AnimalBiome Releases 2022 State of the Gut Report

AnimalBiome has spent the past seven years testing and restoring the gut microbiomes of tens of thousands of cats and dogs

“When we launched the KittyBiome Kickstarter in 2015 as the first large-scale attempt to describe the gut microbiome of cats, we were surprised to find that 20% of participants had a chronic gastrointestinal condition. In order to get investment into AnimalBiome, we focused on chronic cases and found in a small survey of around 1,000 pet parents and found that around 10% of cats and dogs had a chronic digestive problem,​ explained Carlton Osborne, CEO, AnimalBiome.

Main problems identified

Since research began in 2015, AnimalBiome has used its database to identify a range of common issues in the gut microbiome:

  • The presence of unhealthy levels of E. coli – found in nearly 1 in 3 dogs and 1 in 7 cats
  • Unhealthy (high) levels of certain bacteria, which prevent other important groups of beneficial bacteria from colonizing
  • Absence or low abundance of essential beneficial gut bacteria
  • Lack of diversity of key beneficial gut bacteria

The survey revealed that a common sign of dysbiosis is diarrhea or itchy skin. He also noted that there are a variety of reasons why a pet’s microbiome can be out of balance, but the most common reasons are antibiotic use, diet, parasites, pathogenic bacteria, and bacteria. diseases.

This year, AnimalBiome surveyed 2,000 American cat parents and 2,000 American dog parents. Osborne said when looking at symptoms related to gut health as a whole (not just chronic), the issue is much bigger than they originally thought in 2015.

key ideas

The results revealed that more than half of all cats and dogs experienced some level of digestive and skin issues in the past year. In addition, 10% of cats and 13% of dogs have chronic digestive problems and 13% of cats and 20% of dogs have chronic skin problems.

“This means that approximately 30 million cats and dogs would benefit from their parents doing a better job of looking after their gut health and an additional 20 million cats and dogs need significant microbiome restoration. to cope with their chronic illnesses,said Osborne.

Risk factors

Survey participants were asked about their pets’ exposure to the risk factors and whether their cat or dog had experienced any of the following changes in the past 12 months. These risk factors that impact gut health include:

  • Use of antibiotics
  • New prescription drugs (no antibiotics)
  • New over-the-counter drugs
  • New supplement(s)
  • Regime change
  • Accidental consumption (such as pesticides, socks, stones, etc.)
  • A major surgery
  • New pet introduced into the household
  • Drastic change in activity level

The survey found that 6 in 10 pets have been exposed to one of these risk factors in the past year, with antibiotics being the main risk factor for an unbalanced gut.

Sensitization

According to the survey, over 60% of pet owners correctly identified diet as a key factor in pet gut health. A majority of pet parents correctly identified some of the key drivers of pet gut health, including diet (66%), illness (58%) and medication use (52%) . That said, less than 51% of pet parents correctly identified factors important to pet gut health, such as pet age (49%), antibiotic use (50 %), weight (44%) and exercise (31%).

When pet parents were asked to rank a list of health-related activities, few were aware of the importance of gut microbiome health testing – ranked last and second-to-last in order of importance among dog parents and cat parents, respectively. The report says this indicates that more education is needed to help pet owners understand the importance of regularly testing their pet’s gut microbiome.

Personalized Pet Opportunity

When asked where gut health falls in terms of growth areas for pet health, Osborne said that when pet parents understand that systemic inflammation in the digestive tract can also contribute to skin conditions, gut health is the biggest opportunity for pet health. “These two conditions account for more than 50% of vet visits and approximately 30% of pet owners report that their veterinarian’s treatment plan did not resolve the problem. We estimate that over $14 billion is spent on vet visits, diagnostics, x-ray diets, medications and supplements and pet parents tell us these solutions don’t work.

Veterinarians and pet owners now have the opportunity to increase the use of gut microbiome testing to identify factors that may contribute to dysbiosis. But with gut health testing still in its infancy for humans, how can companies reach pet parents? Osborne said collaboration is key.

“As the technology leader in pet microbiome testing and restoration, we plan to enable the biggest players in animal health to bring microbiome testing to their customers,” explained Osborne. “One example is our partnership with Embark Veterinary, which is now commercializing an AnimalBiome-powered microbiome test. We plan to partner with other companies to spread awareness and availability of microbiome testing.