MSE cares for pets from the inside out!


Caring for elderly pets


Elderly pets are more susceptible to stress-induced infection than younger ones. This condition is known as immune senescence.


This condition is well-known in humans, but all mammals that survive well into their biological lifespan are also vulnerable. Human medicine attributes this to changes in the traditional immune system (immunoglobulins). However, because stress is often the trigger, we need to examine the gut microflora. These beneficial microorganisms are the frontline of the immune system.


Although these microbes are giants in their own world, they are very susceptible to changes in the animal and the flow of nutrients. This flow can change or stop in older pets because of:

  • Poor condition of the teeth and/or gums dental health is important for the acquisition and mastication of food. If the teeth and/or gums are sore or worn down, they could limit nutrient intake.
  • Access to food is the oldster having trouble getting around? Has arthritis made the simple act of going to the food dish too painful? Make sure both food and water are easily accessible at all times. This may mean sequestering the pet in a small room to minimize movement during meals.
  • Nutrient intake is also hampered by decreased digestion in older animals. Make sure their food is appropriate and easily digested. Many older pets are less active and therefore require lower daily energy intake. Obesity can exacerbate arthritis and also weaken the immune system further.
  • Stressful events assume that any change in the normal routine is a potential source of stress. Everyday stresses are compounded by painful movement. Stresses to be especially aware of include vet visits, and time left alone.


Prevention is the key


The immune system can be strengthened and the beneficial microorganisms allowed to repopulate by feeding a daily probiotic such as MSE Natural Defense. For major stresses, the preventive use of more concentrated forms such as MSE Paste and Liquid Rescue may abort or downgrade potentially fatal infections if used immediately after a major stress, preferably for several days. This is recommended because the beneficial microorganisms take at least two weeks to regain their dominance after a major stress. Smaller amounts of either Paste or Liquid Rescue can be fed on a daily basis (1 to 2 cc) for most dogs. Elderly cats usually prefer MSE Natural Defense Soluble (see below) mixed into their food.


The good news is that immune senescence is not inevitable, and there is evidence that it can be reversed. The regular use of probiotics can help extend a pet s life, and also help improve the quality of those golden years.