The gastrointestinal microbiota is a complex ecosystem that plays an important role in host health and immunity. Concerns regarding the effects of pharmaceuticals on the bacterial microbiota in humans and veterinary species have been raised, more specifically concerning the potential deleterious effects of antimicrobials. The effect of anthelmintic therapy on the bacterial microbiota in dogs has not yet been evaluated and little information is available concerning the effect of Giardia species or Cryptosporidium canis infectionon the gastrointestinal microbiota. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the fecal microbiota in adult research beagles with chronic, subclinical Giardia spp. and C. canis infections before and after administration of a commercially available preparation of febantel combined with pyrantel and praziquantel (FPP; Drontal®Plus; Bayer Animal Health, Shawnee, KS).
Six healthy adult research beagles with a subclinical Giardia spp. infection and a C. canis co-infection were administered FPP as directed by the manufacturer by mouth, daily, for 3 days. Fecal samples were collected 7 and 3 days before FPP (days -7 and -3), on the first day of administration (day 0), and 4, 14, and 21 days after the start of administration (days 4, 14, 21). Fecal DNA was extracted and qPCR assays were performed to assess the abundance of total bacteria, Faecalibacterium, Turicibacter, E. coli, Streptococcus, Blautia, Fusobacterium, and C. hiranonis and to calculate a previously published dysbiosis index (DI). Bacterial groups and DI were compared across time points using the Friedman test and Dunn’s post-test as appropriate. Statistical significance was set as p < 0.05.
The abundance of Fusobacterium increased between days 0 and 4 (p < 0.01), otherwise there were no statistically significant changes in the DI or abundance of bacterial groups before and after treatment with FPP. Additionally, the DI in this group of dogs was similar to that of previously evaluated healthy dogs; only 2 of 6 dogs had transiently increased DI results (DI > 2 at 1 pre-treatment time point for each).
FPP administration did not considerably alter the fecal bacterial microbiota in this group of research beagles. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the effect of this and other anthelmintic agents on the gastrointestinal microbiota of client-owned dogs.
Madeline Fujishiro, DVM, is a small animal internal medicine resident at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She received her DVM from Colorado State University followed by a one-year small animal rotating internship at University of Georgia before starting her residency at Texas A&M University.
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