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Posts Tagged ‘viruses and bacteria’

YOUR PET’S BODY IS LIKE A DANCE CLUB AND THE INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM IS THE BOUNCER!

Our pet’s immune system is the only defence they have against the multitude of bacteria and viruses we share the planet with. Though we might take it for granted, it is always there: protecting and defending our pets and keeping them out of harms way.

While most of us are familiar with what is referred to as the Adaptive immune system, it is the Innate immune system that is now drawing the attention of the biology community.

For years, the health care industry has focused on helping the Adaptive immune system through the invention of such things as vaccines. The aim of vaccination is to prepare the body for attack so that when a challenge is encountered the Adaptive immune system is ready to defend the body. What we now know is that underlying the Adaptive immune system of all life forms there exists another plane of immunity referred to as the Innate Immune System.

WHAT IS THE INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM?

In our pets, as well as in ourselves, the Innate immune system is made up of:

Organs such as the skin
Cells found in stomach acid
The respiratory lining and
Monocytes & macrophages (types of white blood cells).

When this system is strong and healthy your pet is strong and healthy as well.

But when the system fails it puts your pet at risk of infection, inflammation and disease.

ADAPTIVE VS. INNATE IMMUNITY

The Adaptive immune system is responsible for mounting a highly specific response against perceived threats and it is this system that kicks into action when your dog or cat is exposed to harmful viruses and bacteria. This is also the system responsible for creating specific antibodies when your pet receives their routine vaccines. The Innate immune system, on the other hand, works behind-the-scenes to provide your pet with overall protection against environmental stressors.

INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM – THE REAL STAR BEHIND THE SCENES!

Unlike the Adaptive immune system, which can recognize and adapt to repeated exposure, the Innate immune system is more of a passive, nonspecific system designed to keep most harmful things out of the body.

It is the first line of defence and without it the Adaptive immune system begins to fatigue and suffer which can lead to the development of disorders of the skin, digestive and respiratory tract.

Surprisingly, all organisms, from trees to bacteria to mammals, have an Innate immune system of some kind. In bacteria it is the cell wall, in mammals such as dogs, cats and humans it is composed of our skin, the acid in our stomachs, the mucous in the respiratory system, and special chemicals found in the saliva. Even trees have what could be considered an Innate defence system; their bark!

Innate immunity, though less sophisticated, is critical to your pet’s survival, providing a more passive form of immunity, preparing the Adaptive immune system for battle and keeping invading attackers at bay.

BODY = DANCE CLUB

Think of your pet’s body like a dance club.

If the Adaptive immune system is the security guards inside the club than the Innate immune system is the bouncer at the door turning away all kinds of riff-raff and keeping the club safe and secure.

While stocking the club with many security guards will do the trick and help kick out unwanted visitors,doesn’t it make more sense to invest in a bigger and better bouncer to stop the intruders from even making it past the door?

ADAPTIVE + INNATE = COMPLETE IMMUNE PROTECTION

Both the Innate and the Adaptive immune systems complement each other perfectly and, when healthy, help provide our pets with a strong defence against infection and disease. Your pet’s immunity is critical to his or her overall health and well-being! Without it your pet would be unable to defend itself against the multitude of bacteria and viruses that exist in the environment.

Supplements that aim to strengthen the Innate immune system help keep your pet safe by stopping pathogens before they even have a chance to enter the body.

SO LET’S RECAP…

• The Innate system provides the body with its first line of defence, keeping pathogens from entering the body.

• If the Innate system is successful, the invading pathogen is stopped and the body remains healthy.

• If the Innate system fails to stop the pathogen then the Adaptive system is activated to rid the body of the offending invader.

• The Adaptive system retains a memory of the invading pathogen so that any subsequent exposure to the same invader will be recognized allowing body to mount a greater and faster response thus preventing the disease from recurring.

• If both the Innate and Adaptive systems fail to destroy the pathogen then illness can occur.

 

What do you do to help keep your pet’s immune system strong?

References:
1. The Immune System by Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc, Veterinary Services Department; Holly Nash, DVM, MS (http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2083&aid=957)
2. Immunolgoy – Chapter One: Innate (Non-specific) Immunity by Gene Mayer, Ph.D, Microbiology and Immunology On-line, University of South Carolina School of Medicine (http://pathmicro.med.sc.edu/ghaffar/Innate.htm)

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