canine cancer chemo and the microbiome

Healthy Gut, Happier Canines and Companions

With an increased focus on the importance of the gut microbiota (e.g. microorganisms) for intestinal health and the breakthrough research on the microbiome globally, Colorado State University researchers are eager to unveil the parallels and distinctions between diverse gut microbiota in health and disease.

Investigators at CSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences are working to uncover the impact of chemotherapy on both the fecal metabolome (the total number of metabolites present) and microbiome in ongoing clinical trials with canine cancer patients. Researchers seek to characterize differences in the gut microbiomes of dogs diagnosed with cancer and treated with chemotherapy to better understand the effect of chemotherapy on gut health.

Dietary shifts during chemotherapy are common for humans and have had limited investigation to date in companion animals such as dogs. Specifically, Ryan and colleagues have been studying foods such as rice bran and navy beans as they contain bioactive prebiotics and phytochemicals that can influence the function and metabolism of gut microbiota. Since many human patients undergoing chemotherapy suffer from gastrointestinal issues, the findings from this investigation could aid in ameliorating these issues in humans as well as in our four-legged companions.

Potential benefits of this study:

  • Identify the impact of chemotherapy on gut health parameters, namely microbiota and food metabolism
  • Develop potential strategies where nutrition could provide benefits for human and animal patients undergoing chemotherapy
  • Produce findings that aid in uncovering the “unknown” of the gut-brain axis and its impact on overall health

Produce findings to advance the potential for novel therapeutic treatments that decrease reliance on use of antibiotics

Elizabeth Ryan


Elizabeth Ryan, PhD, MS

Jonathan Stockman, DVM, DACVN


Forster GM, Stockman J, Noyes N, et al. A Comparative Study of Serum Biochemistry, Metabolome and Microbiome Parameters of Clinically Healthy, Normal Weight, Overweight, and Obese Companion Dogs. Top Companion Anim Med. 2018;33(4):126-135. doi:10.1053/j.tcam.2018.08.003