Effects of a probiotic (SLAB51) on clinical and histologic variables and microbiota of cats with chronic constipation/megacolon: a pilot study. Academic Article uri icon


  • Chronic constipation (CC) and idiopathic megacolon (IMC) occur frequently in cats. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of a multi-strain probiotic (SLAB51) in constipated cats (n=7) and in patients with megacolon and constipation (n=3). Ten pet cats with a diagnosis of chronic constipation, non-responsive to medical management received orally 21011 bacteria daily for 90 days. For microbiota analysis, selected bacterial groups were analysed by qPCR. Histological samples in megacolons were evaluated for interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC), enteric neurons, and neuronal apoptosis. Biopsies were compared at baseline (T0) and after the end of treatment (T1), and with those obtained from healthy control tissues (archived material from five healthy cats). Constipated cats displayed significantly lower ICC, and cats with idiopathic megacolon had significantly more apoptotic enteric neurons than controls. After treatment with SLAB51, significant decreases were observed for feline chronic enteropathy activity index (FCEAI) (P=0.006), faecal consistency score, and mucosal histology scores (P<0.001). In contrast, a significant increase of ICC was observed after probiotic therapy. Lactobacillus spp. and Bacteroidetes were increased significantly after treatment (comparing constipated cats before and after treatment, and control healthy cats to constipated cats after treatment), but no other differences in microbiota were found between healthy controls and constipated cats. Treatment with SLAB51 in cats with chronic constipation and idiopathic megacolon showed significant clinical improvement after treatment, and histological parameters suggest a potential anti-inflammatory effect of SLAB51, associated with a reduction of mucosal infiltration, and restoration of the number of interstitial cells of Cajal.

published proceedings

  • Benef Microbes

altmetric score

  • 8.33

author list (cited authors)

  • Rossi, G., Jergens, A., Cerquetella, M., Berardi, S., Di Cicco, E., Bassotti, G., Pengo, G., & Suchodolski, J. S.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Rossi, G||Jergens, A||Cerquetella, M||Berardi, S||Di Cicco, E||Bassotti, G||Pengo, G||Suchodolski, JS

publication date

  • January 2018