Effects of hypersensitivity disorders and environmental factors on the equine intestinal microbiota.

Kaiser-Thom, S.; Hilty, M; Gerber, V. (2020). Effects of hypersensitivity disorders and environmental factors on the equine intestinal microbiota. The veterinary quarterly, 40(1), pp. 97-107. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/01652176.2020.1745317

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Background: Recent evidence suggests that an altered intestinal microbiota, specifically a reduction of bacterial diversity or a shift in microbial composition, is associated with the development of hypersensitivity disorders in humans, but this is unknown for horses.Objectives: In this study we hypothesized that horses affected by either Culicoides hypersensitivity or severe equine asthma or both show a decreased diversity of their intestinal microbiota. We also investigated environmental effects.Methods: Rectal swab samples of a total of 140 horses were collected and the owners completed a detailed questionnaire about their horse. For each allergic horse, a healthy peer from the same stable was equally sampled as an environmentally matched control. Microbiota in the swabs was determined by assessing the V4 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. Structures of bacterial communities were investigated by means of alpha and beta diversity indices.Results: Group wise comparisons between healthy and allergic horses showed no significant differences regarding alpha (p = 0.9) and beta diversity (p = 0.5). However, the microbial structure was associated with environmental factors such as the type of stable (p = 0.001), access to pasture (p = 0.001) or the type of feeding (p = 0.003). There was also a strong location effect meaning that the microbiota was more similar within the same as compared between farms within this study.Conclusion: Our observations suggest that hypersensitivity disorders in adult horses are not associated with an alteration of the intestinal microbiota, but environmental and/or location factors strongly influence these bacteria.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Equine Clinic

UniBE Contributor:

Kaiser-Thom, Sarah and Gerber, Vinzenz


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




Taylor & Francis




Ursula Therese Horst

Date Deposited:

08 Apr 2020 09:32

Last Modified:

08 Apr 2020 09:32

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Horse allergy culicoides hypersensitivity environment equine intestinal microbiota severe equine asthma





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