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Are carnivore digestive separation mechanisms revealed on structure-rich diets?: Faecal inconsistency in dogs (Canis familiaris) fed day old chicks


De Cuyper, Annelies; Clauss, Marcus; Hesta, Myriam; Cools, An; Bosch, Guido; Hendriks, Wouter H; Janssens, Geert P J (2018). Are carnivore digestive separation mechanisms revealed on structure-rich diets?: Faecal inconsistency in dogs (Canis familiaris) fed day old chicks. PLoS ONE, 13(2):e0192741.

Abstract

Pronounced variations in faecal consistency have been described anecdotally for some carnivore species fed a structure-rich diet. Typically two faecal consistencies are distinguished, namely hard and firm versus liquid and viscous faeces. It is possible that a separation mechanism is operating in the carnivore digestive tract, as in many herbivore species. Six beagle dogs were fed two experimental diets in a cross-over design of 7 days. Test diets consisted of chunked day old chicks differing only in particle size (fine = 7.8 mm vs coarse = 13 mm) in order to vary dietary structure. Digestive retention time was measured using titanium oxide (TiO2) as marker. The total faecal output was scored for consistency and faecal fermentation profiles were evaluated through faecal short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) and ammonia (NH3) analyses. A total of 181 faecal samples were collected. Dietary particle size did not affect faecal consistency, fermentative end products nor mean retention time (MRT). However, a faecal consistency dichotomy was observed with firm faeces (score 2±2.5) and soft faeces (score 4±4.5) being the most frequently occurring consistencies in an almost alternating pattern in every single dog. Firm and soft faeces differed distinctively in fermentative profiles. Although the structure difference between diets did not affect the faecal dichotomy, feeding whole prey provoked the occurrence of the latter which raises suspicion of a digestive separation mechanism in the canine digestive tract. Further faecal characterisation is however required in order to unravel the underlying mechanism.

Abstract

Pronounced variations in faecal consistency have been described anecdotally for some carnivore species fed a structure-rich diet. Typically two faecal consistencies are distinguished, namely hard and firm versus liquid and viscous faeces. It is possible that a separation mechanism is operating in the carnivore digestive tract, as in many herbivore species. Six beagle dogs were fed two experimental diets in a cross-over design of 7 days. Test diets consisted of chunked day old chicks differing only in particle size (fine = 7.8 mm vs coarse = 13 mm) in order to vary dietary structure. Digestive retention time was measured using titanium oxide (TiO2) as marker. The total faecal output was scored for consistency and faecal fermentation profiles were evaluated through faecal short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) and ammonia (NH3) analyses. A total of 181 faecal samples were collected. Dietary particle size did not affect faecal consistency, fermentative end products nor mean retention time (MRT). However, a faecal consistency dichotomy was observed with firm faeces (score 2±2.5) and soft faeces (score 4±4.5) being the most frequently occurring consistencies in an almost alternating pattern in every single dog. Firm and soft faeces differed distinctively in fermentative profiles. Although the structure difference between diets did not affect the faecal dichotomy, feeding whole prey provoked the occurrence of the latter which raises suspicion of a digestive separation mechanism in the canine digestive tract. Further faecal characterisation is however required in order to unravel the underlying mechanism.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:22 Mar 2018 13:19
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 14:55
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192741
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPA00P1_131448
  • : Project TitleZeitverarbeitung und deren Einfluss auf Gedächtnisleistung im Gesunden und im Kranken Menschen

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