Good gut, Good coat, Good dog

Pet Food Supplement, January 2019

Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer beneficial health effects to animals once ingested. Surviving the gastrointestinal fluids is crucial for probiotics in order to reach the right locations in the intestine, where they are most effective. The probiotic Calsporin® contains spores of the specifically selected strain Bacillus subtilis C-3102 that stimulates a stable and strong core microflora. By shaping and maintaining a powerful barrier against pathogens, the Calsporin® strain ensures optimal digestion.


Spore-forming probiotics have the major advantage of being extremely stable. In addition to its resistance to the low pH of gastrointestinal fluids, Bacillus subtilis C-3102 is also thermostable. Extensive studies have been conducted for the numerous EU registrations of Calsporin®. All results indicate that harsh processing, such as pelletizing, cannot harm Bacillus subtilis C-3102 spores. While resisting temperatures as high as 90°C, the spores are more sensitive to very rapid changes in pressure, which in turn limits their applicability in extrusion processes. In order to overcome this limitation, alternative inclusion strategies have been developed together with key industrial partners. For instance, studies in digest application have been successfully conducted. The findings underscore that no matter the form in which the product is stored, Calsporin® spores have proven to be highly stable and viable for more than one year in all kinds of feed and petfood. Thus, the probiotic ensures full activity once ingested by the dog.

Gut health / digestion

Years of experience led to the registration of Calsporin® as a gut flora stabilizer for over 10 animal categories. Mammals, birds, and fish have been the beneficiaries of Calsporin®’s positive effects on gut health, faecal consistency, and nutrients absorption. The main parameter shared by all these species to explain such a transversal benefit is their developed and diverse intestinal microbiota. The microbiota, or microflora, is the huge community of microbes that lives in animals’ guts. By constantly communicating amongst themselves and with their host, the microflora directly contributes to the animal’s health. Microbes feed from the host’s leftovers and excrete compounds such as vitamins and short chain fatty acids. Maintaining an optimal microbiota prevents the development of pathogens and considerably improves digestibility. Recent studies verify this process in dogs, too. Apparent digestibility of ether extract (EE) and nitrogen-free extract (NFE) have been significantly improved, digestibility of dry matter (DM) and organic matter (OM) tended to be improved, and observations reveal positive effects on crude fibre (CF) and crude protein (CP) digestibility (Figure 1).

Faecal odour

Dog owners are often confronted with the odour of their dogs’ faeces. Not only unpleasant, a strong smell is a marker for the release of harmful gases, e.g. ammonia. The excretion of such compounds by animals is common. Concerning husbandry animals, poultry trials have accumulated evidence for Calsporin® to drastically reduce the excretion of both, ammonia (Jeong & Kim 2014, Blair 2004, field trials) and the poisonous hydrogen sulphide (Jeong & Kim 2014). Supplementing Calsporin® significantly lowered ammonia emission of dogs (Felix et al 2010). Moreover, observations show significant effects on volatile fatty acids (Table 1). Beneficial bacteria are known to produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA), while pathogens typically produce branched chain fatty acids (BCFA). BCFA are the fermentation products of protein degradation, SCFA relate to carbohydrate metabolism. Calsporin® induces the combined effects of decreased ammonia and BCFA and increased SCFA, indicating the shift towards a healthier status of dogs’ microflora. Not surprisingly, the odour of dogs’ faeces therefore improves significantly by supplementing Calsporin® (Paap et al 2016).

Faecal consistency

A healthier microbiota directly contributes to better digestion and improved gut health. But how to measure these hidden, internal effects in a concrete and feasible way? Put simply, the visible product of digestion can be evaluated daily in terms of the faecal quality. Conducted evaluations emphasized a considerable and repeated improvement of the faecal consistency of dogs fed with Calsporin®. Figure 2 reveals that dogs using Calsporin® for 5 weeks had less loose and formless stools than controls. Also, well-formed stools were observed in over 55% of the dogs that received Calsporin®, while these were observed in 35% of controls only. Felix et al. 2010 and Paap et al. 2016 confirmed the positive impact. Applying a regression analysis, the authors found that dogs with lower stool consistency before Calsporin® benefit most from the probiotic.

Coat condition

Dog owners may not only assess their dogs’ faeces to judge the gut health of their pet. Seeing and petting a soft, thick, and shiny fur coat provides an additional reassurance. Faecal and coat conditions mirror the health status and reflect the quality of the food. As a matter of fact, the benefits of Calsporin® to ameliorate chronic diarrhoea extend to an improved fur coat. Such a clear link between gut health and general improvement of external features is a noticeable way for the owners to realise direct positive effects on their dogs’ health.


A well-formulated dog food containing the stable and viable Bacillus subtilis C-3102 will be highly appreciated by both dogs and their owners. The highly stable, robust and compatible Calsporin® probiotic provides a daily boost to the dogs’ immune system by constantly maintaining a healthy and stable core microflora. Improved hair coat and faecal quality are the visible benefits of Calsporin® that keeps the inner health of the dog at its best.