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Brain gut-microbiota communication in cats and dogs: more than a gut feeling

Brain gut-microbiota communication in cats and dogs: more than a gut feeling

During the Companion Animal Conference 2020 organized by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association in partnership with the University of Northampton in the UK, our Pet Development Manager Francesca Susca, DVM, Ph. D., delivered a talk about the brain-gut communication in pets. Her presentation was titled: “From the gut to the brain and back: a two-way connection for improving pet well-being.” Here are some highlights.

It appears today that the brain-gut axis is certainly one of the newest and most promising areas of research in microbiota and probiotics and a fairly new one in companion animals. After an update on the central role played by the digestive microbiota in pets’ health and welfare, Francesca Susca highlighted the bi-directional communication route that exists between the brain and the gut, often referred to as a ‘second brain’. She also reviewed some studies highlighting the link between pre- or probiotic supplementation and well-being.

Take-home messages

  • Gut health is crucial for overall health and well-being
  • The gut and brain communicate regularly through an extensive network of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones called the brain-gut axis
  • Several factors can affect microbiota composition and many of them are, in turn, influenced by the microbial composition of the gut
  • Functional ingredients, such as prebiotics and probiotics, have demonstrated the ability to positively shape the gut microbiota

Francesca Susca concluded that shaping the intestinal microbiota with effective functional ingredients appears as a way to enhance pets’ overall well-being and health.

brain gut axis in pets

Published Feb 19, 2020 | Updated May 29, 2023

Pet nutrition