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The present review will present the recent published results and discuss the main effects of nutrients, mainly fatty acids, on the expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism. In this sense, the review focuses in two phases: prenatal life and finishing phase, showing how nutrients can modulate gene expression affecting marbling and fatty acid profile in meat from ruminants. Adiposity in ruminants starts to be affected by nutrients during prenatal life when maternal nutrition affects the differentiation and proliferation of adipose cells enhancing the marbling potential. Therefore, several fetal programming studies were carried out in the last two decades in order to better understand how nutrients affect long-term expression of genes involved in adipogenesis and lipogenesis. In addition, during the finishing phase, marbling becomes largely dependent on starch digestion and glucose metabolism, being important to create alternatives to increase these metabolic processes, and modulates gene expression. Different lipid sources and their fatty acids may also influence the expression of genes responsible to encode enzymes involved in fat tissue deposition, influencing meat quality. In conclusion, the knowledge shows that gene expression is a metabolic factor affecting marbling and fatty acid profile in ruminant meat and diets and their nutrients have direct effect on how these genes are expressed.
Because obesity is associated with many co-morbidities, including diabetes mellitus, this study evaluated the second-meal effect of a commercial prebiotic, inulin-type fructans, and the effects of the prebiotic on faecal microbiota, metabolites and bile acids (BA). Nine overweight beagles were used in a replicated 3×3 Latin square design to test a non-prebiotic control (cellulose) against a low (equivalent to 0·5 % diet) and high dose (equivalent to 1·0 % diet) of prebiotic over 14-d treatments. All dogs were fed the same diet twice daily, with treatments provided orally via gelatin capsules before meals. On days 13 or 14 of each period, fresh faecal samples were collected, dogs were fed at 08.00 hours and then challenged with 1 g/kg body weight of maltodextrin in place of the 16.00 hours meal. Repeated blood samples were analysed for glucose and hormone concentrations to determine postprandial incremental AUC (IAUC) data. Baseline glucose, insulin and active glucagon-like peptide-1 levels were similar between all groups (P>0·10). Glucose and insulin IAUC after glucose challenge appeared lower following the high dose, but did not reach statistical relevance. Prebiotic intervention resulted in an increase in relative abundance of some Firmicutes and a decrease in the relative abundance of some Proteobacteria. Individual and total faecal SCFA were significantly increased (P<0·05) following prebiotic supplementation. Total concentration of excreted faecal BA tended to increase in dogs fed the prebiotic (P=0·06). Our results indicate that higher doses of inulin-type prebiotics may serve as modulators of gut microbiota, metabolites and BA pool in overweight dogs.
To validate a system to detect ventilator associated events (VAEs) autonomously and in real time.
Retrospective review of ventilated patients using a secure informatics platform to identify VAEs (ie, automated surveillance) compared to surveillance by infection control (IC) staff (ie, manual surveillance), including development and validation cohorts.
The Massachusetts General Hospital, a tertiary-care academic health center, during January–March 2015 (development cohort) and January–March 2016 (validation cohort).
Ventilated patients in 4 intensive care units.
The automated process included (1) analysis of physiologic data to detect increases in positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) and fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2); (2) querying the electronic health record (EHR) for leukopenia or leukocytosis and antibiotic initiation data; and (3) retrieval and interpretation of microbiology reports. The cohorts were evaluated as follows: (1) manual surveillance by IC staff with independent chart review; (2) automated surveillance detection of ventilator-associated condition (VAC), infection-related ventilator-associated complication (IVAC), and possible VAP (PVAP); (3) senior IC staff adjudicated manual surveillance–automated surveillance discordance. Outcomes included sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and manual surveillance detection errors. Errors detected during the development cohort resulted in algorithm updates applied to the validation cohort.
In the development cohort, there were 1,325 admissions, 479 ventilated patients, 2,539 ventilator days, and 47 VAEs. In the validation cohort, there were 1,234 admissions, 431 ventilated patients, 2,604 ventilator days, and 56 VAEs. With manual surveillance, in the development cohort, sensitivity was 40%, specificity was 98%, and PPV was 70%. In the validation cohort, sensitivity was 71%, specificity was 98%, and PPV was 87%. With automated surveillance, in the development cohort, sensitivity was 100%, specificity was 100%, and PPV was 100%. In the validation cohort, sensitivity was 85%, specificity was 99%, and PPV was 100%. Manual surveillance detection errors included missed detections, misclassifications, and false detections.
Manual surveillance is vulnerable to human error. Automated surveillance is more accurate and more efficient for VAE surveillance.
Working canines are deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as part of a National Disaster Response Plan. Stress associated with helicopter flight and the resulting physical effects on the dog are unknown. Our objective was to test the hypotheses that (1) helicopter travel affects the physiology and faecal microbiota of working canines, but that (2) physiological consequences of helicopter travel will not negatively affect their work performance. A total of nine FEMA canines were loaded onto helicopters and flown for 30 min in July 2015. Rectal temperature, behavioural stress indicators and saliva swabs (for cortisol) were collected at baseline, loading, mid-flight and post-flight. After flight, canines completed a standardised search exercise to monitor work performance. Faecal samples were collected for microbial DNA extraction and Illumina sequencing. All canines were on a standardised diet (CANIDAE® Grain Free PURE Land®) for 3 weeks prior to the study. Visible indicators of stress were observed at loading and at mid-flight and corresponded with an increase (P < 0·05) in salivary cortisol from 5·4 µg/l (baseline) to 6·4 µg/l (loading). Additionally, rectal temperature increased (P < 0·05) from 38·61°C (baseline) to 39·33°C (mid-flight) and 39·72°C (post-flight). Helicopter travel did not affect search performance (P > 0·05). We found that α- and β-diversity measures of faecal microbiota were not affected (P > 0·05). Our data suggest that although helicopter travel may cause physiological changes that have been associated with stress in working dogs, it does not make an impact on their search performance or the stability of faecal microbiota.
The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether access to a running wheel increases voluntary physical activity in adult female and male domestic cats. Eight neutered domestic shorthair male cats (mean age 8·6 (sd 0·05) years) and eleven intact domestic shorthair female cats (mean age 3·3 (sd 0·14) years) were group housed for 22 h daily and individually housed during the feeding period. Voluntary physical activity was measured using accelerometers. Experimental design consisted of 1 week of baseline physical activity measurement, followed by 3 weeks of wheel habituation, and 1 week of physical activity measurement post-wheel habituation. Female cat voluntary physical activity levels increased (P < 0·05) post-habituation during the dark period, resulting in an altered (P < 0·05) light:dark activity ratio, whereas male cat voluntary physical activity levels remained unchanged post-habituation. Food anticipatory activity did not differ pre- and post-habituation. However, it corresponded to a numerically greater proportion of daily physical activity for males (17·5 %) v. females (12 %). In general, female cats were more active than male cats. Habituation to a running wheel appears to be an effective method to increase voluntary physical activity of younger female cats. Thus, running wheels might be a potential strategy in the prevention or management of feline obesity.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
A K-band (18-25 GHz) reflected-wave ruby maser (Moore and Clauss 1979) has been borrowed from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for radio astronomy use on the NASA 64-m antenna of the Deep Space Network at the Tidbinbilla Tracking Station, near Canberra. The purpose of the installation is to provide additional sensitive spectral line, continuum, and VLBI capabilities in the southern hemisphere. Previous measurements at 22.3 GHz (λ = 13.5 mm) determined that the Tidbinbilla 64-m antenna has a peak aperture efficiency of ˜22%, a well-behaved beam shape and consistent pointing (Fourikis and Jauncey 1979). Before installing the maser on the antenna a cooled (circulator) switch was added to provide a beam-switching capability, and a spectral line receiver following the maser was incorporated. The system was assembled and tested at JPL in late 1980 and installed at Tidbinbilla early in 1981. We give here a brief description and present some of the first line observations made in February and March 1981. Extensive line and continuum observations are planned with the present system and a program is under way to determine the telescope pointing characteristics.
Objectives were to determine the effects of advancing gestation, maternal nutrient restriction during early and mid-gestation, and realimentation on fetal liver and jejunal mass and energy use in both dams and fetuses. On day 30 of pregnancy, multiparous, non-lactating beef cows (initial BW=621±11.3 kg and body condition score=5.1±0.1) were assigned to one of the two dietary treatments: control (CON; 100% requirements; n=18) and restricted (R; 60% requirements; n=28). On day 85, cows were slaughtered (CON, n=6; R, n=6), and remaining cows continued on control (CC; n=12) and restricted (RR; n=12) diets, or were realimented to the control diet (RC; n=11). On day 140, cows were slaughtered (CC, n=6; RR, n=6; RC, n=5), remaining cows continued on the control diet (CCC, n=6; RCC, n=5), or were realimented to the control diet (RRC, n=6). On day 254, all remaining cows were slaughtered. Maternal liver O2 consumption linearly increased (P⩽0.04) and jejunal weight (g/kg) linearly decreased (P=0.04) as gestation advanced in CON groups. Fetal BW, and hepatic and small intestinal absolute mass, protein content and O2 consumption linearly increased (P⩽0.04) as pregnancy advanced in CON groups. However, mass and O2 consumption relative to BW linearly decreased (P⩽0.001) in the fetal liver in CON groups. When analyzing the effects of dietary treatment, at day 85, fetal jejunal O2 consumption (mol/min per kg BW) was lower (P=0.02) in the R group when compared with the CON group. At day 140, maternal hepatic weight (g) was lower (P=0.02) in RC and RR cows when compared with CC, and fetal jejunual O2 consumption (mmol/min per mg tissue and mmol/min per g protein) was greater (P⩽0.02) in RC when compared with RR. At day 254, maternal hepatic O2 consumption (absolute and relative to BW) was lower (P⩽0.04) in the RCC cows when compared with RRC. Fetal hepatic weight was lower (P=0.05) in the CCC group when compared with RCC and RRC. The changes in response to nutrient restriction and realimentation in both the dam and fetus may indicate an adaptation to a lower amount of available nutrients by altering tissue mass and metabolism.
Primiparous ewes (n=32) were assigned to dietary treatments in a 2×2 factorial arrangement to determine effects of nutrient restriction and melatonin supplementation on maternal and fetal pancreatic weight, digestive enzyme activity, concentration of insulin-containing clusters and plasma insulin concentrations. Treatments consisted of nutrient intake with 60% (RES) or 100% (ADQ) of requirements and melatonin supplementation at 0 (CON) or 5 mg/day (MEL). Treatments began on day 50 of gestation and continued until day 130. On day 130, blood was collected under general anesthesia from the uterine artery, uterine vein, umbilical artery and umbilical vein for plasma insulin analysis. Ewes were then euthanized and the pancreas removed from the ewe and fetus, trimmed of mesentery and fat, weighed and snap-frozen until enzyme analysis. In addition, samples of pancreatic tissue were fixed in 10% formalin solution for histological examination including quantitative characterization of size and distribution of insulin-containing cell clusters. Nutrient restriction decreased (P⩽0.001) maternal pancreatic mass (g) and α-amylase activity (U/g, kU/pancreas, U/kg BW). Ewes supplemented with melatonin had increased pancreatic mass (P=0.03) and α-amylase content (kU/pancreas and U/kg BW). Melatonin supplementation decreased (P=0.002) maternal pancreatic insulin-positive tissue area (relative to section of tissue), and size of the largest insulin-containing cell cluster (P=0.04). Nutrient restriction decreased pancreatic insulin-positive tissue area (P=0.03) and percent of large (32 001 to 512 000 µm2) and giant (⩾512 001 µm2) insulin-containing cell clusters (P=0.04) in the fetus. Insulin concentrations in plasma from the uterine vein, umbilical artery and umbilical vein were greater (P⩽0.01) in animals receiving 100% requirements. When comparing ewes to fetuses, ewes had a greater percentage of medium insulin-containing cell clusters (2001 to 32 000 µm2) while fetuses had more (P<0.001) pancreatic insulin-positive area (relative to section of tissue) and a greater percent of small, large and giant insulin-containing cell clusters (P⩽0.02). Larger insulin-containing clusters were observed in fetuses (P<0.001) compared with ewes. In summary, the maternal pancreas responded to nutrient restriction by decreasing pancreatic weight and activity of digestive enzymes while melatonin supplementation increased α-amylase content. Nutrient restriction decreased the number of pancreatic insulin-containing clusters in fetuses while melatonin supplementation did not influence insulin concentration. This indicated using melatonin as a therapeutic agent to mitigate reduced pancreatic function in the fetus due to maternal nutrient restriction may not be beneficial.
The addition of a CdMgTe (CMT) layer at the back of a CdTe solar cell should improve its performance by reflecting both photoelectrons and forward-current electrons away from the rear surface. Higher collection of photoelectrons will increase the cell’s current, and reduction of forward current will increase its voltage. To achieve electron reflection, conformal CMT layers were deposited at the back of CdTe cells, and a variety of measurements including performance curves, transmission electron microscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy were performed. Oxidation of magnesium in the CMT layer was addressed by adding a CdTe capping layer. MgCl2 passivation was substituted for CdCl2 in some cases, but little difference was seen.
Thirty Aberdeen Angus crossbred steers (281±16 kg) were used to test the effect of finishing feeding system on growth performance, meat quality and fatty acid (FA) profile in intramuscular fat. Steers were fed in confinement (forage:concentrate ratio of 50 : 50; DM basis) or with different levels of energy supplementation (0, 0.4, 0.8 and 1.2% BW) at pasture (Avena strigosa Schreb and Lolium multiflorum L.). There were no differences between treatments for ADG (average=1.60 kg/day), hot carcass weight (HCW) (average=229 kg) and subcutaneous fat depth (average=3 mm). Dressing % (P=0.06; tendency) and carcass ADG (P=0.02) linearly increased with level of supplementation for pasture steers. No differences were observed between treatments for tenderness, marbling, pH, color b*, or cooking loss and drip loss in samples of Longissimus dorsi. However L* increased linearly (P=0.05) with level of supplementation. The concentrations of myristic, palmitic, estearic and linoleic FA did not differ among treatments. The concentration of n-3 FA increased (P<0.001) in steers at pasture compared with confinement, but n-6 FA concentrations did not differ between feeding system. Supplementation up to 0.4% BW increase (P<0.001) conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and linolenic FA concentrations in intramuscular fat when compared with confinement. The level of supplementation on pasture linearly decreased (P<0.001) n-3 and CLA and linearly increased (P=0.001) the n-6 : n-3 ratio. Finishing of steers grazing winter pasture with energy supplementation or in confinement fed a medium-concentrate diet did not affect meat quality (tenderness, marbling, parameter b* on the CIE L*a*b* scale, cooking and drip losses) except for a* and L*. However, intramuscular fat of animals finished at pasture with moderate level of supplementation compared to animals fed in confinement had greater concentration of CLA, linolenic, and n-3, and lower n-6 : n-3 in intramuscular fat.
Inclusion of fermentable fibres in the diet can have an impact on the hindgut microbiome and provide numerous health benefits to the host. Potato fibre (PF), a co-product of potato starch isolation, has a favourable chemical composition of pectins, resistant and digestible starch, cellulose, and hemicelluloses. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of increasing dietary PF concentrations on the faecal microbiome of healthy adult dogs. Fresh faecal samples were collected from ten female dogs with hound bloodlines (6·13 (sem 0·17) years; 22·0 (sem 2·1) kg) fed five test diets containing graded concentrations of PF (0, 1·5, 3, 4·5 or 6 % as-fed; Roquette Frères) in a replicated 5 × 5 Latin square design. Extraction of DNA was followed by amplification of the V4–V6 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene using barcoded primers. Sequences were classified into taxonomic levels using Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLASTn) against a curated GreenGenes database. Inclusion of PF increased (P< 0·05) the faecal proportions of Firmicutes, while those of Fusobacteria decreased (P< 0·05). Similar shifts were observed at the genus level and were confirmed by quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis. With increasing concentrations of PF, faecal proportions of Faecalibacterium increased (P< 0·05). Post hoc Pearson's correlation analysis showed positive (P< 0·05) correlations with Bifidobacterium spp. and butyrate production and Lactobacillus spp. concentrations. Overall, increases in the proportion of Faecalibacterium (not Lactobacillus/Bifidobacterium, as confirmed by qPCR analysis) and faecal SCFA concentrations with increasing dietary PF concentrations suggest that PF is a possible prebiotic fibre.
High-throughput DNA sequencing techniques allow for the identification and characterisation of microbes and their genes (microbiome). Using these new techniques, microbial populations in several niches of the human body, including the oral and nasal cavities, skin, urogenital tract and gastrointestinal tract, have been described recently. Very little data on the microbiome of companion animals exist, and most of the data have been derived from the analysis of the faeces of healthy laboratory animals. High-throughput assays provide opportunities to study the complex and dense populations of the gut microbiota, including bacteria, archaea, fungi, protozoa and viruses. Our laboratory and others have recently described the predominant microbial taxa and genes of healthy dogs and cats and how these respond to dietary interventions. In general, faecal microbial phylogeny (e.g. predominance of Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria) and functional capacity (e.g. major functional groups related to carbohydrate, protein, DNA and vitamin metabolism; virulence factors; and cell wall and capsule) of the canine and feline gut are similar to those of the human gut. Initial sequencing projects have provided a glimpse of the microbial super-organism that exists within the canine and feline gut, but leaves much to be explored and discovered. As DNA provides information only about potential functions, studies that focus on the microbial transcriptome, metabolite profiles, and how microbiome changes affect host physiology and health are clearly required. Future studies must determine how diet composition, antibiotics and other drug therapies, breed and disease affect or are affected by the gut microbiome and how this information may be used to improve diets, identify disease biomarkers and develop targeted disease therapies.
Pet owners desire treats with adequate nutritional profiles, functional benefits, long-lasting properties and an interactive nature. Therefore, it is pivotal to understand the digestion characteristics of treats produced by different processing methods and having variable nutritional composition. The objective of the present study was to measure in vitro disappearance characteristics of selected categories of commercially available treats. In vitro procedures developed by Boisen and Eggum in 1991 were modified to handle larger sample sizes. Treat samples were evaluated in triplicate. Following incubation, in vitro DM disappearance (DMD) was calculated. In vitro DMD of selected treats varied widely. For the gastric phase, DMD ranged from 6·9 to 88·8 %, whereas intestinal phase digestion resulted in a DMD range of 10·7–100·0 % (P < 0·05). Because of differences in treat composition and size, they were divided into six categories: Biscuit, Bone, Chew, Dental, Meat Product and Rawhide. In general, Bone was the least digestible treat category in both gastric and intestinal phases. Meat Product and Rawhide treats had a DMD of 71·5–100 % after the intestinal phase, whereas Biscuit had values above 93 %. Chew and Dental treats had a wide DMD range (54·5–100 %). Understanding the DMD of commercially available treats is important to verify their safety for consumption and potential digestibility once ingested. These data indicate wide variation in DMD among and within different treat categories. This information will assist pet food sale associates, pet owners and veterinarians to make more educated decisions when it relates to selection and recommendations about commercially available treats. Future work is needed to expand the knowledge on in vitro DMD and safety of treats and to further investigate their impact on in vivo DM digestibility once fed to dogs.
The benefits of whole grain consumption have been studied in human subjects, but little research exists on their effects in dogs. The objective of the present study was to test the effects of resistant starch (RS) in the diet of healthy adult dogs. Twelve adult Miniature Schnauzer dogs (eight males, four females; mean age: 3·3 (1·6) years; mean body weight: 8·4 (1·2) kg; mean body condition score: D/ideal) were randomly allotted to one of three treatment groups, which consisted of different amounts of RS supplied in a biscuit format. Dogs received either 0, 10 or 20 g biscuits per d (estimated to be 0, 2·5 or 5 g RS per d) that were fed within their daily energetic allowance. A balanced Latin square design was used, with each treatment period lasting 21 d (days 0–17 adaptation; days 18–21 fresh and total faecal collection). All dogs were fed the same diet to maintain body weight throughout the study. Dogs fed 5 g RS per d had lower (P = 0·03) fat digestibility than dogs fed 0 gRS per d, but DM, organic matter and crude protein digestibilities were not affected. Faecal fermentative end-products, including SCFA and branched-chain fatty acids, ammonia, phenols and indoles, and microbial populations were not affected. The minor changes observed in the present study suggest the RS doses provided to the dogs were too low. Further work is required to assess the dose of RS required to affect gut health.
Dogs participating in endurance exercise, including herding, hunting and racing have a greater energy requirement and may be more susceptible to nutrient depletion, electrolyte imbalance and metabolic stress. The objective of the present study was to investigate the acute response to unstructured mixed exercise in American Foxhounds fed a nutrient-fortified endurance diet. Thirty-nine adult Foxhound dogs (median age: 5·0, range: 2–10 years and median body weight (BW): 36·4, range: 24·9–49·5 kg) were allotted to a standard performance diet (Control) or nutrient-fortified endurance diet for adult dogs (Test). Dogs were balanced by sex, age, BW and athletic performance between diets. All male dogs were intact, whereas all the female dogs were spayed. After 80 d on diet, blood samples were collected via jugular puncture at baseline (0 h), and at 3 and 25 h post-exercise (mean: 17·7 (sem 0·92) km run over 2–3 h). Plasma taurine concentration and complete amino acid (AA) profile, serum chemistry and creatine kinase were measured. Serum chemistry profile remained within normal ranges throughout the study. A significant (P < 0·05) diet by time interaction was observed for calcium, alkaline phosphatase and most AA. Plasma taurine and most essential AA were increased (P < 0·05) after exercise and remained greater (P < 0·05) in dogs fed the Test diet, including the branched-chain AA (isoleucine, leucine and valine). Creatine kinase increased (P = 0·01) after 3 h and returned to baseline after 25 h post-exercise, but was not altered by diet. These data indicate that dogs undergoing a moderate bout of exercise did not suffer from electrolyte imbalance, and that a nutrient-fortified diet resulted in greater plasma taurine and essential AA concentrations.
Extruded cat foods differ greatly in macronutrient distribution compared with wild-type diets (i.e. small mammals, reptiles, birds and insects). Based on the literature, this variability likely impacts faecal microbial populations. A completely randomised design was utilised to test the impacts of two dietary treatments on faecal microbial populations: (1) chicken-based extruded diet (EXT; n 3 cats) and (2) raw 1–3-d-old chicks (CHI; n 5 cats). Cats were adapted to diets for 10 d. Bacterial DNA was isolated from faecal samples and amplicons of the 16S rRNA V4–V6 region were generated and analysed by 454 pyrosequencing. Faeces of cats fed CHI had greater (P < 0·05) proportions of the following bacterial genera: unidentified Lachnospiraceae (15 v. 5 %), Peptococcus (9 v. 3 %) and Pseudobutyrivibrio (4 v. 1 %). Faeces of cats fed EXT had greater (P < 0·05) proportions of Faecalibacterium (1·0 v. 0·2 %) and Succinivibrio (1·2 v. < 0·1 %). Five genera, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, were present in a majority of samples (two to three out of three) from cats fed EXT, but were not detected in the samples (zero of five) for cats fed CHI. These shifts in faecal bacterial populations compared with feeding a whole-prey diet may impact the functional capacities of the microbiota and its interaction with the host. Further research is warranted to determine the impacts of these shifts on long-term health of domestic cats.
There has been a recent increase in the feeding of unconventional diets, including whole-prey diets, to domestic pet cats. Our objective was to characterise faecal microbial populations of domestic cats fed whole and ground (6·35 mm grind) raw 1–3-d-old chicks (Rodent Pro). Faecal samples were collected from neutered male domestic cats (mean age = 5·7 years) fed these diet items in a crossover design. Bacterial DNA was isolated from faecal samples and amplicons of the 16S rRNA V4–V6 region were generated and analysed by 454 pyrosequencing. Faecal microbial populations of cats fed whole v. ground chicks did not differ. During the study, three cats presented with symptoms of infection (anorexia or diarrhoea) and tested clinically positive for Salmonella using a standard PCR method. The remaining cats tested negative. Data were analysed post hoc to test for differences in microbial populations due to clinical status. The predominant genera were Clostridium (9–30 %), unidentified Lachnospiraceae (10–28 %), Blautia (4–19 %), Peptococcus (2–19 %) and Fusobacterium (2–14 %). Faeces of cats testing clinically positive for Salmonella had higher (P ≤ 0·05) proportions of the genera Coprococcus (5·6 v. 0·4 %) and Escherichia (subgenera Shigella; 1·1 v. 0·3 %). Salmonella was not detected in faecal samples utilising the pyrosequencing method; however, there was a shift in microbial populations due to clinical status. The clinical symptoms reported herein may be not only due to the Salmonella itself, but also shifts in other gut microbial populations.