Evaluation of the effects of anthelmintic administration on the fecal microbiome of healthy dogs with and without subclinical Giardiaspp. and Cryptosporidium canisinfections.
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BACKGROUND: The gastrointestinal microbiome plays an important role in host health and there is increasing concern regarding the deleterious effects of pharmaceuticals on the fecal microbiome. The effect of anthelmintic therapy on the fecal microbiome in dogs has not yet been evaluated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of anthelmintic administration on the fecal microbiome of dogs with and without subclinical Giardia species and Cryptosporidium canis infections. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Part 1: 6 healthy adult research beagles with subclinical giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis were administered a commercially available preparation of febantel combined with pyrantel and praziquantel (FPP) orally daily for three days. Part 2: 19 healthy staff-owned dogs without giardiasis or cryptosporidiosis were divided into a treatment group (n = 9) that was administered fenbendazole orally daily for five days and an untreated control group (n = 10). For both parts of the study, feces were collected at multiple time points before and after anthelmintic (FPP or fenbendazole) administration. Fecal DNA was extracted for Illumina sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene and qPCR assays. Neither FPP nor fenbendazole treatment caused a significant change in alpha or beta diversity or the relative abundance of bacterial species. Upon univariate statistical analysis neither FPP or fenbendazole caused minimal changes in the fecal microbiota. CONCLUSION: FPP administration was associated with minimal alterations of the fecal microbiome of healthy research beagles with subclinical giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis. Fenbendazole administration was associated with minimal alterations of the fecal microbiome of healthy staff owned dogs.