Evaluation of the Gastrointestinal Microbiota in Response to Dietary and Therapeutic Factors in Cats and Dogs Using Molecular Methods
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The gastrointestinal (GI) tract of cats and dogs is inhabited by many different types of microorganisms, known as the GI microbiota. Mounting evidence suggests that the administration of certain dietary and/or therapeutic agents can alter the composition and activity of the GI microbiota, thus influencing gastrointestinal health and disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the gastrointestinal microbiota in response to dietary and therapeutic interventions in cats and dogs. A multi-species synbiotic formulation, containing a total of 5x109 colony forming units of a mixture of seven probiotic bacterial strains and a blend of prebiotics, was administered daily for 21 days to healthy cats and dogs. Fecal samples were collected before, during, and up to three weeks after discontinuation of the administration of the synbiotic. The fecal microbiota was analyzed using 454-pyrosequencing, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, quantitative real-time PCR, and 16S rRNA gene clone libraries. The results showed that the synbiotic led to increased concentrations of probiotic bacteria in the feces but did not alter the predominant bacterial phyla. Additionally, we investigated the effect of age, body weight, and baseline abundance of probiotic related bacterial genera, as potential predictors of intestinal colonization by the ingested microorganisms. The results suggested that cats having a low abundance of fecal probiotic genera before consuming probiotics may have a higher concentration of the probiotic groups in feces during consumption of the symbiotic formulation. Also, a proton-pump inhibitor, aimed at suppressing the secretion of gastric acid, was administered daily for 15 days to healthy dogs. Changes in the GI microbiota were analyzed using 454-pyrosequencing, fluorescent in situ hybridization, and quantitative real-time PCR. The results suggested that inhibition of gastric acid secretion can alter the abundance of several gastric, duodenal, and fecal bacterial groups. However, these changes were not associated with major qualitative modifications of the overall composition of the GI microbiota. These studies showed that dietary and therapeutic agents can alter the composition of the GI microbiota and suggest that these changes could be associated with particular characteristics of the host. The clinical significance of these results needs further investigation.
Garcia-Mazcorro, Jose (2011). Evaluation of the Gastrointestinal Microbiota in Response to Dietary and Therapeutic Factors in Cats and Dogs Using Molecular Methods. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from