Microbiome, Prebiotics, Postbiotics
The importance of a healthy gut microbiome has recently received more attention in the veterinary community. There are many ways in which the gut microbiome influences organ systems beyond the gastrointestinal tract.123 There are several ways to qualify and quantify an animal’s microbiome. Although the microbiome is routinely evaluated in research settings, its clinical application is currently limited.123 Pet owners and veterinary professionals should be wary of companies advertising to test a pet’s microbiome, especially if supplements are then recommended.
An animal’s microbiome can be affected by diet, antibiotics, probiotics, prebiotics, or fecal microbiome transplant. In many cases, soft stool or diarrhea can be effectively managed with a diet change by modifying specific ingredients, dietary fat, or fiber intake.124 Using indiscriminate antibiotics for acute diarrhea is not recommended.125 Caution should be exercised when choosing a probiotic because there is variable quality control and efficacy among supplements.126,127
These guidelines are supported by generous educational grants from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets, and Royal Canin®.