Many dog owners are giving their dogs colostrum to support the immune system and help with allergies and other heath problems. Here are some of the reasons it’s so popular.
What Is Colostrum?
When mammals are born, their mothers produce a special milk that contains colostrum. Colostrum jumpstarts the newborn’s immune system and provides vital nutrients …and this is why people are finding colostrum to be so valuable for their dogs. Researchers are finding that these immune-boosting properties are some of the greatest benefits of colostrum for your dog.
There are well over1,000 clinical studies on the benefits of colostrum. Studies show it’s safe and effective in treating many common disorders. In fact, bovine (or cow) colostrum was commonly used to treat infections and other issues before the discovery of sulfa drugs and antibiotics. And today it can still be a safe and effective antibiotic and probiotic.
But more recent research has focused on two of the more important components of colostrum – growth factors and immune-modulators … and how they can help fight common diseases.
The growth factors in colostrum from cows contribute to health by improving fat burning and building lean muscle mass. It supports renewal of skin, muscle and organs. It also repairs the digestive tract and other organs, and supports the immune system when dealing with allergies, chronic illness, autoimmune conditions and injury.
What Are The Benefits Of Colostrum For Dogs?
The benefits of colostrum are hard to ignore. In humans, it’s shown to help prevent infectious diarrhea, upper airway infection and respiratory tract infection. And those benefits of colostrum apply to dogs too. Here are more ways bovine colostrum can help your dog.
1. Colostrum for Allergies In Dogs
Colostrum contains a hormone called Proline-Rich-Polypeptide (PRP) that influences immune function in dogs. This hormone can either stimulate an under-active immune system or, in the case of allergies, down-regulate an overactive immune system.
This down-regulation is important in autoimmune diseases, including arthritis and allergies. That’s because the overly active immune system can mistake its own cells for foreign molecules. And this means it can start attacking its own tissues (autoimmunity) or show an exaggerated response to a normally harmless molecule.
In 1983, a Polish study found PRP can regulate immune function in the same way that hormones produced by the thymus gland do. The research showed that PRP’s ability to reduce allergic symptoms comes from its ability to inhibit lymphocyte (white blood cell) and T-cell overproduction. These are the cells that overreact in an allergic response.
It’s also thought that PRP can help create special cells (helper T-cells and suppressor T-cells) that can suppress and switch off the immune responses that trigger allergies. Other studies have shown that PRP is highly anti-inflammatory, which helps not just with allergies, but other inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Allergies give rise to many issues so it’s been found that colostrum for skin conditions is of great benefit. Colostrum can also be effective in helping with one of the primary causes of allergy symptoms, leaky gut.
2. Colostrum For Leaky Gut
Gastrointestinal disorders (GI) have become too common in dogs … often due to a weakened immune system that can result in allergy-like symptoms, chronic diarrhea and other issues. Most of your dog’s immune system function happens in the gastrointestinal tract.
One of the major benefits of colostrum is its ability to control the health of the GI tract. It can help seal the lining so undigested food can’t pass through and cause inflammation and allergy symptoms.
Several studies show colostrum can help reduce intestinal permeability and reverse gut irritation and the chronic health issues it can cause. That’s because colostrum kills Candida albicans or yeast. And because colostrum contains probiotics and has antibiotic activity, it can help restore a healthy gut flora, which is key to healing leaky gut.
3. Colostrum For Cancer
In 1985, Quiet Strides in the War on Cancer was published by Steven Rosenberg. It popularized the use of cytokines to treat cancer and this therapy is still successfully used today. In fact, researchers are looking at the cytokines contained in colostrum (interleukins, interferon, and lymphokines) and their role in treating cancer.
Interferons and Interleukins can enhance the body’s response to cancer by activating special white blood cells that can find and destroy cancer cells. They’re also thought to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and even kill them (apoptosis). In fact, drug manufacturers are trying to genetically engineer and sell the interferon from colostrum at a much higher price.
Colostrum also contains a special protein called actalbumin. Researchers report that colostrum lactalbumin can cause apoptosis (death) of cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells to thrive.
And finally, many cancers are initiated or spread by viruses and colostrum can support the immune system and help fight viruses and infections.
Colostrum contains a large amount of immunoglobin A, D, E, G and M. There are also called IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG and IgM. IgG fights against bacteria and toxin buildup, while IgM destroys bacteria and IgE and IgD fight viruses.
Colostrum also contains lactoferrin. Bovine lactoferrin has antimicrobial factors that fight bacterial and viral infection, is anti-inflammatory and has also been researched for its role in treating and preventing cancer. And the antioxidant phytic acid that’s found in colostrum prevents iron from reaching and feeding cancer cells.
So colostrum can be an important supplement to prevent and treat cancer and the viruses that can cause it. Which leads to the next point.
4. Colostrum For Canine Flu
A 2007 study showed that colostrum was three times more effective than the flu vaccine in preventing the flu. The same immune-boosting properties that help prevent and treat cancer and allergies can also protect your dog from infection diseases.
Colostrum is passed from the mother to her newborn to protect against viruses so the RPRs found in colostrum can ramp up the immune system and help fight viruses better than regular breast milk.
5. Colostrum For Wound Healing
Colostrum contains growth factors, which help the newborn grow and develop. These same growth factors can stimulate wound healing.
Studies show that when applied externally, colostrum can speed wound healing, skin growth, and cellular repair. And colostrum also contains antibacterial properties, which will prevent and heal infections.
Topically, colostrum uses include:
- Dermatitis and skin infections
- Gingivitis and oral infections
- Ear infections
- Insect bites
- Surgical wounds
It’s easy to use colostrum for dogs topically. Mix it with distilled water until it forms a paste. Then you can apply it directly to the infected area.
Bonus Benefit Of Colostrum For Dogs
Colostrum For Lyme Disease
Researchers at the University of New Haven have found another benefit of colostrum. Lactoferrin is a milk protein in colostrum that can help treat Lyme disease. In fact, the study found it was 5% more effective than the antibiotic doxycycline, the conventional way to treat Lyme disease.
Previous studies have shown that B burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, often appears in biofilm form. Biofilms are structured bacteria communities that can increase B. burgdorferi antibiotic resistance up to 1000 times. That’s why Lyme disease can be so difficult to treat.
The new UNH study shows that lactoferrin reduced B burdorferi biofilm by 15%. The researchers believe lactoferrin works by absorbing minerals like iron and manganese. B Burgdorferi uses manganese in biofilm for biological processes, so they lose their essential nutrients.
If your dog has Lyme disease symptoms, colostrum is a safe, low cost supplement to help fight this persistent bacterial infection.
Bovine Colostrum Supplements For Dogs: What You Need to Know
You can buy bovine colostrum supplements in capsule or as bovine colostrum powder. It’s best to feed it on an empty stomach. Most pets don’t mind the taste of colostrum … but you can give it with a small amount of yogurt or broth if your dog is fussy.
If you buy it pre-made as a dietary supplement, follow the colostrum dosage on the label. If you’re buying a human product you can use this as general colostrum dosing for dogs.
How Much Colostrum Should I Give My Dog?
Daily dose of powdered colostrum for dogs:
- Dogs up to 10lbs – 1/16th tsp per day
- 11lbs to 25 lbs – 1/8th tsp per day
- 26 lbs to 99 lbs – 1/4 tsp per day
- 100 lbs and up- 1/2 tsp per day
Daily dose of colostrum capsules for dogs:
- Small dogs less than 25lbs –1 capsule morning and night
- 25- 100 lb dogs- 2 capsules morning and night
- 100 lbs + – 3 capsules morning and night
It’s often recommended to give colostrum for at least one full month. Then give colostrum as needed depending on your dog’s needs.
So now you know some of the many benefits of colostrum for dogs … and that research supports its ability to prevent and treat problems from heart disease to leaky gut.
As a bonus, it’s a safe and inexpensive supplement to have on hand. So keep it around to boost your dog’s immune system or to help treat any existing health issues.
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