Gut microbes from wild wolves might be the solution for a severe gastrointestinal problem prevalent among domestic dogs. This new research from Oregon State University – Cascades is a significant stride towards resolving canine inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Canine IBD is a chronic disorder marked by symptoms like vomiting, diminished appetite, weight reduction, flatulence, stomach rumbling, and abdominal pain.
Bruce Seal, from OSU-Cascades’ biology program, shed light on the gravity of this issue, stating, “At present there is no known cure for this ongoing dysbiosis of the gastrointestinal tract, and there are limited options for treatment.”
The root causes span from an animal’s genetics and environmental factors to the immunological state of the GI tract and notably, an altered gut microbiome.
This study is the result of a partnership between scientists at OSU-Cascades and Oregon State’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine. It signifies a move towards a food supplement or additive that can guide a domestic dog’s gut microbiome back to its ancestral state, resembling that of a wolf.
“The modern dog diet, high in carbohydrates, does not mirror a wolf’s diet. For instance, starches in processed dog food are indigestible, adversely affecting the microbial community in a dog’s GI tract and consequently its gastric physiology,” Seal emphasized, shedding light on the drastic shift from the dietary habits of their wild ancestors.
The crucial data for this research came from the gastrointestinal content of a deceased wolf, which had tragically died from car-inflicted injuries. This specimen allowed the scientists to isolate 20 unique gut bacteria.
Preliminary genetic examinations hinted at their probiotic properties. The study zoomed in on a newfound Paenibacillus strain, completing its whole genome sequencing.
Seal elaborated on the significance of this bacterium: “It encodes enzymes adept at digesting complex carbs such as starches. Moreover, it possesses gene systems that express antimicrobials.”
These non-toxic, spore-forming bacteria have the potential to foster anti-inflammatory responses in the gut and restrict pathogen growth. Seal concluded, “Considering all these factors, this bacterial isolate might emerge as an invaluable probiotic for our domesticated canine companions.”
In a promising direction, Seal divulged that the team is gearing up to undertake whole genome sequencing for another four or five bacterial species among the isolated 20.
The full study from the was published in journal Applied Microbiology.
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