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Br J Nutr. 2003 Dec;90(6):1007-14.

Prebiotics affect nutrient digestibility but not faecal ammonia in dogs fed increased dietary protein levels.

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  • 1Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Heidestraat 19, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.


An increased protein content and less digestible protein sources in the diet can induce bad faecal odour. The present study investigated the effect of adding prebiotics to dog diets enriched with animal-derived protein sources on apparent digestibilities and faecal ammonia concentration. In three subsequent periods eight healthy beagle dogs were fed a commercial dog diet that was gradually supplemented by up to 50 % with meat and bone meal (MBM), greaves meal (GM) or poultry meal (PM) respectively. Afterwards, 3 % fructo-oligosaccharides or 3 % isomalto-oligosaccharides were substituted for 3 % of the total diet. Supplementation with animal-derived protein sources did not decrease the apparent N digestibility significantly but oligosaccharides did. On the other hand the bacterial N content (% DM) in the faeces was highest in the oligosaccharide groups followed by the protein-supplemented groups and lowest in the control groups. When the apparent N digestibility was corrected for bacterial N no significant differences were noted anymore except for the GM group where the corrected N digestibility was still lower after oligosaccharide supplementation. The amount of faecal ammonia was significantly increased by supplementing with protein or oligosaccharides in the MBM and GM groups but not in the PM group. When apparent N digestibility is interpreted, a correction for bacterial N should be taken into account, especially when prebiotics are added to the diet. Oligosaccharides did not reduce the faecal ammonia concentrations as expected.

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