adding probiotics, digestive enzymes and colostrum. We place the recipient on a similar diet to that of the donor, addressing any additional dietary needs that a specific patient may have.
  3. The use of medical ozone therapy. Ozone helps reduce the biofilm of the gut, creating a location for the new symbiotic donor microbes to establish themselves in the colon. Ozone stimulates the mitochondria of stem cells which occur in the columnar colon cells, thus strengthening the colon.


What impact can successful microbiome restorative therapy have on a patient?

The clinical effects and results achieved with successful MBRT treatment are exciting. We’re seeing old animals with a renewed zest for life; dogs that seem to be on their way out suddenly exhibit a desire to play and interact with the family again. Terminal cancer patients have had their lives extended by years. MBRT is a natural, simple treatment that increases the animal’s strength and leads to improved overall health and well-being. In our view, it is an integral part of a good healthcare system.

To hear Dr Margo Roman chat about ozone therapy and MBRT, click here to listen to The Vet Rehab podcast where she is Dr. Megan Kelly’s Guest.

For examples of cases that have benefitted from MBRT and ozone therapy, visit www.mashvet.com


From Onlinepethealth: 

As Vetrehabbers, we are constantly striving to see our patients as a whole. Knowledge about therapies such as ozone therapy and MBRT can help us to advise our clients well. As Dr Lisa Mason says in Podcast Episode 139,

“I often tell myself that I would like to only treat musculoskeletal conditions, and when this thought crosses my mind I remind myself that I am a pain practitioner, and I must be able to recognise pain as well as its origin, no matter what that origin might be.”  



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