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Cargill Invests in Technology to Make Itchy Skin And Indigestion In Pets A Thing Of The Past

  • Just like production animals, companion pets require feed that supports their microbiome.
  • In a healthy gut microbiome, thousands of different microbes make up a diverse, balanced system. When the balance is disrupted, it results in uncomfortable systems like diarrhea or itchy skin.
  • As a part of the agreement, Cargill’s Health Technologies and AnimalBiome will focus on product development in the pet microbiome modulation space.


Cargill invests in technology to make itchy skin and indigestion in pets a thing of the past

Producers work hard each day to keep their animals healthy, whether that be the animals on their farms or the animals in their homes. Farmers and the veterinarians they work with aim to bring animal nutrition science to support the health and happiness of their pets, too. And just like farm animals, companion pets need a feed that supports their microbiome.

A breakdown of the microbiome

Just like humans, pets have bacteria, fungi and viruses living in their stomachs. This ecosystem is what we call the gut microbiome. A healthy microbiome helps digest food, protect against disease and maintain a beautiful coat, among many other things.

In a healthy gut microbiome, the thousands of different types of microbes make up a diverse, balanced system. But when the balance is disrupted and there aren’t enough good microbes or there are too many harmful ones, the microbiome can’t function properly to prevent uncomfortable side effects like diarrhea or itchy skin.

There are ways that you can support a healthy microbiome in your animals, but the first step is finding out what is wrong so it can be corrected.

Microbiome testing is one way to learn about your pet’s digestive health and whether their diet is promoting the right microbes. If an imbalanced community of bacteria in the gut microbiome is causing symptoms, it can be restored – typically through changes to their diet, feed mix and supplements.

Utilizing microbiome insights

To help toward that end, Cargill entered a minority investment agreement with AnimalBiome. As a part of the agreement, Cargill and AnimalBiome will focus on product development in the pet microbiome modulation space. Specifically, the company gains access to AnimalBiome’s impressive data insights, and AnimalBiome can leverage Cargill’s research and development capabilities.

AnimalBiome, a scientist-founded company, advances pet care through microbiome research to help vets and pet owners restore balance in the microbiota via feeding recommendations and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) capsules. The goal is to displace these with designer pre, pro, postbiotics. AnimalBiome’s competitive advantage is a robust database of over 12,500 DNA samples from 10,000 individual animals.

“We are focusing our efforts on digestive health and microbiome modulation, and the link to its broader impact on health,” said Jamie Dolynchuk, Regional Managing Director for Cargill’s health technologies business. “In animals, healthy gut bacteria are linked to higher levels of immune response and lower levels of stress and disease, often translating into improved performance.”

Sophisticated microbiome sequencing and databases dramatically improve the ability to understand and improve animal performance. How we manage human health has been revolutionized in recent years by focusing on proactive measures to prevent illness. This same principle can be true for animal production. By optimizing the animal’s natural biology, farmers can take a holistic approach to animal health and productivity from the farm to their companion pets, too.

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