COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — Nestlé Purina PetCare Global Research has partnered with the Gastrointestinal Laboratory at Texas A&M University (TAMU)’s School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences to help advance pet microbiome health.
The partnership will be supported by the Purina PetCare Research Excellence Fund, which will run from this year to 2028. The $2 million fund will provide support in diagnostic and interventional research conducted at TAMU’s Microbiome Research Laboratory. The fund will also support the training of future research leaders in the understanding of pet microbiomes.
According to Purina, its scientists and TAMU researchers have a long-standing interest in pet microbiome health. For more than 25 years, TAMU has focused on gastrointestinal function testing, GI pathogens, intestinal microbial ecology and more. The university is specifically interested in understanding how intestinal pathogens can upset microbiome balance and how pre- and probiotics may help restore it.
Meanwhile, Nestlé has been studying the interaction of probiotic bacteria with intestinal cells and immune health. This research has led Purina to become the first pet nutrition company to offer shelf-stable probiotic supplements for pets that support the management of GI conditions and anxious behavior, according to Nestlé.
“In recent decades, scientists have learned a great deal about the intestinal microbiome and its role in long-term pet health,” said Jan Suchodolski, MedVet, DrVetMed, Ph.D., AGAF, DACVM, professor and associate director for research at TAMU’s GI Lab. “This has led to discoveries such as a new way of evaluating the microbiome of individual animals. Through the Purina PetCare Research Excellence Fund, we look forward to seeing how learnings will help us discover new strategies for veterinarians to use in our approach to the management of patients with chronic GI disease and other conditions believed to be associated with dysbiosis.”
In addition to supporting TAMU’s Microbiome Research Laboratory, Purina has also supported a new endowed chair position. Suchodolski has been named the Purina PetCare Endowed Chair for Microbiome Research.
The combined research will help further pet health management approaches. Through the partnership, Purina and TAMU researchers will collaborate to develop new diagnostic and nutritional solutions targeting pet microbiome and GI health.
“We believe the research projects and training made possible through our Research Excellence Fund and the newly endowed chair at the GI laboratory will shape a future where the veterinary profession has safe, novel tools to diagnose and nutritionally manage a range of pet health conditions that result from microbiome imbalance,” said Sheri Smithey, senior vice president of global pet care R&D at Purina. “We are confident this Purina PetCare Research Excellence Fund will yield benefits to veterinarians and their patients for many years to come.”
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