Administration of a Synbiotic Containing Enterococcus faecium Does Not Significantly Alter Fecal Microbiota Richness or Diversity in Dogs With and Without Food-Responsive Chronic Enteropathy. Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: Canine chronic enteropathies (CE) are a group of intestinal diseases that can be categorized based on treatment response into diet- or food- responsive enteropathy (FRD), antibiotic-responsive enteropathy, steroid-responsive enteropathy, and non-responsive enteropathy. CE can often be associated with intestinal dysbiosis and thus administration of probiotic or synbiotic products may provide a useful tool for the management of some of these patients. Enterococcus faecium (EF) is a probiotic strain included in a commercially available synbiotic for small animals, however its impact on the microbial communities in dogs with FRD has not yet been evaluated. Hypothesis/Objectives: The administration of a synbiotic will lead to a significant difference of the fecal microbial composition and/or diversity in dogs with FRD, and these changes are not attributable to diet change alone. Animals/Samples: Twelve dogs with FRD fed a hydrolyzed protein diet received either a synbiotic (EF, fructooligosaccharides, gum Arabic) or placebo. Fecal samples were taken before and 6 weeks into treatment. Fecal samples were also acquired from 8 healthy dogs before and 6 weeks after being switched to the same hydrolyzed protein diet as their sole food. Methods: Bacterial DNA was extracted from fecal samples and next generation sequencing based on the 16S rRNA genes was performed. Microbial composition and diversity between groups were compared using QIIME. Results: There was a small increase in species diversity in the feces of dogs with FRD treated with synbiotics. However, there were no significant differences in microbial community composition before and after 6 weeks in either the synbiotic or placebo treated dogs with FRD or the healthy dogs. In all groups, large individual variations were observed. Conclusions: No changes in microbial composition were observed in diseased or healthy dogs with diet change alone. However, administration of a synbiotic increased bacterial richness in both groups.

published proceedings

  • Front Vet Sci

altmetric score

  • 7.95

author list (cited authors)

  • Pilla, R., Guard, B. C., Steiner, J. M., Gaschen, F. P., Olson, E., Werling, D., ... Suchodolski, J. S.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Pilla, Rachel||Guard, Blake C||Steiner, Joerg M||Gaschen, Frederic P||Olson, Erin||Werling, Dirk||Allenspach, Karin||Salavati Schmitz, Silke||Suchodolski, Jan S

publication date

  • January 2019