Probiotics seem to be the latest buzzword in human and veterinary medicine, but how much evidence is there to support their
use in veterinary patients? Few veterinary studies exist, and fewer still have been randomized, controlled clinical trials.
Studies have focused primarily on intestinal microflora in healthy dogs, but these supplements are widely used in animals
with a variety of illnesses in a clinical setting.
In a presentation by Dr. David J. Polzin of the University of California-Davis, the use of probiotics specifically in patients
with chronic renal disease was discussed.1 Selected species of bacteria have been developed with the intent of using them to attenuate uremia. These include Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium species.
Preliminary studies, cited by Dr. Polzin, that evaluated rats and miniature pigs with renal disease have shown that probiotics
may attenuate azotemia, and preliminary observational data in dogs and cats with renal disease suggests that these supplements
improve quality of life and may reduce blood urea nitrogen and creatinine concentrations. Probiotics likely have a role in
the treatment of renal disease, but when and how to use these agents still requires further study.
This "Presentation Recap" summary from the 2011 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Forum, which took
place in Denver, Colo., was contributed by Jennifer L. Garcia, DVM, DACVIM, a veterinary internal medicine consultant in Houston,
1. Polzin DJ. Probiotic therapy of chronic kidney disease. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Veterinary
Internal Medicine; June 2011.