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CaPK21-004: The impact of synbiotics on the gastrointestinal microbiome and phosphate homeostasis in cats with chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease, a common condition in elderly cats, is associated with an accumulation of uremic toxins in the blood, that directly, and by causing inappetence, may affect the health of the gastrointestinal (“gut”) flora. This disturbance of the gut flora, in turn, likely has negative impacts on feline kidney health, by altering availability and absorption of nutrients and minerals. Furthermore, harmful bacteria may become more abundant, and produce uremic toxins that worsen kidney disease. Administration of probiotics (bacteria associated with health benefits) and prebiotics (nutrients that support the growth of beneficial bacteria) may help normalize gut flora disturbances, thus improving nutrient availability and mineral balance, and reducing toxin burden.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between gut flora, calcium and phosphate balance and kidney health in cats comprehensively. We will collect voided stool samples from cats that are healthy or have chronic kidney disease at regular intervals over a period of 24 weeks and use a sophisticated metagenomic technique to characterize the gut flora. We will then correlate findings to dietary, clinical and blood parameters taken at regular time points. A probiotic-prebiotic combination will be given to several cats over an 8-week period, and the impact of this supplement on gut flora, calcium and phosphate balance and uremic toxin burden will be evaluated. The knowledge gained may help us to optimize monitoring and treatment of cats with chronic kidney disease.

Grant ID: CaPK21-004

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2021

Amount awarded: $49,355

Investigator: Thurid Johnstone, T, PhD, DECVIM-CA; Professor Caroline Mansfield, BSc BVMS PhD MANZCVS DECVIM; University of Melbourne