Learn about top best probiotics for cats including, Fortiflora & Azodyl reviews, side effects, dosage and ingredients. Discover the best feline probiotics for cats with diarrhea & IBD. Also, find out more about natural and human cat probiotics such as kefir and yogurt, if they are safe and how they can be used for cats.
Benefits-Why Feline/Cat Probiotics?
Pets such as cats enrich our lives in various ways. They are fun to be with. Apart from being our companions in our daily lives and our undertakings, they instill in us a sense of responsibility, care and nurture. Without pets, loneliness would reign.
Keeping a pet happy and jovial most of the time requires a lot of attention to be paid to the pet to identify any signs of discomfort. Unusual behavior as well as well as unexpected irritation by normal situations that they would not react to.
There has been an observation made by various authorities and persons on issues that affect cats to an extent that a doctor has to be involved.
At times, for instance, these beautiful creatures may suffer from various digestive related challenges such as diarrhea. Probiotics, being very beneficial to the digestive tract can come in to aid in the resolution of situations that may be causing discomfort on the pet.
Dr. Cathy in her veterinary practice notes that more that 80% of all the ailments that are reported on the animals she sees can be improved or even cured by a change in diet.
This clearly indicates that most of the problems are associated with the foods that the pets take.
Considering that the digestive tract has 65 % of its composition as intestines, catering for what happens in the intestines largely improves the entire system. Probiotics are known to reside in the intestines. When present and active, chances of digestive challenges with the cats would drastically reduce.
As a cat ages, its digestive system is no longer as active as it was before. Due to this, the efficiency associated with the cat’s ability to breakdown, digest and absorb foods is reduced to a large extent.
This calls for some help to be availed to it in boosting its ability to digest and absorb the beneficial nutrients from the food it takes.
When the cat is exposed to repeated use of antibiotics, over time, the bacteria adapts. This means that the harmful bacteria is no longer eliminated by use of antibacterial medicines.
However, when probiotics are used, they do not specialize on only one part of the body, neither do they only handle one strain of harmful bacteria. They serve to boost the entire defense system of the cat and prevent illness in the end.
Studies/Research on the benefits of cat probiotics
What does science say on the impact of probiotics on cats? Here are some studies.
Studies conducted to find out the benefits of the probiotic strain Enterococcus faecium (poop strain) on kittens and adult cats indicated reduced incidence and duration of naturally occurring diarrhea and improved good-to-bad gut bacteria ratios. (Bybee et al, 2011).
In another study which was performed on healthy adult cats, it was found that strain of L. acidophilus probiotic changed the balance of GI microflora and in addition, resulted in beneficial systemic and immunomodulatory effects.
Yet in another test study, a probiotic supplement reduced creatinine levels in six of seven cats and improved their health and vitality. The probiotic product in question was made up of a mixture of three probiotic strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Streptococus thermophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum.
A study undertaken and published in 2006 indicated that when cats are fed with probiotic supplements, their immune systems improve and yield positive benefits.
It was also noted that beyond this, it leads to better performance of phagocytes which absorb waste and harmful microorganisms in the bloodstream.
Following this, study, Dr. Becker noted that supplements that improve the pet’s health are definitely beneficial. So which are these probiotics supplements? Read on to find out.
Fortiflora Reviews + Side Effects
Fortiflora, created by Purina and branded as FortiFlora® Feline, is a nutritional supplement that is formulated to treat intestinal bacterial imbalances that often lead to diarrhea in cats and dogs.
Ingredients-What is Fortiflora for Cats made up of?
Enterococcus faecium, Animal digest, brewers dried yeast, Vitamin E supplement, beta-Carotene, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), zinc proteinate, salt, manganese proteinate, taurine, ferrous sulfate, calcium iodate, copper proteinate, sodium selenite. D-4583
Supplement Facts (Guaranteed Analysis -Dry)
- Microorganisms (Enterococcus faecium) (Min) 1 X 108 CFU/g
- Crude Protein (Min) 43.0%
- Crude Fat (Min) 10.0%
- Moisture (Max) 5.0%
- Crude Fiber (Max) 1.0%
Fortiflora Feline Nutritional Supplement Dosage- How much of Fortiflora for Cats?
This product comes in boxes. Each box contains 30 1-dose packets. Feed one packet to your cat every day under the supervision or direction of your veterinarian.
According to Purina here are the benefits & features that make Fortiflora unique for your cat.
- The supplement is made with a proprietary micro encapsulation process that stabilizes the microorganisms and creates multilayer protection against moisture. This ensures the microorganisms will travel through your pet’s GI tract safely without losing their effectiveness. Hence, they will remain alive and helpful for what they are meant for
- This probiotic supplement increases your pets’ appetite. It is tasty and can be taken with ease. It can be sprinkled right on your pet’s food.
- Fortiflora Feline has antioxidant Vitamins A, E and C, which are good for a robust immune system.
Fortiflora Feline Side Effects
There are no known or documented side effects of this product. Not even the main ingredient (Enterococcus faecium) has shown measurable side effects
However, incase use of this product causes any side effects, stop usage and consult a veterinarian.
Reviews & Where to Buy
Looking around, Fortiflora has a high percentage of positive reviews. A lot of users recommend this probduct for cats and kittens. As usual, there are those who claim that it does not work.
Fortiflora for Cats Petco & PetSmart
Petco Animal Supplies and PetSmart Inc. are two popular retailers that deal with pets, pet products and services. According to online user searches, pet owners seem to be seeking Fortiflora review information from these two retailers but unfortunately as per this writing the two companies do not stock Fortiflora for cats. Therefore, there is no information to ascertain if they recommend or not recommend this product
Fortiflora Feline Amazon Reviews & Rating
On Amazon, Purina Fortiflora Feline Nutritional Supplement Box, 30gm has quite a large number of reviews. As per this writing, over 1228 customers have reviewed and rated this product. 1137 customers have given this product a positive review and more than 80% of the users give it 5-star rating. Most users recommend it for kidney/urinary issues, GI issues, Diarrhea, as an appetizer amongst other conditions.
On the other hand, it does not work for others. In one of the top critical reviews, Fortiflora doesn’t work as pure probiotic but a mere appetite stimulant. One downside that is brought up here is that it contains only one strain. Other forum review comments also mention similar inefficiency.
Entirely Pet is another online store where a good number of users have thrown in their reviews. Basing on the reviews from this store, this probiotic supplement is still highly recommended. Actually, 99% of over 280 reviewers would recommend Fortiflora especially for digestive issues. Some even recommend it for dull coat.[wp-review]
Where can I buy Fortiflora for Cats?
This product can be bought on Amazon, Entirely Pet, PetFoodDirect or you can get it from the manufacturer, Purina Pro Plan Veterinay Diets
Azodyl for Cats- Side Effects, Dosage & Reviews
Azodyl is a nutritional supplement for pets (cats & dogs) that is designed to lower the effects of azotemia. According to Wikipedia, Azotemia is a medical condition depicted by abnormally high levels of nitrogen-containing compounds (such as urea, creatinine, various body waste compounds, and other nitrogen-rich compounds) in the blood. Not many recognize this product as probiotic supplement but it is actually beneficial bacterial product basing on the ingredients as you will learn shortly.
Azodyl manufacturer & Ingredients– the name of the company that makes Azodyl is called Vetoquinol, a veterinary pharmaceutical company. It is usually available as a non-prescription (OTC) probiotic supplement. Azodyl is made up of ingredients from Kibow Biotics- an internationally recognized research company that develops dietary supplements based on entric toxin reduction technology; Following is a list of the ingredients
- Enterococcus thermophilus (KB 19)
- Lactobacillus acidophilus (KB 27)
- Bifidobacterium longum (KB 31)
- psyllium husk
What is Azodyl used for and how does it work for cats
Azodyl is mainly used for supporting renal (kidney) function in both cats and dogs by providing natural enteric dialysis and slows down uremic toxin buildup in the blood to help prevent further kidney damage.
The naturally-occurring beneficial bacteria in this product are said to metabolize and flush out uremic toxins that have diffused into the bowel.
Dosage & how Azodyl should be taken
How much of Azodyl to give to your pet depends entirely on your cat’s weight. For cats less than 5 pounds (lbs) or 2.27 Kilograms (kg), the dosage is 1 capsule daily. For cats between 5-10 pounds (2.27 – 4.5 kilograms) the dose is 2 capsules daily, one in the morning and the other in the evening. For cats above the weight of 10 pounds, give 3 capsules. Where necessary, administer capsule with a piece of your kitty’s favorite meal or treat.
Caution: Capsules should not be opened or crushed. They should be administered whole.
Reviews- Side Effects & Benefits
What is Azodyl good for? According to the manufacturer, following are the benefits of Azodyl
- It can be safely used with conventional renal failure treatments
- Lowers toxin buildup in the blood
- Helps animals feel better in as little as 2 days (48 hours)
- Supports continued healthy kidney function
Azodyl Side Effects- Is it safe? There are no reported side effects of using these beneficial bacteria for your cats. However, there is one con or disadvantage of buying this product. It must be refrigerated for it to be effective. According to the manufacturer, Azodyl remains active and good for use if kept at temperatures of up to 20 degrees Celsius for up to 14 days.
User Reviews and Rating
What do user reviews say about Azodyl? Is it effective for cats?
On Amazon, 160 out of 210 customers give this product a positive review. 66% percentage of the customers give it 5-star rating. It is especially good for cats with chronic renal failure (CRF) 13% of the customers give it a 1-star rating. The issue here is the idea that it must refrigerated.
On EntirelyPet Azodyl scores 4.77 rating based on 96 reviews. It works well for most customers especially for issue related to kidney failure. A number of customers also add that they like the small capsules as they are easier to administer to cats.
Note the reviews are as per the date this article was published.
Where to buy Azodyl for cats
It can be bought form Amazon, straight from the manufacturer(Vetoquinol) or from Entirely pet.
Make sure it is delivered when it is still cold. It should not be warm!
Human & Natural Probiotics for Cats-Yogurt & Kefir
How good are human probiotics for cats? What about natural probiotics like yogurt and kefir? Are they good for your kitties? Let’s find out.
A lot of pet owners have been quite inquisitive about human probiotics for cats. The following questions have always been brought up.
Can I give my cat human probiotics?
Are human probiotics safe for cats?
Can cats take human probiotics?
The information available on whether cats should be given human probiotics or not seems quite unclear. Some say human probiotics should not be given to cats because the strains in the human probiotics are not specifically created for cats. According to some pet users, these non-specific strains may irritate cats or they may be ineffective altogether since they contain fewer strains(CFUs). Some users say they have no harm on cats etc.
What do experts, veterinarians or pet specialists say?
According Dr. Becker, mentioned above, human probiotics are not recommended for cats.
In her opinion, probiotic formulas used by humans were developed specifically to fortify the bacterial species found in the human GI tract. Pets have specific strains of bacteria unique to them, so they need a unique probiotic. Your dog or cat must have organisms derived from its own species for best results. You probably won’t harm your pet by offering human probiotics, but you aren’t providing as much benefit as you would be by offering a species-appropriate product.
According to Dr. Drew, human probiotics are considered safe for cats, but of questionable effectiveness.
It is very clear that inasmuch as human probiotics are harmless, they are not recommended for your kitty simply because they will not produce the desired results. If you must use a human probiotic for your cat, ensure it is made up of strictly probiotic cultures. Avoid those with additives.
Natural cat probiotics– Probiotics availability in the natural environment occurs in foods which contain them in reasonable quantities. These foods include kefir, yoghurt and sauerkraut.
The richest ones as source of probiotics are kefir and sauerkraut. As a source of probiotics, Kefir has a variety of benefits associated with its use.
For instance, it also contains tryptophan, substantial amounts of vitamin B complex vitamins, A, D and magnesium.
It is cheaper and contain quite a large number of beneficial bacteria. Further they are credited to promote anti-cancer and anti-tumor that may grow in the body.
As The Pet Beastro puts it, yogurt may be a natural probiotic source, but you should be aware that the amount of probiotics in this dairy product is so small that huge portions of it must be consumed by your pet in order to gain any probiotic benefit.
It should also be noted that in most cases, dairy products don’t sit well with adult cats due to lactose intolerance.
Tips to feed you kitty with natural probiotics
Upon deciding the natural food source to use as the source of probiotic for the cat, a schedule or plan needs to be made and observed so that the process is made easy to administer. For instance, skills in introducing new foods or food elements in the pet’s diet should be observed.
According to Ottawa valley dog whisperer, introduce them into the diet slowly. For the first few days to around about one week, the recommended dosage should be reduced to about a half. The goal is to avoid stomach upsets in the pet.
Once the cat adapts to the change, you can gradually increase the dosage to what is recommended preferably over the duration of one to two weeks. It is important to note that sugar and sweeteners that are artificially made are not good for cats. Therefore, use plain and natural kefir in the preparation of the probiotic foods.
Best Probiotics for Cats with IBD & Diarrhea
There are different strains of probiotics in the market. Choosing the best probiotic for your cat may largely depend on the specific purpose for which you need it. Hence you should be sure of the ailment you want treat in your cat. When not sure of what the symptoms to watch out for are, your veterinarian can aid.
In the words of Dr Becker, there is a challenge in getting quality probiotic supplements for food which are not contaminated, are pure and clean.
There are also concerns, about foods that are claimed to have probiotics included in them during the manufacturing process.
Craig Datz, DVM, associate teaching professor at the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, while reporting to WebMD, says that commercially sold probiotics are not regulated and most haven’t been researched in dogs and cats.
As a matter of fact, Craig notes, tests of 13 probiotic products showed that only two contained the number of probiotic organisms advertised. Some contained as little as 7% to 58% of the label claim.
Why the difference? The beneficial bacteria hardly survive weeks or months on store shelf not to mention that they will too need to endure your cat’s bile salts and stomach acids to reach the GI track
Therefore, it has been noted that the food manufacturing process leads to the killing of too many of the beneficial bacteria. Thus, the number that ends up in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract is greatly reduced.
Generally, Dr. Becker says a pet probiotic should have the following qualities:
- It should be easy to administer to your dog or cat
- It must not cause disease (despite the fact it contains bacteria).
- It must contain enough live organisms to colonize the intestines
- It must endure the acidic environment of your pet’s stomach
- It should have the appropriate strains of bacteria beneficial specifically for pets
- It should remain stable under normal storage conditions
So, what is the best probiotic for cats especially those with IBD and Diarrhea?
The market provides a variety of probiotic supplements that can be used to aid in the health improvement of cats.
Fortiflora for cats comes out as one of the most preferred probiotic source for cats with Diarrhea & IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).
It has an active ingredient, is a microencapsulated probiotic form called Enterococcus. This active ingredient leads to the establishment of balance in the micro flora of the cat’s digestive system leading to stool consistency.
In addition, other beneficial ingredients are availed in the supplement including proteins, minerals and vitamins that can improve the overall health of the cat.
Vet confidential notes that in handling IBD, the first and most critical step is in the diagnosis. It is widely noted that the signs and symptoms of a cat having IBD are not very specific.
For instance, your cat may lose weight, vomit; have reduced appetite or even diarrhea in some situations. However, while these symptoms seem direct, they can be caused by many other things such as ulcers, pancreatitis or liver diseases.
For this reason, before concluding that the problem is IBD, getting a definitive diagnosis is an important first step.
Where it is determined that the challenge is IBD, there are various solutions that can be given to aid the cat recover. However, each is dependent on how severe the condition is for the cat.
Use of a hypoallergenic diet is one potential solution, while use of antibiotics which may be the use of metronidazole is another possibility. Where antibiotics are used, it implies that there are offending bacteria in the body that need to be eliminated.
As noted above, the best feline natural probiotic is kefir while if your cat is suffering from Chronic Renal Failure, Azodyl should come in handy.
Other Probiotics worth mentioning include;
- Mercola Complete Probiotics for Pets- Said to contain most number of strains..
- Dr. Goodpet’s Feline Digestive Enzymes.
Some of the best sellers on Amazon include;
- Pet Ultimates Probiotics for Cats
- Nutramax Proviable DC Capsules for Cats
However, it is highly recommended that you consult a pet specialist or veterinarian further details before trying these dietary supplements on your cat.
Also find out;