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Green tripe is the unwashed stomach of ruminant animals. Because it is not washed, it will contain some remnants of stomach contents.
Ruminants (cows, sheep etc) are herbivores – they eat plant matter. Herbivores have the digestive enzymes required to properly breakdown copious amounts of plant matter (such as grass and hay), therefore the stomach contents remaining in green tripe will be in a pre-digested form by the time a dog (or cat) eats it. A carnivore would be unable to digest large amounts of plant matter if they were to eat it before it has passed through an herbivore’s gut!
In countries where green tripe is hard to access (such as the United States), people tend to supplement their dog or cat’s raw diet with vegetables. We are very lucky in New Zealand to be able to access green tripe as a very functional and nutrient dense food.
Source: k9 natural
Green tripe is mineral rich: iron, potassium, manganese, zinc, selenium. It is a source of fibre. The enzymes in tripe (present for the purposes of digesting plant matter) are a digestive aid. The high protein content, and ‘bitterness’ of tripe is helpful for stimulating good gastric acidity.
Plant matter ferments within the herbivore’s gut, giving rise to beneficial bacteria: probiotics.
The probiotic content of frozen-then-defrosted tripe would be at a maintenance level for most carnivores. To reach a therapeutic level you would need a fresh source from an exceptionally healthy animal herbivore eating an exceptionally healthy diet (not impossible and a live rabbit hunted and consumed immediately would fit the bill), but that's why it's often good to supplement a sick dog with therapeutic levels of bowel flora, in a capsule.
Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride is probably one of the leading bowel flora/probiotic experts in the world and she advocates feeding sauerkraut as the best source for people, but uses supplementation when necessary. Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) produces Lactobacillus, the same species of probiotic as is found in tripe. We currently don't know the ideal bugs to put in a therapeutic probiotic for pets, but common sense would suggest that a wild rabbit's gut content would be pretty close. The best we can do currently is to use a multi- strain probiotic, which is guaranteed to get through the acidity of a carnivore’s stomach.
The main probiotic in green tripe is Lactobacillus acidophilus. L. acidophilus has been shown to have positive immune-modulatory and cell regenerative effects,(1) as well as anti-microbial activity (thus potentially conferring protection against foodborne illness)(2) in dogs.
L. Acidophilus is one of a group of probiotics shown to significantly improve recovery time in dogs with acute gastroenteritis.(3) it has also been shown to reduce inflammation and clinically improve food-responsive diarrhoea.(4) L. acidophilus can improve faecal consistency and frequency.(5) A study on inflammatory bowel disease in dogs showed that L. acidophilus was one of a number of probiotics that significantly enhanced t-regulatory cells (an anti-inflammatory response), and normalised gut dysbiosis. (6)
Cats tend to eat whole small prey, such as mice, with tiny amounts of fermented stomach content. They sometimes eat the stomach content of larger prey, such as rabbits.
The stomach content of an herbivore contains fermented vegetable matter - a mix of symbiotic bacteria (probiotics) and VFAs (volatile fatty acids). VFAs are the energy source for the herbivore, and for the symbiotic bacteria. In turn, the symbiotic bacteria keep the intestinal mucosa healthy.
Eating fermented gut content (from a mouse/rabbit) benefits the cat's own intestinal flora, which makes for a healthier mucosal (gut wall) surface. The VFAs probably contribute little as an energy source to the cat, but the bacterial load is likely very beneficial.
These microorganisms perform a host of useful functions: preventing the growth of harmful bacteria, producing vitamins for the host such as biotin and vitamin K, and maintaining the integrity of the mucosal surface of the gut.
A cat that hunts will get this dose of beneficial bacteria naturally.vIf he is free-ranging and digs in soil to do his toileting, he may consume small amounts of beneficial soil bacteria when grooming, or may chew on plant matter that has a bacterial load. Some people grow wheatgrass in pots for their cats to chew on and get their fix of soil bacteria – this may be a good option for indoor cats.
Probiotic bacteria can be given as a supplement (in a capsule / sprinkled on food). It is rarely necessary to provide a probiotic supplement for cats, but it can be important if your cat has recently been on antibiotics or has a digestive upset.
Green tripe (from a ruminant) can be added to the diet as a source of probiotics. You can include a small amount of minced product that contains tripe in your cat’s diet. Some cats enjoy it, but some don’t like the taste.
Talk to us if you are concerned that your cat is not ingesting enough beneficial bacteria.
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