Fecal Microbiota, Bile Acids, Sterols, and Fatty Acids in Dogs with Chronic Enteropathy Fed a Home-Cooked Diet Supplemented with Coconut Oil. Academic Article uri icon


  • Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are considered to be interesting energy sources for dogs affected by chronic enteropathies (CE). This study analyzed the clinical scores, fecal microbiota, and metabolomes of 18 CE dogs fed a home-cooked diet (HCD) supplemented with virgin coconut oil (VCO), a source of MCFA, at 10% of metabolizable energy (HCD + VCO). The dogs were clinically evaluated with the Canine Chronic Enteropathy Activity Index (CCECAI) before and at the end of study. Fecal samples were collected at baseline, after 7 days of HCD, and after 30 days of HCD + VCO, for fecal score (FS) assessment, microbial analysis, and determination of bile acids (BA), sterols, and fatty acids (FA). The dogs responded positively to diet change, as shown by the CCECAI improvement (p = 0.001); HCD reduced fecal fat excretion and HCD + VCO improved FS (p < 0.001), even though an increase in fecal moisture occurred due to HCD (p = 0.001). HCD modified fecal FA (C6:0: +79%, C14:0: +74%, C20:0: +43%, C22:0: +58%, C24:0: +47%, C18:3n-3: +106%, C20:4n-6: +56%, and monounsaturated FA (MUFA): -23%, p < 0.05) and sterol profile (coprostanol: -27%, sitostanol: -86%, p < 0.01). VCO increased (p < 0.05) fecal total saturated FA (SFA: +28%, C14:0: +142%, C16:0 +21%, C22:0 +33%) and selected MCFAs (+162%; C10:0 +183%, C12:0 +600%), while reducing (p < 0.05) total MUFA (-29%), polyunsaturated FA (-26%), campesterol (-56%) and phyto-/zoosterols ratio (0.93:1 vs. 0.36:1). The median dysbiosis index was <0 and, together with fecal BA, was not significantly affected by HCD nor by VCO. The HCD diet increased total fecal bacteria (p = 0.005) and the abundance of Fusobacterium spp. (p = 0.028). This study confirmed that clinical signs, and to a lesser extent fecal microbiota and metabolome, are positively influenced by HCD in CE dogs. Moreover, it has been shown that fecal proportions of MCFA increased when MCFAs were supplemented in those dogs. The present results emphasize the need for future studies to better understand the intestinal absorptive mechanism of MCFA in dogs.

published proceedings

  • Animals (Basel)

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Vecchiato, C. G., Pinna, C., Sung, C., Borrelli De Andreis, F., Suchodolski, J. S., Pilla, R., ... Biagi, G.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Vecchiato, Carla Giuditta||Pinna, Carlo||Sung, Chi-Hsuan||Borrelli De Andreis, Francesca||Suchodolski, Jan S||Pilla, Rachel||Delsante, Costanza||Sportelli, Federica||Mammi, Ludovica Maria Eugenia||Pietra, Marco||Biagi, Giacomo

publication date

  • January 2023