German Shepherds are at risk of developing a life-threatening disease called toxic bowel syndrome. Within a few hours after the condition begins, your dog may die. While it is most prominent in German Shepherds, other breeds are also at risk, whether from this condition or several related breeds.
Fortunately, you can take steps to help prevent your dog from contracting this devastating disease.
Use yogurt to help prevent toxic bowel syndrome in German Shepherds
German Shepherds are particularly prone to toxic bowel syndrome for a number of reasons, going back as far as the 1980s when breeders started to closely breed German Shepherds. This was done to bring out the best and strongest features of the dogs. This close breeding is known to suppress a dog’s immune system.
A weakened immune system can cause an increased level of intestinal bacteria that are normally found in small amounts. When bacteria get out of control, they can cause dangerous toxins to enter your dog’s bloodstream. In a very short time, it can cause death from toxic poisoning.
There is a lesser form of this intestinal infection that can also affect other dog breeds, but German Shepherds are the ones most susceptible to Clostridium Enterotoxin, or toxic bowel syndrome.
Finally, three similar conditions are common: bloating/torsion, mesenteric torsion and toxic bowel syndrome. In the case of bloating/torsion, the rapid build-up of gastric gases can lead to a torsion of the dog’s stomach. In mesenteric torsion, which causes a torsion of the dog’s small intestine, the buildup of gas is not as severe.
A bulge/torsion can be recognized by the sudden and rapid expansion of the dog’s stomach. A dog with mesenteric torsion assumes a strange hunched posture. These events cause the intestine to lose its blood supply, which leads to death.
By design, German Shepherds have a unique, high chest which means that their intestinal profile differs from dogs with lower chests. The strain also has less than normal pancreatic enzyme production. This enzyme provides an early defense against disease by slowing the growth of bacteria in the gut.
Because German Shepherds do not have adequate enzyme production, it is important to control the buildup of bacteria on a daily basis to help prevent toxic bowel syndrome.
Yogurt is the perfect solution
One of the best ways to combat the threat is to introduce more friendly bacteria and enzymes into your dog’s system. Yogurt contains the required enzymes and lactobacilli, which are the good bacteria, in healthy numbers. These bacteria help fight bad bacteria in the gut and promote gut health through natural cleansing.
While yogurt is easy and convenient to use, German Shepherds and other breeds love the taste and will eat it readily. If given daily, you can help ward off these serious intestinal ailments.
For a higher concentration of friendly bacteria and enzymes, you can buy supplements that do the trick. Check with your local veterinarian or pet food outlet for more information on how digestive enzymes and acidophilus supplements can help save your German Shepherd’s life.