Hospital for Small Animals

Novel treatment proves successful in cats and dogs

Faecal transplantation helps restore gut health and helps animals with severe gastroenteritis.

Faecal transplantation helps restore gut health and helps animals with severe gastroenteritis.

Veterinary surgeons are using faecal matter from healthy animals to help dogs and cats recover from chronic or life-threatening gut problems. 

Pets who received a filtered blend of faecal microbiota – microorganisms found in the gut – from a healthy donor, in a process known as faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), quickly recovered and their gut problems resolved. 

Gastroenterology and Small Animal Internal Medicine Specialists at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies’ Hospital for Small Animals have established an FMT donor bank. The team conduct extensive screening of all donors and faecal samples to ensure that the highest quality of material is transplanted, to increase the success rate.    

Urgent referral 

brown labrador dog sitting on the grass in the sun
Poppy quickly recovered after FMT treatment

Poppy, an eight-year-old Labrador, was referred to the Hospital for Small Animals following the severe onset of haemorrhagic gastroenteritis. She was vomiting, had severe stomach pain, had bloody diarrhoea, was reluctant to eat and had a concerning drop in her serum proteins.  

An ultrasound scan ruled out liver and kidney problems and a presumptive diagnosis of acute haemorrhagic diarrhoea syndrome (AHDS) was made. As well as pain relief and intravenous fluids, the team agreed that Poppy would benefit from FMT.  

Poppy received two FMTs over two days. Her diarrhoea stopped and her serum protein levels quickly returned to normal. She was discharged back into the care of her referring vet with an easy-to-digest prescription food and probiotics. Her owners reported that her appetite soon returned to normal and she was back to enjoying her walks. 

Feline Success  

black and white cat looking straight into camera
FMT successfully reset GIlbert's gut microflora

Gilbert, a seven-month-old British Shorthair cat, was referred to the Hospital by his vet with severe chronic diarrhoea and faecal incontinence. The Internal Medicine team conducted several tests. While waiting for the test results, the team gave Gilbert FMT to try to reset his gut microbiota and improve his condition. 

Gilbert showed significant improvement and his incontinence stopped almost immediately. Tests showed that his diarrhoea was most likely due to a parasitic infection, for which he was then also treated.  

Gilbert was also discharged with an easy-to-digest prescription food and probiotics to reduce the pressure on his gut while he recovered. His owner reported that he was soon back to his usual self and he has not had any problems since. 

Straightforward procedure 

FMT is a procedure where a filtered blend of the faecal microbiota from a healthy donor is introduced, via an enema, into the intestinal tract of a patient, to help restore a healthy balance of gut microbiota. The simple procedure is generally conducted under mild sedation and takes less than 10 minutes.  

Specialist service 

Led by gastroenterology RCVS Specialists Professor Silke Salavati and Dr Julian Dandrieux, the Hospital’s FMT service has established a faecal donor bank that stores material in frozen aliquots.  

The Service conducts extensive screening to ensure safety and quality of the samples. Donor animals receive thorough health checks every six months and each donor sample is screened for potential pathogens and sent for microbiome analysis. This ensures clinicians have a detailed breakdown of the microbiota population available for transplantation.  

We are delighted at the success we have had in both feline and canine patients following FMT treatment. We place the highest importance on screening our donor material to ensure that the highest quality of microbiota is available to the animals with severe gastrointestinal problems.

Professor Silke Salavati  Head of Internal Medicine Service, Dick Vet Hospital for Small Animals


About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies 

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than 800 staff and almost 1400 students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos. 

The School comprises: 

The Roslin Institute 

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems 

The Roslin Innovation Centre 

The Hospital for Small Animals 

Equine Veterinary Services 

Farm Animal Services 

Easter Bush Pathology 

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education 

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.