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Putting microbiome science in the forefront of GI issues



Have you been wondering why the word microbiome has been increasingly popular in recent years in both human and veterinary medicine? This is because scientists began to uncover that the microbes living on and in the body are not just a random cluster of germs originating from the environment that can make an individual sick. Nor are the gut microbes only important to herbivores to help them extract the energy from food.  In fact, the gut microbiome is a living ecosystem of commensal microorganisms that provides lots of benefits to every mammal from maintaining gut health to regulating distant organs. In return, the mammalian host (dog or cat) provides the microbiota with nutrients and stable environment.

The exact population of microorganisms is unique to each host. These bacteria are functionally and composition-ally diverse, allowing contribution to energy homeostasis, metabolism, gut epithelial cell health, and immunologic activity. This population is not static and can change due to medications such as antibiotics, disease, environmental factors, and dietary influences. It is common to see dysbiosis (an imbalance in the gastrointestinal microbiome) in chronic GI disease in cats and dogs.


Hill’s Pet Nutrition is among the pet food industry’s foremost leaders in this area with more than a decade of research into how the right nutrition can optimise the GI microbiome.  We know that incorporating a carefully selected blend of fibre rich ingredients can both support and nourish the microbiome helping to restore balance to the existing gut ‘ecosystem’. The result is our new first-of-its-kind nutritional innovation to focus on microbiome health, Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome with ActivBiome+ technology.

how big is the gut microbiota of dogs and cats?

ActivBiome+ technology is a proprietary blend of active fibres shown to nourish the gastrointestinal microbiome, increasing the number and diversity of function of beneficial bacteria helping them to outcompete pathogenic bacteria.  These beneficial bacteria in turn produce gut-nourishing short chain fatty acids and release and activate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols providing a practical and long-lasting strategy to maintain a healthy balance of gut microflora and promote overall health. With Hill’s Gastrointestinal Biome you can feed the pet and it’s microbiome with every single meal!

ActivBiome+ technology

There are many indications for Hill’s Gastrointestinal Biome including acute and chronic colitis, constipation, diarrhoea, chronic enteropathy (fibre-responsive, antibiotic responsive and immunosuppressive responsive), stress diarrhoea and megacolon (responsive to fibre) in cats.


Hill’s Gastrointestinal Biome, has been studied in healthy dogs and cats and those with naturally occurring gastrointestinal disease.  An eight week prospective multi-centre study looked at the effect of feeding Gastrointestinal Biome to  client-owned dogs with a history of chronic colitis that were currently experiencing an episode at the time of enrolment from private veterinary practices across the USA2. There was a significant improvement in veterinarian-reported stool quality in these dogs within in as little as 24 hours and NONE of the dogs had a recurrence of diarrhoea whilst being fed Gastrointestinal Biome for the duration of the eight week study2.

limited future episodes in dogs

Hill’s Gastrointestinal Biome revolutionises the way we address fibre-responsive GI issues in the following ways:

  • Nourishes and activates gut microbiome to support digestive health and well-being in dogs and cats3,4
  • Resolves diarrhoea in dogs within as little as 24 hours and limits future episodes of diarrhoea in 100% of dogs2
  • Promotes regular healthy stools in cats

Dr Delisa Appleton BVSc (Hons) PhD. Professional Consulting Veterinarian, Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Delisa graduated from the University of Queensland with honours in 1987 after which she worked in mixed and small animal veterinary practice for 7 years before commencing work in the nutrition industry.  She then returned to the University of Queensland in 1999 to undertake research with Prof. Jacquie Rand into nutritional aspects of obesity and diabetes in cats She has had numerous papers and reviews published and was awarded a PhD in nutrition in 2004.

Dr Delisa Appleton


  1. Suchodolski JS. Companion animals symposium: microbes and gastrointestinal health of dogs and cats. J Anim Sci 2011;89:1520-1530.
  2. Hill’s data on file, 2018. 8-week clinical study evaluating dogs with chronic diarrhoea.
  3. Hill’s data on file, 2018. Clinical study on microbiome changes in dogs.
  4. Hill’s data on file 2018. Clinical study on microbiome changes in cats.