Characterization of the Fecal Microbiota in Dogs with Chronic Enteropathies and Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea
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Recent 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies of the duodenal and fecal microbiota have revealed alterations in the abundance of specific bacterial groups in dogs with gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. The aim of this study was to establish a panel of quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assays for the evaluation of specific bacterial groups in fecal samples of healthy dogs, dogs with chronic enteropathies (CE), and dogs with acute hemorrhagic diarrhea (AHD). Fecal samples from 242 healthy dogs, 118 dogs with CE, and 57 dogs with AHD were analyzed using qPCR assays targeting Faecalibacterium spp., Turicibacter spp., Bifidobacterium spp., Lactobacillus spp., Streptococcus spp., Ruminococcaceae, C. perfringens, E. coli, gamma-Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes). Differences in bacterial abundance among the three groups were evaluated using a Kruskal-Wallis test followed by a Dunn's post-test. A Bonferroni correction was used to correct for multiple comparisons and an adjusted p<0.05 was considered for statistical significance. Faecalibacterium spp., Turicibacter spp., and Ruminococcaceae were significantly decreased in CE and AHD compared to healthy dogs (p<0.001 for all). Lactobacillus spp. and Streptococcus spp. were significantly increased in dogs with CE (p<0.001 for both) when compared to the healthy dogs. In contrast, Lactobacillus spp. and Streptococcus spp. were significantly decreased in dogs with AHD compared to healthy dogs (p<0.01 and p<0.05, respectively) and also when compared to the dogs with CE (p<0.001 for both). C. perfringens and E. coli were significantly increased in dogs with AHD (p<0.001 and p<0.01, respectively), when compared to healthy dogs. E. coli was also significantly increased in dogs with CE when compared to the healthy dogs (p<0.001). Bacteroidetes were significantly lower in dogs with CE compared to healthy dogs (<0.001). Firmicutes were significantly higher in healthy dogs in comparison to dogs with AHD (p<0.05). Bifidobacterium spp. and gamma-Proteobacteria were not significantly different among all three groups of dogs. In conclusion, the qPCR panel employed here revealed a fecal dysbiosis in dogs with CE and AHD when compared to healthy dogs. These results are similar to recently reported findings using molecular sequencing approaches. Quantification of these bacterial groups by qPCR may be a useful adjunct for the diagnosis or monitoring of gastrointestinal disease in dogs.