Assess the Microbiome

What Microbiome Testing Can Tell You about Your Pet's Health

In both humans and animals, the gut microbiome—the community of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in the digestive tract—is important for numerous aspects of overall health, including proper digestion and a strong immune system.

Different types of beneficial bacteria in the gut play different roles, so when some bacterial groups are missing or the various populations are out of balance (not present in the right amounts), the microbiome can’t perform all of its important functions.

The result can be a variety of distressing symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, skin problems, obesity, and even behavioral issues.

Gut microbiome testing can give you valuable information about what’s going on in your pet’s gut, reveal bacterial imbalances that may be causing troublesome symptoms, and even show you how to prevent potential health problems before they start.

Microbiome Testing

In human medicine, microbiome testing is increasingly seen as a promising diagnostic tool. Studies have found that dysfunction or imbalance of the human microbiome is associated with a variety of conditions—including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, and depression.

Extensive research now focuses on the gut microbiome as a source of innovative treatments as well as new diagnostic approaches for these health conditions. And in just the last few years, multiple healthcare companies have begun offering at-home microbiome test kits that allow people to learn about their own gut microbiome.

Although there’s much scientists still don’t understand about the microbial ecosystem of the gut, people are seeing the value of gut microbiome testing as a way to gain insight into their digestion and overall health.

Microbiome Testing for Cats and Dogs

And just as there is value in human testing, there is value in testing your pet to find out the status of their gut health, especially if they’ve been treated with antibiotics. In fact, antibiotics are known to cause both short and long-term changes to the bacterial community in the gut microbiome of cats and dogs.

After realizing how many cats and dogs suffered from chronic diarrhea, digestive disorders, and skin issues, AnimalBiome wanted to understand how the microbiome was involved. So our founder, Holly Ganz, PhD, and a team of scientists pioneered the first-ever at-home gut microbiome test for cats and dogs. Starting with a citizen-science project, they put out a call for microbiome samples to study, offering each participant a detailed analysis of their pet’s gut health. And with the help of many pet parents and their beloved four-legged friends, the stool samples came rolling in.

[Your pet’s poop is about 50% microbes. So even a small sample of poop can provide a lot of information about your cat’s or dog’s unique gut microbiome.]

AnimalBiome has the largest database of cat and dog microbiome samples.

Because of pet parents like you, who want to further advance microbiome science and provide better health solutions for pets, we have collected and analyzed more than 10,000 fecal samples from domestic cats and dogs. Out of those, we have assembled a subset that meet our criteria for healthy animals.

By studying those healthy samples, we’ve been able to build a picture of the specific bacterial taxa (groups) we could expect to find in the gut microbiome of a healthy cat or dog. [Link: Learn more about Our Science]

When you send us your pet’s stool sample, we look at how closely your cat’s or dog’s microbiome matches that set of expected bacterial groups. If your pet’s gut microbiome is already diverse and well balanced, it will look a lot like the healthy reference set.

But if not, the report will explain whether the solution is to Add beneficial bacteria, Remove pathogens, or Rebalance the existing populations.

Microbiome Testing

Microbiome testing provides useful insights that no other current test can offer. If your cat or dog has digestive problems, itchy skin, or immune system issues, those symptoms might be related to a gut microbiome imbalance.

Find out what’s going on inside your pet’s digestive system:

Your pet’s unique microbial community.

Using DNA sequencing, all the types of bacteria living in your pet’s gut are identified, giving you a detailed picture of your cat’s or dog’s unique gut microbiome.

 

Imbalances.

If important bacteria are missing, the gut microbiome is out of balance. Identifying imbalances early allows you to make changes to your pet’s diet or lifestyle that can improve or prevent symptoms.

Your pet’s diet.

Each gut microbiome is unique. Different pets need different dietary adjustments to support the growth of specific beneficial bacteria. Food recommendations based on your pet’s individual results will help you make simple changes that can improve their gut health and overall wellness.

Missing bacteria.

A comparison of your pet’s results with the healthy reference set reveals whether your pet is missing any important bacterial groups. The absence may be a result of antibiotic use, diet, illness, or other factors.

Harmful bacteria.

Microbiome testing can quickly identify any problematic groups of gut bacteria. These may be pathogens that don’t belong in a healthy pet’s gut or normal members of the microbiome that have grown too numerous.

How It Works

If your pet suffers from digestive or skin problems, the search for a solution can be frustrating. You’ve probably researched online, switched foods, tried prescribed medications, and bought various supplements. But while many cats’ and dogs’ symptoms do improve in response to dietary changes or medication, other pets experience only minor improvement (at best), or their symptoms come back after a few weeks or months.

Order a Gut Health Test kit

Order a Gut Health Test kit for your cat or dog. (It may even be covered by your pet insurance.)

Collect a sample.

The microbiome test kit includes everything you’ll need to collect a small sample of your pet’s stool. Be sure to register your pet’s sample and enter the six-character ID code listed on the instruction guide or sample tubes.

Send your sample.

The kit includes a pre-addressed envelope.

We analyze your sample.

Using DNA sequencing we identify the types and proportions of all the bacteria living in your pet’s gut and compare it to our reference set. You’ll receive personalized recommendations for diet, supplement, or lifestyle changes to improve pet gut health.

Receive your report.

In about two to three weeks you will receive an email notification when your test results are ready. Access your pet’s report via our online Pet Portal.