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The effects of inulin supplementation of diets with or without hydrolysed protein sources on digestibility, faecal characteristics, haematology and immunoglobulins in dogs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2007

A. Verlinden
Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Heidestraat 19, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
M. Hesta
Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Heidestraat 19, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
J. M. Hermans
Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Heidestraat 19, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
G. P. J. Janssens*
Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Heidestraat 19, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
*Corresponding author: Dr Geert Janssens, fax +32 92647848, email
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Dogs with food allergy are often treated by giving a diet with hydrolysed protein sources. Prebiotics might also be successful in prevention and treatment of allergic disease through their effect on the colonic microflora, analogous to studies on probiotics in allergic children. The present study was set up to investigate the effect of supplementing inulin (IN) to commercial hypoallergenic dog diets on apparent nutrient digestibility, faecal characteristics, haematology and Ig in dogs. Supplementation of 3 % IN did not affect faecal pH, food and water intake and urine production. Compared with the intact protein diet with a limited number of ingredients (L), the diet with a hydrolysed protein source (H) resulted in an increased water intake (P<0·001), which could be due to the osmotic effect of free amino acids. Faeces production was increased by IN due to increased faecal moisture content. Increased faeces production on the H diet was mainly due to a higher DM excretion. Subsequently, the apparent digestibility coefficient (ADC) of DM was lower in the H diet group. A similar result was noted for ADC of diethyl ether extract and crude ash. The ADC of crude protein was higher in the H diet group, whereas IN decreased the ADC of crude protein. Differences in the ADC of crude protein among the different diets disappeared after correction for a higher faecal biomass, except for the dogs fed the L + IN diet. Total faecal IgA concentrations were lower in the H group (P<0·05) because of lower antigenic stimulation of hydrolysed protein, which implies that hydrolysed protein is really hypoallergenic. The present study indicates that the use of hydrolysed protein diets for canine food allergy treatment can affect digestibility and that combination with IN affected apparent protein digestibility but not IgA response.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2006


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