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Oct 06, 2022

Mind the Gut: healthy pets from inside out

Oct 06, 2022

Mind the Gut: healthy pets from inside out

Report from the 8th Nordic Pet Food Conference, Barcelona

On October 4-5 2022, Francesca Susca, DVM, Ph.D., Global Pet Product Manager at Lallemand gave a remarked lecture at the 8th Nordic Pet Food Conference in Barcelona, an event established as the best-attended annual technical networking event in the European pet food industry calendar. Susca’s forward-looking presentation addressed the interactions of the microbiome with the gut-brain axis and the gut-skin axis and its implications for pet well-being. If you missed it we are pleased to share the abstract!

Many human and animal studies suggest that the gut microbiome’s influence extends beyond the gut. The microbiome is now known to communicate with various tissues and organs – such as the brain, lungs, heart, joints, and skin – in a bidirectional manner, contributing to the body’s homeostasis. This presentation focused on the microbiome’s interactions with the brain and skin and how this can be exploited to benefit our pets.

Addressing the Gut-Brain axis

The Gut-Brain Axis (GBA) is a well-demonstrated concept; a complex communication system that not only ensures the proper maintenance of gastrointestinal homeostasis but is also likely to have multiple effects on motivation and higher cognitive functions. Dogs live complex emotional lives just like we do and their emotional balance is key to ensuring their overall well-being. The first part of this presentation will highlight the importance of recognizing canine nutritional and emotional needs as a way to support their overall health and well-being while reinforcing their special and unique bond with them. A unique, specifically developed, and designed, Pet Well-being Assessment Guide will be presented as a four-step guide enabling us to measure, control, and support dog emotional well-being.

Skin-gut axis and the microbiome

The Gut-Skin Axis represents a new and promising area of research that will be explored in the second part of this presentation. The mechanisms by which the gut exerts its influence on skin homeostasis appear to be mediated through the intestinal microbiome and the immune system, with intestinal barrier integrity laying a key role. Despite a plethora of evidence advocating the beneficial effects of probiotic strains in the prevention and/or treatment of skin disorders, there are a number of practical limitations to their industrial application in pet food.  Inactivated microbial solutions (postbiotics) processed from specific strains of Lactobacillus have been shown to crosstalk host cells and to have a positive impact on the intestinal barrier and intestine-organ axes. Preliminary results from a study on dietary supplementation with either a live (probiotic) or inactivated (postbiotic), single proprietary bacteria strain on the mucosal barrier function of zebrafish; used as a validated animal model for vertebrates, will be shared to confirm the potential of postbiotics to support intestinal and skin immunity.

In conclusion

Supplementation with proven microbial-based solutions is widely recommended as an efficient and positive way to shape the gut microbiota and consequently improve pet physical and emotional well-being.