Effects of a synbiotic on the fecal microbiome and metabolomic profiles of healthy research cats administered clindamycin: a randomized, controlled trial Academic Article uri icon


  • Reduction in antibiotic-associated gastrointestinal signs (AAGS) in people co-administered probiotics is believed to result from shifts in the microbiome and metabolome. Amelioration of AAGS in cats secondary to synbiotic administration has recently been demonstrated. Thus, the aim of this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial was to characterize associated changes in the fecal microbiome and metabolome. Sixteen healthy research cats received clindamycin with food, followed 1 h later by either a placebo or synbiotic, daily for 21 days. Fecal samples were collected during baseline, antibiotic administration, and 6 weeks after antibiotic discontinuation. Sequencing of 16S rRNA genes was performed, and mass spectrometry was used to determine fecal metabolomic profiles. Results were compared using mixed-model analyses, with P < 0.05 considered significant. Alpha and beta diversity were altered significantly during treatment, with persistent changes in the Shannon and dysbiosis indices. The relative abundance of Actinobacteria (Adlercreutzia, Bifidobacterium, Collinsella, Slackia), Bacteroidia (Bacteroides, Prevotella), Ruminococcaceae (Faecalibacterium, Ruminococcus), Veillonellaceae (Megamonas, Megasphaera, Phascolarctobacterium) and Erysipelotrichaceae ([Eubacterium]) decreased and relative abundance of Clostridiaceae (Clostridium) and Proteobacteria (Enterobacteriaceae) increased during treatment, followed by variable return to baseline relative abundances. Derangements in short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), bile acid, tryptophan, sphingolipid, polyamine, benzoic acid, and cinnaminic acid pathways occurred with significant group by time, group, and time interactions for 10, 5, and 106 metabolites, respectively. Of particular note were changes related to polyamine synthesis. Further investigation is warranted to elucidate the role of these alterations in prevention of AAGS in cats, people, and other animals treated with synbiotics.

altmetric score

  • 2.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Whittemore, J. C., Stokes, J. E., Price, J. M., & Suchodolski, J. S.

citation count

  • 9

publication date

  • July 2019