Dysbiosis index to evaluate the fecal microbiota in healthy cats and cats with chronic enteropathies. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: Previous studies have identified various bacterial taxa that are altered in cats with chronic enteropathies (CE) vs healthy cats. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a targeted quantitative molecular method to evaluate the fecal microbiota of cats. METHODS: Fecal samples from 80 client-owned healthy cats and 68 cats with CE were retrospectively evaluated. A panel of quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays was used to measure the fecal abundance of total bacteria and seven bacterial taxa: Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium, Clostridium hiranonis, Escherichia coli, Faecalibacterium, Streptococcus and Turicibacter. The nearest centroid classifier algorithm was used to calculate a dysbiosis index (DI) based on these qPCR abundances. RESULTS: The abundances of total bacteria, Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium, C hiranonis, Faecalibacterium and Turicibacter were significantly decreased, while those of E coli and Streptococcus were significantly increased in cats with CE (P <0.027 for all). The DI in cats with CE was significantly higher compared with healthy cats (P <0.001). When the cut-off value of the DI was set at 0, it provided 77% (95% confidence interval [CI] 66-85) sensitivity and 96% (95% CI 89-99) specificity to differentiate the microbiota of cats with CE from those of healthy cats. Fifty-two of 68 cats with CE had a DI >0. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: A qPCR-based DI for assessing the fecal microbiota of cats was established. The results showed that a large proportion of cats with CE had an altered fecal microbiota as evidenced by an increased DI. Prospective studies are warranted to evaluate the utility of this assay for clinical assessment of feline CE.

published proceedings

  • J Feline Med Surg

altmetric score

  • 2.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Sung, C., Marsilio, S., Chow, B., Zornow, K. A., Slovak, J. E., Pilla, R., ... Suchodolski, J. S.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Sung, Chi-Hsuan||Marsilio, Sina||Chow, Betty||Zornow, Kailee A||Slovak, Jennifer E||Pilla, Rachel||Lidbury, Jonathan A||Steiner, Jörg M||Park, So Young||Hong, Min-Pyo||Hill, Steve L||Suchodolski, Jan S

publication date

  • June 2022