Reading this article’s title might make you ask, “What in the world is she talking about?” 

Many dogs suffer from chronic digestive issues that are exhibited most often by diarrhea. No matter what food changes, including prescription diets, and medications that are off and on, the issue does not seem to resolve itself. 

Owners can be at their wits end as to what to do for their poor dog. It is very difficult to live with a dog that has this condition, as it means many trips outside – not just during the day but in the middle of the night as well. It can also create difficulties with house breaking, as the dog can’t control its bowels. 

Recently I spoke to an owner of such a dog. Her veterinarian had recently been to a conference where the subject of fecal transplant was discussed. Evidently it has been around for a while but not often used due to the training. I had never heard of it and was very intrigued.

In this case the owner decided to give it a try. It often takes two doses and information follows:

Microbiome restorative therapy transfers gut microorganisms from a healthy dog to a dog that suffers from chronic gut issues. I know it sounds icky, but it can prove to be a very successful process.  

Microbiomes include bacteria, fungi, protozoa and more. They do not cause disease but support the body’s health. Food, drugs and chemicals can destroy these health-producing microbes and cause disruptive imbalances.

 More than 80% of the body’s immune system in both animals and humans reside in the digestive tract. These imbalances can cause a variety of diseases and medical conditions other than just digestive ones. 

The dog receiving the transplant needs to be prepared by making some changes to reduce inflammation, such as food changes, and adding probiotics and immune support products. 

Locating a healthy donor dog is also difficult. The donor dog needs to pass an array of tests to ensure their health. One doesn’t want to transfer any unwanted disease-producing organisms. The exact criteria can’t often be found, which is one of the many reasons this procedure is not often offered. However, even if the perfect criteria can’t be found, coming close might be the best bet. 

Preferred donor dogs are not spayed or neutered, have been on very few chemicals (drugs, especially antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), and have a long-lived ancestry.

The procedure: Fecal sample is collected from the donor dog and processed. It is inserted through a tube and placed in the rectum of a partially sedated recipient. The tube goes up all through the length of the intestine. It can be repeated over a course of months. 

If you can get past the grossness of this and have tried many other remedies, it may be time to discuss with your veterinarian. It is not considered an expensive process but very few vets offer this, so you might need to check around.

Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy.