Learning About The Microbiome
Access The Microbiome
What Microbiome Testing Can Tell You About Your Pet's Health
In both humans and animals, the gut microbiome is a community of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in the digestive tract and 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, bloating, 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.
What Is 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. Antibiotics are known to cause both short- and long-term changes to the bacterial community in the gut microbiome of humans and animals alike.
Microbiome testing for Dogs and Cats: If your cat or dog has diarrhea or itchy skin problems they may have a bacterial imbalance.
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, pioneered the first-ever at-home gut microbiome tests for cats and dogs. Starting with a citizen-science project, Holly and her collaborators put out a call for microbiome samples to study, offering each participant a detailed analysis of their pet’s gut bacteria. 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 provides 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 advance microbiome science and provide better health solutions for pets, we have collected and analyzed more than 15,000 fecal samples from 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 can expect to find in the gut microbiome of a healthy cat or dog. See Our Science.
When you send us your pet’s stool sample, we look at how closely your cat’s or dog’s microbiome sample 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. Learn how to Restore the Microbiome.
What Can I Learn About My Pet From Microbiome Testing?
Microbiome testing provides useful insights that no other current veterinary 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, we identify all the types of bacteria living in your pet’s gut, 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.
Get to Know Your Pet From the Inside Out
How It Works
Our at-home cat and dog Gut Health Test kits make it easy:
- Order a Gut Health Test kit. - Find out what’s really going on inside 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 two pea-sized samples of your pet's poop. Be sure to register your pet’s sample and enter the six-character ID code listed on the instruction guide and/or sample tubes.
- Send your sample. - The kit includes a pre-addressed envelope for US residents. For International pet owners, you will need to send your sample via your preferred courier vendor or option for our Expedited FedEx package.
- 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 healthy reference set.
- Receive your report. - In about two-three weeks, you’ll receive an email notification that your test results are ready and can be accessed via our online Pet Portal. You’ll also receive personalized recommendations to improve your pet’s health.