Grant #01609

Dr. Albert Jergens, DVM, PhD
Canine Health Foundation | Iowa State University
Jan 2012 - $3,000

Jan 2013 - $3,000

Idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common cause of chronic gastrointestinal disease in dogs. Accumulating evidence in human IBD and animal models suggests that imbalances in composition of the intestinal microbiota contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic intestinal inflammation. Recent studies have also shown that dogs with IBD have distinctly different duodenal microbial communities compared to healthy dogs. Current treatments for IBD include the administration of nonspecific anti-inflammatory drugs which may confer serious side effects and do not address the underlying basis for disease, namely, altered microbial composition. Use of probiotics (viable, non-pathogenic bacteria that exert health benefits beyond basic nutrition) offers an attractive, physiologic, and non-toxic alternative to shift the balance to protective species and treat IBD. The aim of the proposed study is to investigate the clinical, microbiologic, and anti-inflammatory effects of probiotic VSL#3 in the treatment of canine IBD. We hypothesis that VSL#3 used as an adjunct to standard therapy (i.e., elimination diet and prednisone) will induce a beneficial alteration of enteric bacteria leading to induction and maintenance of remission in dogs with IBD. A randomized, controlled clinical trial of 8 weeks duration will assess the efficacy of standard therapy + probiotic versus standard therapy alone. There is a need for additional data to be generated to provide proof of efficacy in probiotic therapy before these agents can be applied to widespread clinical use. These studies will also provide highly relevant insight into the anti-inflammatory effects of probiotics for treatment of human and canine IBD.