Der Hund und sein Mikrobiom - Neue Erkenntnisse über Darmbakterien und ihre Bedeutung für das Immunsystem

The intestinal microbiome and its importance for the immune system

Allergies start in the intestines Reading The intestinal microbiome and its importance for the immune system 5 minutes Next Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) in dogs

Dog owners, beware! Yes, for the 1000th time we're telling you how important healthy intestinal flora is for your four-legged friend. But today I would like to tell you about exciting findings that scientists at Kiel University have made about the mammalian microbiome. The microbiome, which includes all microorganisms in the body, plays a crucial role in your dog's health. In this article we will explore together why a healthy microbiome is so important for your dog and how you can support it.

What is the microbiome?

The microbiome includes viruses, bacteria, archaea and fungi. Most bacteria are commensals, some are even symbionts, while only a few are pathogens. These bacteria perform a variety of functions, such as breaking down food components, producing vitamins, fatty acids, amino acids, neurotransmitters and much more.

The microbiome and the immune system

A healthy intestinal microbiome forms the basis for a strong immune system. Scientists have discovered that in the first weeks of a dog's life, the immune system has a mechanism that controls the colonization of the intestine with microorganisms. This imprinting phase determines the lifelong composition of the microbiome and thus the susceptibility to diseases and the general health of your dogs.

The importance of the first weeks of life

In the first few weeks of your puppy's life, it is crucial that he has the opportunity to develop his microbiome naturally. This means that excessive use of chemical preparations, medications and wormers should be avoided. Contact with worms is not only important for the development of natural parasite defenses, but also for the development of a healthy microbiome.

The long-term consequences

Unfortunately, after the imprinting phase, there is no longer any way to bring the microbiome to its optimal state. Even medical treatments and special diets can no longer make any changes in adulthood. A disrupted microbiome can lead to increased susceptibility to allergies, autoimmune diseases, cancer and other health problems.

The microbiome and veterinary medicine

The microbiome not only impacts the immune system, but also liver function, brain, digestion, appetite, inflammation and hormonal balance. Research has shown that microorganisms have about 100 times more genes than the human body. Therefore, the microbiome is the focus of science.

The importance of intestinal flora

The gut microbiome is the most well-researched and varies depending on the section of the digestive tract. In mammals it is dominated by five phyla, with cats, dogs and humans having similar distributions of bacterial classes.

The dog and its microbiome

Dysbiosis and its consequences

A disruption of the microbiome is known as dysbiosis and leads to impaired metabolic performance, inflammation, reduced nutrient breakdown and reduced vitamin production. Approximately 50 to 80 percent of the lymphatic apparatus in the intestine is concentrated in the Mucosa Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT). Together with the microbiome, mucus and intestinal epithelial cells, it forms the intestinal barrier.

A “leaky gut”

Dysbiosis can lead to damage to the intestinal epithelium, a disrupted intestinal barrier and increased permeability of the intestinal wall - a so-called "leaky gut". This can lead to inflammatory reactions and other health problems.

The effects on various diseases

Many diseases, including intestinal diseases, obesity, diabetes mellitus, depression, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, neurodermatitis, liver cirrhosis, sepsis and chronic kidney failure, are associated with disturbed intestinal flora.

The role of nutrition

Diet significantly influences the microbiome. Various studies have shown how different rations affect protein content, carbohydrate content and fiber content.

The use of antibiotics

Antibiotics have an intense impact on the microbiome. Studies show the negative influence of tylosin, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid and clindamycin in dogs and cats. The use of medications other than antibiotics should also be taken into account.

Probiotics as a therapeutic approach

Probiotics can improve stool consistency and shorten the duration of diarrhea in acute diarrhea. There are also promising approaches for other diseases such as chronic diarrhea and atopic dermatitis.

The future of microbiome research

Microbiome research in veterinary medicine is still in its early stages. Future studies could investigate the use of probiotics in other diseases such as obesity, halitosis, diabetes mellitus, NAFLD, atopic eczema, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

The microbiome and its influence through diet, lifestyle and medications represent a new factor that also needs to be taken into account in veterinary medicine and that shows new therapeutic approaches.

The importance of natural development

A well-developed microbiome is crucial for a stable immune system. Studies show that it can regenerate after antibiotic treatments and other stressful procedures. We should therefore support the natural processes during puppyhood and avoid unnecessary chemicals. Our puppies deserve the chance for greater health, resilience and quality of life.


The knowledge about the microbiome and its impact on the health of our dogs is of great importance. It is our responsibility as dog owners to promote the health and well-being of our beloved four-legged friends by protecting their microbiome. Your dogs will thank you with a healthy and happy life.

(Source: Tieraerzteverlag | University of Kiel )