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That’s true, however to quote Microwiki…
“E. faecium is considered a super-bug. It can colonize many organs of the body including the gastrointestinal tract and the skin, and can also survive for long periods on inanimate objects. This along with its multi-drug resistant characteristics makes it a particularly nasty pathogen.”
Its my understanding that it would survive most normal cleaning routines that the average person would use. So for those of us with compromised immune systems, this is a valid concern. And the fact that it is deliberately added to pet foods is a bit scary, especially since the general public is unaware of the potential risks.
The three foods I use are Breeder’s Choice Pinnacle, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets and Timberwolf. Natural Balance has no probiotics. Pinnacle and Timberwolf (previously Timberwolf Organics) use lactobacillus strains.
I am also immune compromised, and give my dogs human grade probiotics…Kyo-dophilus is a good one because is contains both Lactobacillus (predominant in small bowel) and Bifidobacter (predominant in large bowel) strains. I’ve used other brands as well…including Primal Defense for both myself and my dogs. Totalbiotics is brand designed for dogs that does not contain E. Faecium.
Here’s a good resource with people very knowledgeable about K9 GI issues….
http://www.epi4dogs.com/sidsibo.htm … scroll down for a list of probiotics and articles regarding Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth a/k/a Small Intestinal Dysbiosis (imbalance). And a separate page on probiotics… http://www.epi4dogs.com/probioticstrains.htm … be sure to look at the label though because some of those listed do contain E. Faecium.
I’m currently dealing with some pretty severe GI issues in my female GSD after 15 months of high doses of antifungal drugs for a Blastomycosis infection. We saved her life, but her gut is a mess. She has a great deal of inflammation and is extremely intolerant of any food variations (does not even tolerate Purina HA hydrolyzed food), as well as very touchy about any amount of probiotics. I’m using DGL, Slippery Elm, Arabinogalactan with a small pinch of Kyodophilus, NAG, a small amount of 8x Pancreatin and Tylosin as we work towards healing her GI tract. She eats Natural Balance kibble double soaked (soak to absorb water, and then add a bit more water mix in the enzymes and slippery elm, stir an allow to soak some more…sometimes overnight) along with a bit of canned mixed in.
Two ready made supplements that might be helpful are Only Natural Pet GI Support or VetriScience’s Acetylator.
A good resource on supplements is Dr. Messonnier’s book, “The Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats”.
While I can tell you that I have had repeated success treating my own dogs’ GI issues. I am not a vet, so I highly recommend that you discuss the use of these supplements with your vet.
Best of luck to you.
A number of years ago I bought a puppy from a large show kennel that had some undetermined GI issues. The pup was put on multiple doses of antibiotics by his breeder, and later by my vets, which eventually caused him to develop SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth) and “leaky gut syndrome”. I spent 5 years trying to resolve his GI issues…including researching probiotics that would help re-balance the flora in his gut. After finding negative reports about E. Faecium being opportunistic and potentially pathogenic due to its persistent colonization, as well as being prone to becoming antibiotic resistant I called one pet food company to discuss which strains of E. Faecium they used as a probiotic…I let them know that it was the specific strain I had found the bad reports on. However, I doubt that they made any changes to their product based on my phone call. Bottom line…it is my opinion that there are a lot of lactic acid producing strains of probiotics that are MUCH safer to use than ANY of the E. Faecium strains, so its my personal preference to protect my pets, myself and my grandchildren from exposure to it by avoiding any pet food that contains E. Faecium as a probiotic. As a side note, the reason the manufacturers like it, is because not only does it persist on almost any surface, it resists heat up to 160 degrees…which in my book makes it even more dangerous to my pets and myself.
I’ve changed computers a number of times since doing my initial research, so don’t have links to all of the articles handy, but doing a quick search, here are a few that you might find interesting…
A Microbial Biorealm page on the genus Enterococcus faecium
Transmission of opportunistic pathogens in a veterinary teaching hospital.
Dogs Are a Reservoir of Ampicillin-Resistant Enterococcus faecium Lineages Associated with Human Infections[down-pointing small open triangle]
Characterization of Tn1546 in Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecium Isolated from Canine Urinary Tract Infections: Evidence of Gene Exchange between Human and Animal Enterococci
Monitoring of antimicrobial resistance in healthy dogs: first report of canine ampicillin-resistant Enterococcus faecium clonal complex 17.
Resident Cats in Small Animal Veterinary Hospitals Carry Multi-Drug Resistant Enterococci and are Likely Involved in Cross-Contamination of the Hospital Environment
Prevalence, species distribution and antimicrobial resistance of enterococci isolated from dogs and cats in the United States.
Epidemic and Nonepidemic Multidrug-Resistant Enterococcus faecium
Multiple-Drug Resistant Enterococci: The Nature of the Problem and an Agenda for the Future
Please note that many of these articles are not “new” findings, yet the use of E. Faecium as a probiotic on pet food persists. While it may not cause any issues in a healthy animal or person, I do believe it does present a risk that most people are unaware of, especially in those with compromised immune systems. I think its wise to make informed choices, so I hope that you find the above links helpful.