kittens in field



How dietary protein levels influence gut bacteria in kittens

Building on research presented at the WALTHAM International Nutritional Science Symposium 2013, links between diet and faecal bacteria in kittens were recently published in the open access science journal PLOS ONE.

A number of studies have shown that variations in the human gut microbiome are associated with different diet compositions as well as a number of medical conditions. This suggests that dietary changes may be used to alter the intestinal microbiome and improve health. As little is known about the microbiome of companion animals, WALTHAM undertook a study investigating the impact of diet on the gut microbiome of kittens.

When kittens were fed nutritionally complete diets of differing protein content, the bacterial communities within the faeces were significantly different between the two diet groups. Dr Oliver Deusch explained, “the differences were wide-ranging showing changes in the structure of the population as well as in potential functions of the population”. This is the largest microbiome study in companion animals to date, highlighting the potential importance of diet on gut bacteria and enabling future companion animal studies to further understand pet health and nutrition.