Podcast: The Gut
When I started learning about gut health, it was because my miniature Schnauzer, Odie, needed help. I looked for prebiotics and probiotics and I knew I needed a company who cares about pets and wanted to use science and passion to create a natural product.
A trailblazer in the holistic pet industry and has worked hard to give as many pets as possible a great life — which is exactly why I felt such a connection with her. Lee went through the rigorous process to become a license holistic vet when nobody else was trying, but at a time that traditional medicine was failing more and more pets each day.
“I think that whether I am afraid or not afraid, if I know I have to do something I do it,” says Lee. “[The process to become licensed] was intense, but in hindsight it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Lee started with a small veterinary clinic, and bit by bit built her tiny hospital to a large holistic vet clinic with multiple departments. Lee was the end-stage person to go to for pet parents who had given up completely on their pets or could not afford to help them, which led her to research the root of the issues each pet was facing.
“I would be treating [the animals], but ultimately I found that the dogs would always have a GI upset,” says Lee. “I had a protocol in my clinic for GI upset with things like slippery elm or probiotics. I would do that with them and then the symptoms of their other diseases would get better. Their cancer would go away, their skin would improve.”
Lee was healing so many animals that her team urged her to make large batches of her gut protocol, and finally someone urged her to sell it. By that time, Lee was in charge of three veterinary hospitals and was teaching at a veterinary college – but she was burnt out. She knew that she had trained people who were able to take over for her and decided to move to her farm to formulate her products. Her business partners were patient as she searched for natural manufacturers she could trust, but it was time consuming because she did not want to compromise on ingredients.
During a lecture, Lee was teaching veterinarians about the leaky gut protocol and probiotics when a vet chimed in and asked why vets only used human probiotics for pets. She knew that there were no animal probiotics on the market, so she decided to make species specific probiotics. Fortunately, Lee found a naturopath nearby who was making her own formulas and products and who was able to talk one-on-one with her and together they launched the Leaky Gut Protocol.
“We have proven in lab research and in animal research that particular bacteria cannot reproduce when animals are eating the strain because it stays in the gut,” says Lee. “The probiotic stays viable and has the ability to modulate the immune system. The gut is so important to the immune system. So a probiotic can really help the whole body.”
How would you recognize an imbalance in gut health?
An imbalance in gut health can cause several health issues. However, recognizing the issue as a gut issue is not always easy.
“To me, there is no being with a healthy gut unless you’ve been working on it,” says Lee. “Gut health is passed on. If a mama’s eating dry food and is over-vaccinated, her puppies will be. An unhealthy gut shows up in ways that have nothing to do with the gut. It shows up in skin disease, arthritis, and behavior. For example, you have a German Sheppard who gets hip dysplasia when he’s 5 instead of 12. The primary cause for autoimmune disease is leaky gut.”
Changing gut health should always start with diet. A raw or freeze-dried diet is the most important change anyone can make for their pet. Next, consider pre and probiotics, or a digestive enzyme. You may also need to administer a leaky gut protocol. Remember, the first time you give your pet probiotics or change their diet, they will have diarrhea. Just like a cleanse in humans, you will find that your pet will go through a period of intense diarrhea. Lee also warns about introducing too many pre or probiotics, or enzymes at once can cause more issues than necessary. Instead, Lee recommends rotating between prebiotics, probiotics, and Fido’s Flora.
“I don’t believe anything should be on anything for long periods of time,” says Lee. “Even though the gut is the foundation, the rest of the body and the gut have to communicate. We forget about the liver, kidneys, and lungs. We can’t compartmentalize it. And I am the gut queen, but I am saying that yes, it is important, but all of our other organs are important. So I formulated all of our powders to support a different physiological part of the animal.”
Trusting your intuition is another important thing to remember when caring for your pet. If you suspect that there is poor gut health, your intuition is often right.
“Remember, you know your dog better than any vet,” says Lee. “You know your dog, cat, horse, or pig or whatever your pet is. Listen to your gut”
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years, and operates a rescue farm in Lutz, Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has five dogs, plus 4-10 at any time that she is fostering or boarding; visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.