Faecal microbiota of cats with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus.
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Microorganisms within the gastrointestinal tract significantly influence metabolic processes within their mammalian host, and recently several groups have sought to characterise the gastrointestinal microbiota of individuals affected by metabolic disease. Differences in the composition of the gastrointestinal microbiota have been reported in mouse models of type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as in human patients. Diabetes mellitus in cats has many similarities to type 2 diabetes in humans. No studies of the gastrointestinal microbiota of diabetic cats have been previously published. The objectives of this study were to compare the composition of the faecal microbiota of diabetic and non-diabetic cats, and secondarily to determine if host signalment and dietary factors influence the composition of the faecal microbiota in cats. Faecal samples were collected from insulin-treated diabetic and non-diabetic cats, and Illumina sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene and quantitative PCR were performed on each sample. ANOSIM based on the unweighted UniFrac distance metric identified no difference in the composition of the faecal microbiota between diabetic and non-diabetic cats, and no significant differences in the proportions of dominant bacteria by phylum, class, order, family or genus as determined by 16S rRNA gene sequencing were identified between diabetic and non-diabetic cats. qPCR identified a decrease in Faecalibacterium spp. in cats aged over ten years. Cat breed or gender, dietary carbohydrate, protein or fat content, and dietary formulation (wet versus dry food) did not affect the composition of the faecal microbiota. In conclusion, the composition of the faecal microbiota was not altered by the presence of diabetes mellitus in cats. Additional studies that compare the functional products of the microbiota in diabetic and non-diabetic cats are warranted to further investigate the potential impact of the gastrointestinal microbiota on metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus in cats.