Clostridia in Dogs

Written by: Dr. Steve Sanderlin, Holistic Veterinarian, DVM

Question: My dog was recently diagnosed with clostridia. She is 9 years old and never had any problems. The doctor gave her metronidazole as a treatment. I don't think it's working very well, however, due to some research I have done, it could take months for the symptoms to go away. I don't know what to do? How can I treat this without it costing me a fortune?

Answer: Clostridium is a large genus of Gram-positive bacteria. They are obligate anaerobes capable of producing endospores. They are one of the most common causes of infection of the intestinal tract. Some antibiotics can put individuals at risk of becoming infected with clostridial bacteria. Antibiotics disrupt the normal, or "good" bacteria of the bowel, allowing this "bad" bacteria to become established. Many animals infected with clostridium have no symptoms. These animals become carriers of the bacteria and can infect others. In others, a toxin produced by the bacterial endospores causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, severe inflammation of the intestines, even fever, an elevated white blood count, vomiting and dehydration may occur in severely affected patients.This imbalance of bacteria in the digestive tract causes "Leaky Gut Syndrome." It is necessary to address this imbalance by replacing the "good" bacteria with probiotics (like Integrative Therapeutics Spectra), restoring normal digestive/absorptive function with enzymes (like Animal Essentials Plant Enzymes and Probiotics, or Prozyme), repairing intestinal mucosal integrity and supporting the gastrointestinal tract (especially Only Natural Pet GI Support), utilizing Chinese Herbs (like Health Concerns Quiet Digestion), and maintaining normal digestive health with minimally processed, whole ingredient diets (such as Honest Kitchen Dehydrated DietsFreeze Dried FoodHome Made or Raw Frozen Diets) along with the above supplements to prevent recurrence of infection. Vitamin, mineral, antioxidant supplements such as Vetri-Science Canine Plus Senior, immune modulators with plant sterols such as those in Only Natural Pet Immune Balance, fatty acids, and medical mushroom extracts such as Health Concerns Power Mushrooms, Mush Medicinal Mushrooms, or Vetri-Science Maitake DMG can help in treating and preventing clostridial infections.Finally, it is important to also rule out underlying diseases or imbalances that may weaken the immune and digestive systems.

S.M. Sanderlin DVM