When it comes to the immune systems of our furry babies, they are as important as our own. Our fur babies immune systems are what protect them. Just as in us, it protects them from viruses and bacteria that enter their bodies through the skin, nose, eyes and mouth.
In this blog post we will break down the different types of white blood cells our fur babies have and what they do in their bodies. At the end of the blog post there will be some tips on how to keep your fur babies immune system healthy.
Here is an overview of what our fur babies immune system does.
There are two main classes of the immune system. The innate immune system and the adaptive immune system or acquired immune system.
Your fur baby’s body has an innate immunity that is made up of different barriers. They aim to keep viruses, parasites, bacteria and other foreign particles out of your fur baby’s body or limit their ability to spread and move throughout the body.
You fur baby also has an adaptive immunity that remembers the last time he/she got sick. Fighting pathogens is the job of the adaptive immune system as it has a memory in which it experiences and then learns to recognizes pathogens. After your fur baby gets sick as a kitten or pup, they are less likely to get the same sickness again. This is because their immune system tends to adapt.
Let’s Meet your fur babies immune system and the cells that are apart of it.
The red blood cells “Erythrocytes” are very important to your fur baby’s body and the immune system. They carry oxygen and vital nutrients from and too your fur babies’ lungs and also the cells in their bodies.
Platelets “Thrombocytes” aid in clotting and they help replace damaged cells.Our fur babies white blood cells “Leukocytes” are responsible for defending the body against invaders.
Different Types of Leukocytes In Your Fur Baby:
Neutrophils– They ingest pathogens and cellular debris. They are apart of the innate immune system.
Macrophages- These are the only leukocytes that can leave the bloodstream and enter the cellular tissues. These white blood cells are active at the later stage of an infection. They are apart of the innate immune system but they do stimulate the adaptive immune system.
Basophils and Mast Cells – They release chemicals to promote inflammation.
Basophils are granulocytes that can only enter infected tissue from the bloodstream.
Mast cells are found stationed throughout your fur baby’s body. Mast cells are found in connective tissue. Both Mast Cells and Basophils are apart of the innate immune system
Epsinophils- These are cells that move to inflamed areas, participate in an allergic reaction, kill parasites and modulate the inflammatory response. They are apart of the innate immune system.
Dendritic Cells- These cells work as an antigen-presented cell. These cells are able to ingest foreign antigens by placing them into their own cell membranes. The dendritic cells will display the foreign antigens and look for the lymphocytes that match the antigen. This is what triggers your fur babies adaptive immunity. They are apart of the innate immune system but they do stimulate the adaptive immune system.
Natural Killer Cells-These cells are a crude weapon and release chemicals to kill any cells that display foreign antigens, “no matter if its a pathogen or the body’s own infected cells”. They are apart of the innate immune system.
T Lymphocytes (T Cells)- These cells kill pathogens directly, regulate the immune response and activate other lymphocytes . These cells remember past infections and are apart of your fur baby’s adaptive immune system.
B Cells- These cells release antibodies to foreign antigens and remember past infections. They are apart of your fur baby’s adaptive immune system.
Tips To Keep Your Furry Babies’ Immune Systems Healthy:
Proper Diet: Cats and dogs need a diet that is grain free. They are carnivores and this means that they exclusively need meat protein to survive.
Probiotics for a healthy gut, “get one made for a cat or dog”
Do not over use chemical flea treatments
Limit your furry babies exposure to toxic chemicals