Fecal microbiota transplantation (FTM) treatment is a potentially game-changing addition to traditional supportive treatment for parvo.
There is some emerging evidence that this treatment can make a world of difference in the chance of survival for infected puppies.
Felix, a sweet Yellow Lab puppy, fell ill shortly after his parents brought him home from a breeder. He was diagnosed with parvo. Felix did receive his first round of puppy shots. But what initially appeared like a mild case quickly progressed into a life-threatening illness.
When your young, energetic puppy doesn’t run out to greet you, you know something is seriously amiss.
The initial signs appeared relatively benign. However, Felix’s mom knew something was wrong and immediately took him to an emergency hospital. Blood work revealed that Felix had no antibodies against either parvo or distemper–his vaccination didn’t take. This can happen because he still had maternal antibodies, or his immune system was still too immature at the time of vaccination. (That is why the vaccination protocol for puppies includes multiple vaccinations)
Testing revealed that Felix had a parvovirus infection.
He was admitted to the hospital. During the first two days, no new symptoms cropped up. Everybody was hopeful that he’d do fine. And then he crashed and became severely ill. Felix’s prognosis suddenly became very bleak. Despite aggressive supportive treatment, Felix was on the brink of death. Nothing was helping, not even plasma and whole blood transfusions.
On the brink of death
The situation reached the point when euthanasia was recommended as the kindest thing to do.
But Felix’s parents couldn’t bring themselves to make that decision. So instead, they contacted their regular vet, Dr. Karen Becker, to report on the situation and to ask whether there was anything that could be tried.
“… I decided to give Whitney and Grant some rather unusual suggestion–an immunoglobulin A (IgA) supplement, which I had recommended for one of their other dogs in the past. I also recommended homeopathic nosodes for parvo. And finally, I suggested a fecal transplant.“ ~Dr. Karen Becker
Have you ever heard of fecal transplant treatment for dogs?
It’s a weird-sounding treatment for sure, but it’s gaining a reputation as an effective treatment for potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal infections.
It is what it sounds like–poop from a healthy dog is implanted into an unhealthy one. What could be the purpose of doing that? With the poop, a healthy microbiome is introduced to the diseased intestine. The technical term is “microbiome restorative therapy.” It is not a new idea in human medicine.
Don’t shy away from alternative solutions
When your puppy is dying, you might as well try something crazy-sounding.
What do you have to lose?
The ER veterinarians were supportive of trying this treatment. The very next day after the treatment, Felix started to get better!
Felix has recovered and is doing great. He is a parvo survivor. Other than being a little smaller, he doesn’t seem to have any lasting effects from his medical ordeal.
Read Dr. Becker’s article for the full story.
Fecal Transplants for Dogs: Micro-biome Restorative Therapy (MBRT)