Effect of a multi-species synbiotic formulation on fecal bacterial microbiota of healthy cats and dogs as evaluated by pyrosequencing.


The effect of a multi-species synbiotic on the fecal microbiota of healthy cats (n = 12) and dogs (n = 12) was evaluated. The synbiotic (containing 5 × 10(9)  CFU of a mixture of seven probiotic strains, and a blend of fructooligosaccharides and arabinogalactans) was administered daily for 21 days. Fecal and serum samples were collected before, during, and up to 3 weeks after administration. Changes in the fecal microbiota were analyzed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, 16S rRNA gene libraries, quantitative real-time PCR, and 16S rRNA gene 454-pyrosequencing. Probiotic species were detectable in 10/12 dogs and 11/12 cats during product administration. Abundances of Enterococcus and Streptococcus spp. were significantly increased in at least one time point during administration, and returned to baseline abundance after treatment was discontinued. No changes in the major bacterial phyla were identified on 454-pyrosequencing. No adverse gastrointestinal effects were recorded and no significant changes in gastrointestinal function or immune markers were observed during the study period. This study shows that while the ingestion of probiotics and prebiotics does not appear to alter the predominant bacterial phyla present in feces, supplementation with the investigated synbiotic leads to an increased abundance of probiotic bacteria in the feces of healthy cats and dogs.

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