A probiotic-prebiotic combination therapy (known as a “synbiotic”) was investigated for its ability to aid in reducing azotemia in cats with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Specific bacteria are used in the product that are capable of metabolizing urea and creatinine into non-toxic metabolites. One synbiotic, Azodyl, contains strains of three naturally occurring bacteria (Streptococcus (enterococcus) thermophiles, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifodobacterium longum) combined with a prebiotic (psyllium husk) in an enteric-coated capsule that releases the contents within the contents within the ileo-colic region. Studies in humans have suggested that synbiotic therapy can alter azotemia in patients with CKD. The manufacturer of Azodyl recommends administering the synbiotic product capsules intact where many cat owners prefer to administer such products by mixing the contents with food. This study was a double-blinded, controlled evaluation of 10 cats with naturally occurring CKD that were randomized to receive either Azodyl or psyllium husk (prebiotic only) for 2 months. The medications were sprinkled into food or given as a slurry. Blood urea nitrogen and creatinine were measured twice prior to administration of the medication, and then monthly for 2 months during the study. The study found that Azodyl when applied to food or administered as a slurry failed to reduce azotemia in cats with CKD. The moral of this story is that it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when administering medications. [VT]
Related articles: King JN, Tasker S, Gunn-Moore DA and Strehlau G. Prognostic factors in cats with chronic kidney disease. J Vet Intern Med. 2007; 21: 906-16.