02899: How do Maternal, Environmental, and Genetic Factors Contribute to Acquisition and Evolution of the Enteric Microbiome in Dogs?

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $107,825
David Williams, PhD; University of Illinois
April 1, 2021 - March 31, 2024

Sponsor(s):

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Gastrointestinal Disease
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Abstract

The enteric microbiome is the consortium of microbes, primarily bacteria, living in the intestinal tract of all mammals. The enteric microbiome is critical to the health of the host animal and numerous diseases are associated with abnormalities in its composition. Mammals first acquire their enteric microbiome at the time of birth from contact with microbes living on and in their mothers. As the host animal grows and matures, so do does the enteric microbiome which eventually settles upon an adult-like configuration. Whereas the enteric microbiomes of neonates is unstable and lacks diversity, the adult microbiome is stable and highly diverse. Studies in humans and other animals have found that factors that interrupt or delay maturation of the microbiome are associated with the development of diseases including asthma, allergies, chronic intestinal diseases, and obesity. Very little is known about how the enteric microbiome of dogs matures during the first year of life. The purpose of this study is to follow the acquisition and subsequent maturation of the enteric microbiome during the first 14 months of life in three common breeds of dogs: German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers. Investigators will collect samples from mothers during pregnancy and from puppies starting at the day of birth through 14 months of age. The research team will use advanced DNA sequencing technologies to understand how the microbiome matures during this critical developmental window and determine how the genetics of the host animal influences this process. This study has the potential to inform the development of novel preventative and therapeutic approaches to optimize canine health from birth to adulthood.

Publication(s)

None at this time.

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