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Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume 2017, Article ID 4535710, 11 pages
Research Article

Metabolic Differences between Dogs of Different Body Sizes

1Nestlé Purina Research, St. Louis, MO, USA
2The Microsoft Research, University of Trento Centre for Computational and Systems Biology (COSBI), Rovereto, Italy
3Metabolon, Inc., Morrisville, NC, USA
4North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC, USA
5Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, Lausanne, Switzerland

Correspondence should be addressed to Rondo P. Middleton; moc.eltsen.dr@notelddim.odnor

Received 13 July 2017; Accepted 25 September 2017; Published 26 October 2017

Academic Editor: Phillip B. Hylemon

Copyright © 2017 Rondo P. Middleton et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. The domesticated dog, Canis lupus familiaris, has been selectively bred to produce extreme diversity in phenotype and genotype. Dogs have an immense diversity in weight and height. Specific differences in metabolism have not been characterized in small dogs as compared to larger dogs. Objectives. This study aims to identify metabolic, clinical, and microbiota differences between small and larger dogs. Methods. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry, clinical chemistry analysis, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and 16S pyrosequencing were used to characterize blood metabolic, clinical, and fecal microbiome systems, respectively. Eighty-three canines from seven different breeds, fed the same kibble diet for 5 weeks, were used in the study. Results. 449 metabolites, 16 clinical parameters, and 6 bacteria (at the genus level) were significantly different between small and larger dogs. Hierarchical clustering of the metabolites yielded 8 modules associated with small dog size. Conclusion. Small dogs had a lower antioxidant status and differences in circulating amino acids. Some of the amino acid differences could be attributed to differences in microflora. Additionally, analysis of small dog metabolites and clinical parameters reflected a network which strongly associates with kidney function.