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Interpretive Summary: Altered fecal microbiota, IgA, and fermentative end-products in adult dogs fed prebiotics and a nonviable Lactobacillus acidophilus    

By: Dr. Emily Taylor

Higher demand for nutrition beyond the basic requirements of the animal has increased in the pet food industry; specifically, using pre-and probiotic ingredients to influence digestive health. A previous study using a fermentation model of the human gut found that heat-treated preparation from Limosilactobacillus fermentum CNCM MA65/4E-1b elicited a prebiotic-like effect by stimulating the growth of various Bifidobacterium species. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to (1) evaluate the inclusion of a nonviable L. acidophilus (NVL) in dog diets and its impacts on fecal microbiota, fecal fermentative end-products, and fecal IgA, and (2) determine if there is an additive effect on fecal outcomes when adding an NVL in combination with mixed prebiotics (MPs). 

Twenty-four male and female adult Beagle dogs were allotted over four diets (control, NVL, MP, and MP+NVL). Feeding MP-containing diets resulted in lower crude protein and fat digestibility vs. control and NCL diets. In addition, dogs fed diets containing MP had lower fecal pH than control and NVL diets. Fecal E. coli was lower at d-21 vs. d-0 in dogs fed MP and fecal fusobacterium spp. was lower in both MP diets vs. control. However, fecal Lactobacillus spp. increased from baseline with MP, and both diets with MP elicited greater fecal acetate and propionate concentration vs. control diets. Fecal IgA was greater in diets with MP compared to NVL. The MP+NVL diet decreased fecal isovalerate, isobutyrate, phenol, and indole vs. control. 

In conclusion, most of the observed changes were in dogs consuming the MP-containing diets. Authors suggest evaluating NVL using a titration trial where an effective dose can be determined is needed to establish whether NV can elicit similar changes.

This article will soon be available in the Journal of Animal Science.