Probiotic yeast: a budding approach to restoring gut biome balance

probiotic yeast

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Blackmores.

The gastrointestinal microbiome

The GI microbiome (a diverse and complex collection of microorganisms, including bacteria and yeast) is involved in metabolism, gut epithelial health, energy balance, skin health and neuro-behavioural development.1 It primes and stimulates the immune system both inside and outside of the gut, aids in the defense against invading intestinal pathogens and provides nutritional benefits to the host.2,3 

A dysbiotic microbiome

An imbalance of the GI microbiome is referred to as intestinal dysbiosis.4 This alteration from the normal balanced state can be transient or persistent, depending on the cause or insult, and duration.5 Profound alterations in the GI microbiome are found in acute and chronic enteropathies in dogs and cats such as inflammatory bowel disease, and treatment with antibiotics.

The extent of clinical signs varies between patients. Dysbiosis does not always result in overt clinical signs such as soft stools and diarrhoea despite the microbial changes. A dysbiotic microbiome may cause harm through several mechanisms (see box) and have serious consequences on gut and overall health.6

Understanding probiotic yeast

Saccharomyces boulardii (Sb) is a strain of yeast which has been extensively studied in both humans and animals for its probiotic effects.3 It is naturally resistant to antibiotics, which sets it apart from other probiotics of bacterial origin.3

Within the lumen of the intestine, Sb exerts many positive and protective effects.7 It degrades toxins of pathogens, interferes with the adherence of pathogenic bacteria along the GIT, modulates normal microbiota by supporting the establishment of beneficial bacteria, and preserves normal intestinal physiology.7 It directly restores normal short chain fatty acid (SCFA) balance, which provides energy for endothelial cells, increases anti-inflammatory regulatory T cells and modulates intestinal motility.1 In addition, S. boulardii increases mucosal surface antibody levels and acts as an immune regulator by decreasing inflammatory mediators.7

Saccharomyces boulardii and the canine patient 

Sb has been proven to be an effective probiotic in the treatment of antibiotic-induced diarrhoea (AAD) in dogs8, significantly reducing the duration of diarrhoea. Sb can also be used to prevent the development of AAD in dogs as it preserves normal carbohydrate metabolism and SCFA numbers, which are usually reduced in diarrhoea caused by antibiotics.8 

When used as an adjunct therapy, Sb achieves better control of clinical signs in dogs receiving standard treatment for IBD2. Dogs receiving Sb showed a significant increase in body condition score, reduced stool frequency and improved stool consistency.2 

Restoring the gut biome balance with PAW Digesticare SB

Until now, practitioners have faced the challenge of commercial and veterinary probiotic products not being listed for use concurrently with antibiotics. This has been especially problematic in cases of AAD commonly seen in practice.9  

PAW Digesticare SB contains 10bn CFU of Saccharomyces boulardii per capsule to help support digestive system health in dogs. Talk to your local PAW by Blackmores Representative today about the use of PAW Digesticare SB in supporting better health outcomes for your patients.

*Use with caution in pregnant or lactating animals. This product is not an alternative treatment in acute GT conditions. 

Effects of Dysbiosis

  • Overproduction and translocation of bacterial toxins
  • Inflammatory stimulation of the immune system
  • Reductions in anti-inflammatory metabolites (eg, SCFA, indoles, secondary bile acids)
  • Alterations in brush border enzymes
  • Damage to mucosal receptors
  • Competition for nutrients (eg, vitamin B12)
  • Increased intestinal permeability


1. Gómez-Gallego C, Junnila J, Männikkö S, et al. A canine-specific probiotic product in treating acute or intermittent diarrhea in dogs: A double-blind placebo-controlled efficacy study. Vet Microbiol. 2016;197:122-128. doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2016.11.015 2. D’Angelo S, Fracassi F, Bresciani F, et al. Effect of Saccharomyces boulardii in dog with chronic enteropathies: double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. Vet Rec. 2018;182(9):258. doi:10.1136/vr.104241 3. Suchodolski JS. Companion animals symposium: microbes and gastrointestinal health of dogs and cats. J Anim Sci. 2011;89(5):1520-1530. doi:10.2527/jas.2010-3377 4. Barko PC, McMichael MA, Swanson KS, Williams DA. The Gastrointestinal Microbiome: A Review. J Vet Intern Med. 2018;32(1):9-25. doi:10.1111/jvim.14875 5. L. V. McFarland & P. Bernasconi (1993) Saccharomyces boulardii’. A Review of an Innovative Biotherapeutic Agent, Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, 6:4, 157-171, DOI: 10.3109/08910609309141323 6. Suchodolski, Jan S. “Intestinal Microbes And Digestive System Disease In Dogs | Today’s Veterinary Practice”. Today’s Veterinary Practice, 2020, 7. McFarland LV. Systematic review and meta-analysis of Saccharomyces boulardii in adult patients. World J Gastroenterol. 2010;16(18):2202-2222. doi:10.3748/wjg.v16.i18.2202 8. FCAktaş, Mustafa & Borku, Mehmet & Ozkanlar, Yunusemre. (2007). Efficacy of Saccharomyces boulardii as a probiotic in dogs with lincomycin induced diarrhoea. Bulletin- Veterinary Institute in Pulawy. 51. 365-369. 10. Suchodolski JS. Intestinal microbiota of dogs and cats: a bigger world than we thought. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2011;41(2):261-272. doi:10.1016/j.cvsm.2010.12.006


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