Human Probiotic Proves Helpful for Dogs

March 20, 2018
Kerry Lengyel

Two studies have shown that a high-potency probiotic marketed for people has great potential to support gastrointestinal health in dogs.

ExeGi Pharma, LLC., a company focused on developing live biotherapeutic and probiotic medicines, has made its first foray into the veterinary market with Visbiome Vet—a probiotic intended to help support normal inflammatory responses in the canine gastrointestinal (GI) tract and normalize gut health for dogs.

“Serious gastrointestinal conditions in dogs are often linked to alterations in the GI bacterial community, commonly known as the gut microbiome,” Jan Suchodolski, PhD, DACVM, associate professor and associate director of research for the Gastrointestinal Laboratory at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said. “Visbiome Vet has been shown in a variety of trials to help normalize gut health.”

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Visbiome Vet is the identical formulation to Visbiome, a probiotic medical food for humans that has been the subject of over 60 clinical trials.

“Over the last year we have been overwhelmed by pet owners telling us about the tremendous results they were experiencing using our human Visbiome product with their dogs,” ExeGi Pharma CEO Marc Tewey said.

Visbiome contains 8 strains of live bacteria, the same 8-strain proprietary probiotic blend that can be found in Visbiome Vet. The canine product also contains the highest available concentration, with 112.5 billion live bacteria per dose.

The formulation has been studied in 2 clinical trials published in the past 12 months looking at several canine GI disorders.

  • The first study evaluated the effect of Visbiome Vet on the mucosal microbiota in canine idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), suggesting that dogs with IBD fed the probiotic had increased tight junction protein expression, which means the probiotic may have beneficial effects on mucosal homeostasis.
  • The second study evaluated the effects of Visbiome Vet on mucosal polyamine levels in dogs with IBD and colonic polyps, suggesting that it may have potential antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory effects in dogs with polyps and inflammation.

Visbiome Vet is formulated as capsules, which can be given whole or opened to dispense the probiotic powder. Dogs weighing less than 20 lb should receive 1 to 2 capsules daily, dogs weighing 20 to 60 lb should receive 2 capsules daily, and dogs over 60 lb should receive 4 capsules daily. Vet Visbiome is currently only available for use in dogs, but ExeGi Pharma is generating data for its use in cats, birds, and horses.

“We are pleased to finally bring this high-potency probiotic formulation to the veterinary community,” Tewey said.