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Low birthweight puppies experience sub-optimal gut microbiome

Low birthweight puppies experience sub-optimal gut microbiome

Doctoral student Quentin Garrigues, who was awarded the ESVCN Waltham Award for his work on dog microbiota research in 2022, was invited to present his award-winning work at the AAVN’s 23rd Annual Clinical Nutrition and Research Symposium, taking place this week in Philadelphia. His study looked at the evolution of gut microbiome in the first weeks of a puppy’s life in correlation with its birthweight, a work noted for its originality as little is still known about dogs’ microbiota establishment.

Quentin Garrigues, Ph.D. candidate at NeoCare Research Unit, Toulouse Veterinary School (ENVT), commented: “I am honored to have been invited to this prestigious symposium. Our study showed that low-weight puppies had lower bacterial richness and a higher abundance of opportunistic bacteria in the first three weeks of life, which makes them more susceptible to gut troubles. Our hypothesis to explain the correlation between birthweight and the microbiota establishment process could be a higher initial oxygen level in the gut of underweight puppies that could allow for facultative anaerobic bacteria to strive for a longer period of time and delay the establishment of anaerobic strict bacteria that are “good” for the gut maturation.” 

Emmanuelle Apper, Head of Lallemand Animal Nutrition Centers of Excellence, confirms: “In dogs and other animals, Dr. Mugnier, who is part of our team, demonstrated that low birthweight is associated with increased risk of neonatal mortality or some long-term health effects, such as obesity. We know that gut microbiota establishment is crucial in early life but up to now, very little is known about dogs. As experts on gut microbiota, we wanted to see if gut microbiota development in low birthweight puppies was different from normal littermates in the first two months of life, and Quentin’s findings confirm this gut feeling.  

Such findings can help us optimize the use of our products and allow vets and nutritionists to establish appropriate pro- or prebiotic supplementation strategies to give a good start to smaller puppies.” 


Garrigues Q, Apper E, Rodiles A, Chastant S, Mila H. Differences in gut microbiota composition and evolution between low- and normal-birthweight puppies over the first two months of life. Oral presentation. 23rd Annual Clinical Nutrition and Research Symposium, June 13-14 2023, Philadelphia, PA. 

Published Jun 13, 2023

Inside The MicrobiomePet nutrition