Biofilm is a film of “slime” that promotes bacteria sticking onto its surface and sticking to each other. Biofilm contains proteins, lipids (fats) and carbohydrates that can essentially feed the bacteria that lives within the film.
Biofilm provides protection to bacteria and other organisms including virus and fungus. Drug penetration becomes extremely difficult, taking up to 10-1000 times the usual concentration to penetrate the film and eradicate the organism. As a result, biofilm formation is now recognized as a major cause of bacterial infection. It is also a significant reason behind chronic non-responsive infections.
These biofilms tend to grow on non-viable surfaces, dead tissues and inert surfaces like metal. Biofilms are also found on teeth (牙菌膜). Over a long period of time – this layer of slime hardens to become tartar (牙石). The use of antibiotics may reverse some clinical signs as a result of the formation of a biofilm, but usually will not kill the biofilm. As a result, biofilm infections recur very often after the completion of a cycle of antibiotic therapy.
Where do we see biofilms?
We most commonly see biofilm-related chronic infection where animals are paralyzed . This category of patients routinely develop intractable lower urinary tract infections. These patients cannot thoroughly void urine due to paralysis. Over a short period of time, cystitis (bladder infection) occurs. This begins the unbreakable cycle of use of antibiotics to curb bladder infection. Repeated rounds of urine culture results usually shows an ever-growing number of antibiotics that no longer have effect on the culprit bacteria.
Biofilm-removal is important in cases of chronic bladder infection. In addition, owners must take steps to prevent exposure of the urinary orifice to excessive numbers of bacteria in the pet’s living environment.
Do you have a pet that suffers from chronic bladder infection? Call us to make an appointment to discuss treatment options.
Ear infections in animals are very common.
Do you notice ear infections recurring once in a while? You notice good results when your pet is treated with ear drops, but the itchiness and ear discharge problems come back soon after?
Are your pet’s ears dirty like this?
Why do ear infection recur?
Normal, healthy ear canals have an intact skin barrier therefore normal ears are never inflammed. When inflammation occurs, abnormal fluids are produced. Usually, pet owners will start to clean ears with solutions and apply oil-based ear ointments into the ears.
Teeth is almost permanently covered with a layer of biofilm. Once teeth are brushed or after a dental scaling, a new layer of biofilm starts to be laid down immediately.
The mouth contains a great number of food particles that becomes trapped between teeth. These serve as an important source of nutrition for the biofilm bacteria – allowing the colony to thrive. Once bacteria accumulates over a prolonged period of time, tartar will form which are firm pieces of structures that cover over the surface of teeth. As a result, physical brushing can remove the biofilm which will reduce bacterial accumulation.
Reducing water accumulation is one important strategy in reducing biofilm production. That means, reduce unnecessary ear cleaning with solutions and drying ears after each shower. For animals that are paretic or paralyzed, regular bladder expression or intermittent bladder flush will be useful in at least partial biofilm removal. Regular teeth brushing with a tooth brush or even with a piece of gauze will physically disrupt and remove biofilm on teeth, which reduces bacterial accumulation in the long term.
If you wish to use less antibiotics on yourself and your pet, find out more about biofilms.
You can also contact us on 2915-2095 to schedule a consult for a consultation!