Influence of dietary protein and fructooligosaccharides on fecal fermentative end-products, fecal bacterial populations and apparent total tract digestibility in dogs

Carlo Pinna, Carla Giuditta Vecchiato, Carmen Bolduan, Monica Grandi, Claudio Stefanelli, Wilhelm Windisch, Giuliano Zaghini, Giacomo Biagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Feeding dogs with diets rich in protein may favor putrefactive fermentations in the hindgut, negatively affecting the animal's intestinal environment. Conversely, prebiotics may improve the activity of health-promoting bacteria and prevent bacterial proteolysis in the colon. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation with fructooligosaccharides (FOS) on fecal microbiota and apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) in dogs fed kibbles differing in protein content. Twelve healthy adult dogs were used in a 4 × 4 replicated Latin Square design to determine the effects of four diets: 1) Low protein diet (LP, crude protein (CP) 229 g/kg dry matter (DM)); 2) High protein diet (HP, CP 304 g/kg DM); 3) Diet 1 + 1.5 g of FOS/kg; 4) Diet 2 + 1.5 g of FOS/kg. The diets contained silica at 5 g/kg as a digestion marker. Differences in protein content were obtained using different amounts of a highly digestible swine greaves meal. Each feeding period lasted 28 d, with a 12 d wash-out in between periods. Fecal samples were collected from dogs at 0, 21 and 28 d of each feeding period. Feces excreted during the last five days of each feeding period were collected and pooled in order to evaluate ATTD. Results: Higher fecal ammonia concentrations were observed both when dogs received the HP diets (p < 0.001) and the supplementation with FOS (p < 0.05). The diets containing FOS resulted in greater ATTD of DM, Ca, Mg, Na, Zn, and Fe (p < 0.05) while HP diets were characterized by lower crude ash ATTD (p < 0.05). Significant interactions were observed between FOS and protein concentration in regards to fecal pH (p < 0.05), propionic acid (p < 0.05), acetic to propionic acid and acetic + n-butyric to propionic acid ratios (p < 0.01), bifidobacteria (p < 0.05) and ATTD of CP (p < 0.05) and Mn (p < 0.001). Conclusions: A relatively moderate increase of dietary protein resulted in higher concentrations of ammonia in canine feces. Fructooligosaccharides displayed beneficial counteracting effects (such as increased bifidobacteria) when supplemented in HP diets, compared to those observed in LP diets and, in general, improved the ATTD of several minerals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Dietary protein
  • Digestibility
  • Dog
  • Fructooligosaccharides
  • Intestinal microbiota
  • Prebiotics

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