Probiotics are commonly used in in animal nutrition, but only few studies about the efficacy in dogs were performed. The aim of the study was to ivestigate beneficial effects of Lactobacillus acidophilus DSM 13241 added to a dry canine diet on digestive, immunological and microbiological parameters of dogs.
In three consecutive feeding periods a commercial dry dog food was offered without, with and again without Lactobacillus acidophilus additive to six German Shorthair Pointers.
Additionally to general health status and digestive parameters (faecal consistency, faecal free water, defaecation frequency, amount of faeces, digestibility, faecal dry matter, pH value, faecal lactate and ammonia concentrations) the composition of the intestinal microbial flora (Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., E. coli, Clostridium perfringens) was investigated using both cultural and molecular techniques (Fluorescence-In Situ-Hybridisation).
Further parameters were the concentrations of faecal IgA, IgG, acute phase proteins (Haptoglobin, C-reactive protein) and endotoxin levels in serum samples. The lymphocyte proliferation and osmotic fragility of erythrocytes were measured in whole blood samples.
The results of this study showed that Lactobacillus acidophilus is suitable for use in dogs at the recommended dose of 10^9 CfU/day and provided effects on digestive and immunological parameters.
Lactobacillus acidophilus DSM 13241 was able to reduce unacceptable faecal consistency in dogs and could demonstrate a stabilisation of digestive functions in sensitive dogs. There was an evidence of systemic and local immune effects.