With cats viewed as one of the most important companion animals of humans, maintenance of cat health is receiving increasing attention. A recent review published on Microorganisms1 reports the current state of research on how probiotics affect cat health, and the further development and application of probiotics for cats.

Given the increases in the living standards of both humans and their pets, cat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), allergies, diarrhea, constipation, periodontal disease, obesity, diabetes, and other health problems have become issues of concern to cat owners. Antibiotics are commonly used to treat pet diseases, and indeed significantly improve pet health. However, misuse has been associated with an increasing rate of antibiotic resistance accompanied by disorders of the gut microbiota and reductions in microbial diversity that severely compromise gastrointestinal health.

Probiotics are commonly used to maintain gut health and have exhibited clinically valuable therapeutic effects, thus somewhat reducing antibiotic misuse. The intestine is the largest immune organ in the body and plays a crucial role in the immune defense against exogenous pathogens. Probiotics colonize the intestinal mucosa; regulate the intestinal microbiota both directly and via secreted metabolites; enhance mucosal barrier function; control cytokine production; increase the phagocytic capacity; improve intestinal function; promote the development and action of the immune system (thereby enhancing cat immunity); and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

Increasing clinical studies and evidences have demonstrated that probiotics not only improve the intestinal microecological balance, but also made breakthroughs in the treatment of various systemic disease in cats. In inflammatory disease of the feline oral mucosa, associated with microbial dysbiosis, the use of probiotics shows to alleviate inflammation and to reduce harmful bacteria. Probiotics also find application in obese subjects as several studies indicate differences in the gastrointestinal microbiome composition between obese and lean cats (approximately 60% of cats are overweight or obese). In recent years, the incidence of renal diseases and liver failure in cats have increased, accompanied by a rise in mortality. Many scholars are exploring cat kidney and liver health, and the administration of probiotics may reduce the incidence of these organs failure and effectively control the diseases.

Advancements in next-generation sequencing, metagenomics, and bioinformatics are enabling researchers to better understand the complex interactions between gut microbiota and host health, facilitating the development of innovative treatments. Overall, the field of probiotics research is full of promise and excitement. Based on current research and clinical evidence, probiotics will play an even more important role in clinical treatments in the future and may revolutionize the way we treat and manage cats diseases.

Reference

  1. Zha, M.; Zhu, S.; Chen, Y. Probiotics and Cat Health: A Review of Progress and Prospects. Microorganisms 2024, 12, 1080. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms12061080