Understanding the pet microbiome
The millions of microbes in the human body, many of which located in our digestive system, have an important role in keeping us healthy. This microscopic community and all the genes within it make up the microbiome.
Pets have their unique microbiome too. The combination of bacteria in their microbiome is essential to their overall health. When a pet’s oral and gut microbiome is unbalanced, health issues like diarrhea, diabetes, gum disease or skin problems may appear.
We're driving research into the oral and gut microbiome of cats, dogs and horses because the more we understand about the combinations of bacteria, the better equipped we are to:
- Predict future health
- Prevent or delay diseases through new diagnostics
- Better measure pets’ health
- Tailor diets to optimise pets’ health
Thanks to our research, we now know:
- Cats and dogs have different oral bacteria to humans and fewer types of bacteria that lead to cavities. That is one reason why pets are more likely to suffer from gum disease than caries.
- How puppies’ microbiome changes during their first weeks of life
- The microbiome of obese horses is different from that of lean horses
- The kittens’ diet influences their gut microbiome and its potential function, which may help shape health later in life.
Browse our scientific publications
Learn more from our experts about how pet microbiome research can help us better understand pets' health needs.
World-renowned expert in microbiome research, Dr. Jan Suchodolski, shares the latest research on the puppy microbiome and why the gut microbiome has a significant influence on both healthy and disease states:
Waltham Vice President Kay O'Donnell shares why the pet microbiome is one of our key research priorities:
Dr.Corrin Wallis talks about cats' and dogs' oral microbiome - the bacterial populations that form dental plaque and how these are associated with periodontal or gum disease:
Listen in to Dr. Patricia Harris, Director of Science for Mars Horse Care and Head of the Equine Studies Group at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, as she shares how horses' microbiome can influence their performance and overall health.
Whether it be the cartoon series, films or video games, I'm sure you have some, vague, at the very least, recollection of those four fictional superheroes? They battled the 'baddies', from criminals to aliens and evil mutants, while seeking residence in the sewers of New York City.
Ever wondered about the diversity of bugs, or rather the bacteria, in your mouth? From early childhood we are taught that bacteria, feeding off the remnants of our last meal, are the cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
We make seemingly endless attempts to improve or maintain our health, with various dietary regimes and exercise plans being promoted as the best way to keep the body in optimum condition.