Microbe patterns can predict canine IBD

Canine inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is most common in middle-aged and older dogs, and includes inflammation of the intestines and chronic, gastrointestinal symptoms, according to Pet MD. A new study offers some insights into its cause.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Texas A&M University identified a pattern of microbes indicative of IBD in dogs, and were able to predict which dogs had IBD and which did not with more than 90 percent accuracy.

The study was published in Nature Microbiology on Oct. 3.

The researchers collected fecal samples from 85 healthy dogs and 65 dogs with chronic signs of gastrointestinal disease and inflammatory changes confirmed by pathology. To determine which microbial species were living in each sample, they used a technique called “16S rRNA sequencing” to quickly identify millions of bacterial species living in a mixed sample, based on the unique genes they harbor.

With this information, the researchers were able to look for similarities and differences in the microbial species found in IBD and non-IBD dogs. The differences were significant enough that they could distinguish IBD dog feces from non-IBD with more than 90 percent accuracy.

This approach to diagnosing IBD in dogs is not yet available to veterinarians or dog owners.

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