OBJECTIVE To determine the effects of oral omeprazole administration on the fecal and gastric microbiota of healthy adult horses.
ANIMALS 12 healthy adult research horses.
PROCEDURES Horses were randomly assigned to receive omeprazole paste (4 mg/kg, PO, q 24 h) or a sham (control) treatment (tap water [20 mL, PO, q 24 h]) for 28 days. Fecal and gastric fluid samples were collected prior to the first treatment (day 0), and on days 7, 28, 35, and 56. Sample DNA was extracted, and bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences were amplified and sequenced to characterize α and β diversity and differential expression of the fecal and gastric microbiota. Data were analyzed by visual examination and by statistical methods.
RESULTS Composition and diversity of the fecal microbiota did not differ significantly between treatment groups or over time. Substantial variation in gastric fluid results within groups and over time precluded meaningful interpretation of the microbiota in those samples.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results supported that omeprazole administration had no effect on fecal microbiota composition and diversity in this group of healthy adult horses. Small sample size limited power to detect a difference if one existed; however, qualitative graphic examination supported that any difference would likely have been small and of limited clinical importance. Adequate data to evaluate potential effects on the gastric microbiota were not obtained. Investigations are needed to determine the effects of omeprazole in horses with systemic disease or horses receiving other medical treatments.