In the midst of a particularly intense bout of diarrhea over the winter holidays, Tracy was sure it was the end for Marigold. A friend suggested she check out AnimalBiome, a San Francisco Bay Area start-up founded by researchers from UC Davis to help pets like Marigold, who suffer from health conditions that can be tied to imbalances in the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is the term used to describe the millions of microscopic living things - including bacteria, viruses, and fungi - that live inside every pet’s digestive tract.
While these bacteria may be small in size, together their impact on every pet’s health is massive. Of course, being located in the digestive system, these tiny organisms help determine how your pet breaks down their food, and how well they absorb it. And their impact goes much further than digestion. They help the immune system to function properly, and they produce neurotransmitters that can affect brain function. Gut microbes can also influence whether a pet has itchy skin, a soft, shiny coat or a brittle and dull one, and whether your pet is fit and active, or overweight and uncomfortable. Learn more about the microbiome.