One dog’s waste is another dog’s wealth: A pilot study of fecal microbiota transplantation in dogs with acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome

Arnon Gal, Patrick C. Barko, Patrick J. Biggs, Kristene R. Gedye, Anne C. Midwinter, David A. Williams, Richard K. Burchell, Paolo Pazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Canine acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome (AHDS) has been associated in some studies with Clostridioides perfringens overgrowth and toxin-mediated necrosis of the intestinal mucosa. We aimed to determine the effect of a single fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) on clinical scores and fecal microbiomes of 1 and 7 dogs with AHDS from New Zealand and South Africa. We hypothesized that FMT would improve AHDS clinical scores and increase microbiota alpha-diversity and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing microbial communities’ abundances in dogs with AHDS after FMT. We sequenced the V3-V4 region of the 16S-rRNA gene in the feces of AHDS FMT-recipients and sham-treated control dogs, and their healthy donors at admission, discharge, and 30 days post-discharge. There were no significant differences in median AHDS clinical scores between FMT-recipients and sham-treated controls at admission or discharge (P = 0.22, P = 0.41). At admission, the Shannon diversity index (SDI) was lower in AHDS dogs than healthy donors (P = 0.002). The SDI did not change from admission to 30 days in sham-treated dogs yet increased in FMT-recipients from admission to discharge (P = 0.04) to levels not different than donors (P = 0.33) but significantly higher than sham-treated controls (P = 0.002). At 30 days, the SDI did not differ between FMT recipients, sham-treated controls, and donors (P = 0.88). Principal coordinate analysis of the Bray-Curtis index separated post-FMT and donor dogs from pre-FMT and sham-treated dogs (P = 0.009) because of increased SCFA-producing genera’s abundances after FMT. A single co-abundance subnetwork contained many of the same OTUs found to be differentially abundant in FMT-recipients, and the abundance of this module was increased in FMT-recipients at discharge and 30 days, compared to sham-treated controls. We conclude in this small pilot study FMT did not have any clinical benefit. A single FMT procedure has the potential to increase bacterial communities of SCFA-producing genera important for intestinal health up to 30 days post-FMT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0250344
JournalPloS one
Issue number4 April
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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