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the median time for remission was 6 days longer for the probiotic group. Furthermore there were indications that probiotics induced sustained immune modulatory effects. In cats, an open-label study found a synbiotic to improve the mean fecal score (6.0 to 4.4, P<0.001) for cats completing the study (n=53)7.
Probiotics and constipation
Preliminary results presented at conferences indicate that probiotic (Sivoy, VSL#3, 2 x 1011 CFU/g) significantly improve the feline chronic enteropathy activity index
and histology scores in cats diagnosed with chronic idiopathic constipation and megacolon8.
Probiotics and antibiotic treatment
Antibiotic treatment result in dramatic changes in gut microbiota composition and in some patients this
can develop into a more chronic intestinal dysbiosis. Probiotics support restoration of the commensal flora.
Probiotics and atopic dermatitis
A recent meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials evaluating the effects of synbiotics for the treatment
of atopic dermatitis in children found that there
was convincing evidence of beneficial effects of supplementing mixed strains of bacteria to children of more than one year of age. A recent double-blinded placebo-controlled trial testing the use of a probiotic strain (Lactobacillus sakei, 2 x 109 CFU/g ) administered for 2 months to research dogs with atopic dermatitis significantly reduced canine atopic dermatitis extent and severity index (CADESI-03) and Pruritus Visual Analogue Scale ( PVAS) scores of treated dogs (n = 28) compared with placebo (n = 10)9.
Future areas for use of probiotics in dogs and cats
Probiotics and mental disease,
Through the recently established gut microbiota-brain axis, the gut microbiota can play an important role
in modulating behaviour and cognitive development through the production of hormones, immune factors and metabolites. This again implies that changing
the gut microbiota could directly affect the brain´s physiological, behavioural and cognitive functions and ultimately prevent or cure brain diseases. Some studies have identified decreased stress-related diarrhea in pets supplemented with probiotics and it is likely that more studies in this field will emerge in near future.
Probiotics for obesity and type 2 diabetes
The gut microbiota can affect the degree of energy harvest in an individual. For example, lean mice receiving gut microbiota transplantation from phenotypically obese mice start to gain weight. Obese individuals also seem to have a different gut mucrobiota compared with lean, but whether this is a cause or effect is uncertain.
Recent technological developments permitting a more in depth phylogenetic analysis of the intestinal microbiota has provided a more global insight into the complex interaction between the host, the intestinal microbiota and probiotics. This has furthered our understanding
of the metabolic mechanisms supporting the host and will hopefully continue to increase our understanding and add to targeted probiotic development. It should however be noted, that probiotics are, in most countries, considered food supplements, not strictly regulated. Studies have shown that not all products pass quality testing, some do not contain what they declare, some products do not contain live bacteria and some even contain pathogenic bacteria10.
1. Metchnikoff E. The prolongation of life—optimistic studies. London: Heinemann, 1908
2. Hill C, Guarner F, Reid G, Gibson G, Merenstein D, Pot B, Morelli L, Canani RB, Flint HJ, Salminen S, Calder PC & Sanders M. Expert consensus document. The international scientific association for probiotics and prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014;11:506-514
3. Schmitz S & Suchodolski J. Understanding the canine intestinal microbiota and its modification by pro-, pre- and synbiotics – what is the evidence? Vet med Sci 2016;2:71-94
4. Rose L, Rose J, Gosling S & Holmes M. Efficacy of a probiotic-prebiotic supplement on incidence of diarrhea in a dog shelter: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. J Vet Intern Med 2017; 31:377-382
5. Bybee SN, Scorza AV & Lappin MR. Effect of the probiotic Enterococcus faecium SF68 on presence of diarrhea in cat and dogs housed in an animal shelter. J Vet Intern med 2011; 25:856-860
6. Rossi G, Pengo G, Caldin M, Piccionello AP, Steiner JM, Cohen ND,
Jergens AE & Suchodolski JS. Comparison of microbiological, histological, and immunomodulatory parameters in response to treatment with either combination therapy with prednisone and metronidazole or probiotic VSL#3 strains in dogs with idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease. PLoS One 2014;9:e94699
7. Hart ML, Suchodolski JS, Steiner JM & Webb CB. Open-label trial of a multi- strain synbiotic in cats with chronic diarrhea. J Feline Med Surg 2012;14:240- 245.
8. Rossi G, Jergens A, Cerquetella M, Berardi S, Pengo G & Suchodolski J. The effect of the probiotic SivoyTM on clinical and histopathological parameter sin cats with chronic idiopathic constipation and megacolon. J Vet Intern Med 2015;29:1189
9. Kim H, Rather IA, Kim H, Kim S, Kim T, Jang J, Seo J, lim J & Park Y. A double blinded placebo controlled-trial of a probiotic strain lactobacillus sakei Probio-65 for the prevention of canine atopic dermatitis. J Microbiol Biotechnol 2015;25:1966-1969
10. Weese JS & Martin H. Assessment of commercial probiotic bacterial contents and label accuracy. Can Vet J. 2011;52:43-46.
An Urban Experience

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