Faecal microbiota in lean and obese dogs

Stefanie Handl, Alexander J. German, Shelley L. Holden, Scot E. Dowd, Jörg M. Steiner, Romy M. Heilmann, Ryan W. Grant, Kelly S. Swanson, Jan S. Suchodolski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous work has shown obesity to be associated with changes in intestinal microbiota. While obesity is common in dogs, limited information is available about the role of the intestinal microbiota. The aim of this study was to investigate whether alterations in the intestinal microbiota may be associated with canine obesity. Using 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing and quantitative real-time PCR, we evaluated the composition of the faecal microbiota in 22 lean and 21 obese pet dogs, as well as in five research dogs fed ad libitum and four research dogs serving as lean controls. Firmicutes, Fusobacteria and Actinobacteria were the predominant bacterial phyla. The phylum Actinobacteria and the genus Roseburia were significantly more abundant in the obese pet dogs. The order Clostridiales significantly increased under ad libitum feeding in the research dogs. Canine intestinal microbiota is highly diverse and shows considerable interindividual variation. In the pet dogs, influence on the intestinal microbiota besides body condition, like age, breed, diet or lifestyle, might have masked the effect of obesity. The study population of research dogs was small, and further work is required before the role of the intestinal microbiota in canine obesity is clarified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-343
Number of pages12
JournalFEMS microbiology ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Canine
  • Microbiota
  • Obesity
  • Pyrosequencing
  • QPCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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