Fecal microbiota in client-owned obese dogs changes after weight loss with a high-fiber-high-protein diet. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The fecal microbiota from obese individuals can induce obesity in animal models. In addition, studies in humans, animal models and dogs have revealed that the fecal microbiota of subjects with obesity is different from that of lean subjects and changes after weight loss. However, the impact of weight loss on the fecal microbiota in dogs with obesity has not been fully characterized. METHODS: In this study, we used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to investigate the differences in the fecal microbiota of 20 pet dogs with obesity that underwent a weight loss program. The endpoint of the weight loss program was individually tailored to the ideal body weight of each dog. In addition, we evaluated the qPCR based Dysbiosis Index before and after weight loss. RESULTS: After weight loss, the fecal microbiota structure of dogs with obesity changed significantly (weightedANOSIM; p=0.016, R=0.073), showing an increase in bacterial richness (p=0.007), evenness (p=0.007) and the number of bacterial species (p=0.007). The fecal microbiota composition of obese dogs after weight loss was characterized by a decrease in Firmicutes (92.3% to 78.2%, q=0.001), and increase in Bacteroidetes (1.4% to 10.1%, q=0.002) and Fusobacteria (1.6% to 6.2%, q=0.040). The qPCR results revealed an overall decrease in the Dysbiosis Index, driven mostly due to a significant decrease in E. coli (p=0.030), and increase in Fusobacterium spp. (p=0.017). CONCLUSION: The changes observed in the fecal microbiota of dogs with obesity after weight loss with a weight loss diet rich in fiber and protein were in agreement with previous studies in humans, that reported an increase of bacterial biodiversity and a decrease of the ratio Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes.

published proceedings

  • PeerJ

altmetric score

  • 9.68

author list (cited authors)

  • Bermudez Sanchez, S., Pilla, R., Sarawichitr, B., Gramenzi, A., Marsilio, F., Steiner, J. M., ... Suchodolski, J. S.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Bermudez Sanchez, Sandra||Pilla, Rachel||Sarawichitr, Benjamin||Gramenzi, Alessandro||Marsilio, Fulvio||Steiner, Joerg M||Lidbury, Jonathan A||Woods, Georgiana RT||German, Alexander J||Suchodolski, Jan S

publication date

  • January 2020


published in