Objective: To evaluate the effect of dietary supplementation with the probiotic strain Lactobacillus acidophilus DSM13241 in healthy adult cats.
Animals: 15 adult cats.
Procedures: Cats were fed a nutritionally complete dry food for 5 weeks. Fecal character was assessed daily, and a single fecal sample and 3-mL blood sample were collected for bacterial enumeration and hematologic analysis, respectively. Cats were then fed the same diet supplemented with L acidophilus DSM13241 (2 x 10(8) CFU/d) for 4.5 weeks. Repeat fecal and hematologic measurements were taken prior to the return to control diet for a 4-week period.
Results: The probiotic species was recovered from feces, demonstrating survival through the feline gastrointestinal tract. Probiotic supplementation was associated with increased numbers of beneficial Lactobacillus and L acidophilus groups in feces and decreased numbers of Clostridium spp and Enterococcus faecalis, indicating an altered bacterial balance in the gastrointestinal tract microflora. Fecal pH was also decreased suggesting a colonic environment selective for the beneficial lactic acid bacterial population. Systemic and immunomodulatory effects were associated with administration of L acidophilus DSM13241 including altered cell numbers within WBC subsets and enhanced phagocytic capacity in the peripheral granulocyte population. In addition, plasma endotoxin concentrations were decreased during probiotic feeding, and RBCs had a decreased susceptibility to osmotic pressure.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Probiotic strain L acidophilus DSM13241 fed at 2 x 10(8) CFU/d can alter the balance of gastrointestinal microflora in healthy cats. Furthermore, administration of this probiotic results in beneficial systemic and immunomodulatory effects in cats.