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April 3, 2017
things to think about
Things to consider about your pet’s gallbladder or lack there of.
The Four Functions of Bile
Bile serves four main functions in your pet's body.
- Number one, it alkalizes the contents of the small intestine. The pH of bile is 9.5, which is very alkaline. This alkalinity is necessary in order to neutralize the very strong acid released from your pet's stomach as food travels from it to the small intestine.
Dogs are scavenging carnivores; cats are obligate carnivores. Their bodies are designed to consume raw, living, but potentially disease-ridden meat. For example, outdoor and feral cats catch barn mice, which can be full of different viruses, bacteria and even fungi.
The really potent stomach acid your dog or cat produces is designed to kill off many of the pathogenic bacteria and viruses that enter your pet's body. This acid is natural and necessary in your pet's stomach, however, when it moves on to the small intestine, it's highly irritating.
One of the jobs of bile, with its high alkalinity, is to neutralize potentially toxic stomach acid in the small intestine.
- Another thing bile does is serve as an emulsifier of fats and oils. Emulsification is the process of turning fats and oils into absorbable water-soluble compounds. Bile is critical to your pet's ability to absorb the fat from his diet.
- The third function of bile is in stimulating peristalsis - the rhythmic action that moves food down the small intestine so it can be processed and absorbed.
- The final job of bile is to perform its immune function.
Over 50 percent of your pet's immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract. Your dog or cat has hundreds of lymph nodes along the small and large intestines - they're called Peyer's Patches.
Bile performs a powerful immuno-regulatory function in your pet's GI tract, which means it balances the digestive process. It prevents overreactions.
It you think about dogs and cats and everything they eat -- like foreign, antigenic, allergy-stimulating material - you can see bile does a very good job of calming and balancing the immune system so it does not overreact to these noxious antigens.
Bile also has antibiotic and antifungal properties. Bile is a natural germicidal. It kills fungus, bacteria, yeast, and even viruses.