Helicobacter bacteria are spiral, gram negative, motile, flagellated organisms. 38 different Helicobacter species have been identified in animals. Helicobacter usually infects the stomach causing gastritis and malfunction of gastric glands and parietal cells.
Studies show that the majority of dogs and cats are infected by Helicobacter. In humans, Helicobacter is associated with gastritis, peptic ulcers and gastric neoplasia. Gastritis, vomiting, and diarrhea have been associated with Helicobacter infection in animals. Peptic ulcers are not a common feature of Helicobacter infection in animals.Helicobacter is spiral shaped. It produces disease by literally drilling holes in the stomach wall.
Helicobacter infection is diagnosed by gastric biopsy or by fecal antigen test. Gastric biopsy is invasive and expensive. Fecal antigen tests and non-invasive and relatively inexpensive. The fecal antigen test detects Helicobacter DNA. It is very accurate and is the preferred test.
Conventional medicine treatment of Helicobacter infections involves several antibiotics given simultaneously and proton pump inhibitors or H2-receptor blockers. Side effects are very common and are quite severe. Many people cannot complete the usual 2 weeks course of therapy. The functional treatment of Helicobacter involves herbal extracts and supplements such as mastic gum and manuka honey.
One the the major problems with Helicobacter infections is that they often recur. It is not known whether this is due to new infection or an infection that was not eradicated. Because of this, it would seem reasonable to keep animals with Helicobacter infection on continuous treatment. This is not possible with conventional treatment, but is easily accomplished with functional treatment.