June 18, 2018

Interpretive Summary: Fecal microbiota composition changes after a BW loss diet in Beagle dogs

Interpretive Summary: Fecal microbiota composition changes after a BW loss diet in Beagle dogs.

By: Dr. Caitlin Vonderohe

beagleObesity is the most common nutritional problem, and one of the most common veterinary issues found in dogs and cats in developed countries. Obesity has been directly linked to health issues such as osteoarthritis, respiratory disease and skin problems. In humans, the gut microbiota has been shown be linked to obesity and metabolic disease. Researchers believe that the microbiota influence metabolic pathways related to inflammation, satiety and energy expenditure. Altered function of any of these metabolic systems could result in obesity. Investigators have shown that obesity can also lead to alterations in the gut microbiota compared to animals of a healthy body weight. However, no one has determined if these abnormalities cease to exist if an animal loses weight and is no longer obese. The paper “Fecal microbiota composition changes after a BW loss diet in Beagle dogs” published in the May 2018 issue of the Journal of Animal Science explored how weight loss affects the fecal microbiota in obese Beagle dogs.

Six Beagle dogs were selected for this study which had an average initial body condition score of 7.8 points (out of 10), making them at least 15% heavier than the healthy weight for their frame sizes. All of these animals were healthy other than being obese. The dogs were on an ad libitum maintenance diet for 8 weeks then placed on a weight loss diet for 17 weeks. The animals received a fixed amount of feed once daily and were weighted weekly. The dogs were removed from the weight loss program when they reached their ideal body weights. Percentage body fat, bone mass and lean mass were measured before and after the weight loss program. Blood samples and fecal samples were also taken immediately before and after the weight loss program. DNA was extracted from the fecal samples, and sequenced using specialized software.

All of the dogs on the study reached their ideal body weights by the end of the study, and this weight loss did not affect lean or bone mass. The authors also found a significant reduction in serum cholesterol after weight loss. The weight loss experienced by these Beagles was due to a change in the diet itself, the amount of the diet provided and with weight loss resulted in a change in health status for these dogs. The differences in microbiota observed between the pre-weight loss and post-weight loss diets could be due to any of these factors. However, after weight loss, dogs had a microbiota with greater biodiversity and lower levels of Clostridium species. Therefore weight loss affects the microbiota due to the changes in diet, the changes in the amount of the diet fed, and the improvement in the health status of the animal that occurs when it is no longer obese.

To view the full article, visit the Journal of Animal Science.