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News Article

Canine inflammatory bowel disease: gut microbiome data aids diagnosis


Researchers have discovered a pattern of microbes indicative of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs.

After analysing faecal samples from healthy dogs and dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), researchers found that they were able to predict which dogs had the disease and which did not. They report their findings in Nature Microbiology. They also determined that the gut microbiomes of dogs and humans are not similar enough to use dogs as animal models for humans with IBD.

Senior author Rob Knight (University of California, San Diego) and team collected faecal samples from 85 healthy dogs and 65 dogs with chronic signs of gastrointestinal disease and inflammatory changes confirmed by pathology. They used 16S rRNA sequencing to determine which microbial species were present in each sample.

The differences in the microbial species found in IBD and non-IBD dogs were significant enough that they could distinguish IBD dog faeces from non-IBD with more than 90 percent accuracy.

The researchers also compared the dog data to 2014 parallel findings in humans. The team found some similarities in the microbial interactions of IBD samples between dogs and humans, however the overlap was only partial. For example, Fusobacterium bacteria are associated with disease in humans, but in dogs were associated with the non-IBD samples.

The study’s first author, Yoshiki Vázquez-Baeza, a graduate student at UC San Diego noted a potential limitation of the study - there were fewer healthy human samples than IBD samples in the 2014 human data set. But to the best of their knowledge, he said, their statistical methods should not be affected by that.

“One of the really nice things about this study is that all of the statistical software packages we used to analyse data are available online, and anyone can see our exact calculations,” said Vázquez-Baeza. “Too often we read about a study with interesting conclusions, but it’s not completely clear how the authors got there. This approach is more open and transparent.”

This approach to diagnosing IBD in dogs is not yet available to veterinarians or dog owners, Vázquez-Baeza said. Moving forward, the researchers would like to study the overlap in IBD and non-IBD gut microbiomes among a series of animals. Zoo animals, for example, experience IBD more often than their wild counterparts, and studying them might help Knight, Vázquez-Baeza and team find key microbial players in IBD across species.

Article: Dog and human inflammatory bowel disease rely on overlapping yet distinct dysbiosis networks by Yoshiki Vázquez-Baeza, Embriette R. Hyde, Jan S. Suchodolski and Rob Knight, published in Nature Microbiology (2016), article number: 16177, doi:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.177

Article details

  • Date
  • 04 October 2016
  • Source
  • University of California, San Diego
  • Subject(s)
  • Dogs, Cats, and other Companion Animals