Dogs and One Health

Background for data collection

There are almost half a million dogs in Norway (St.meld. nr. 12, 2002-2003) that live in close contact with their owners and surroundings.

In addition to being an important family member, the dog has several important societal tasks. Good dog health is therefore of great value to the individual animal and to the person who owns the dog. Furthermore, it is important to study the connection between the dogs’ and the human health in a "One Health" perspective; the dog can positively affect human psychosomatic health but also be a possible source of infection, and that knowledge about dogs' health and disease development is comparatively important for studies of human disease and health.

An important indicator or influencing factor for the dog's health is the intestinal microbiota. The intestinal microbiota consists of viruses, bacteria, protozoa and eukaryotic fungi that live in the dog's intestines. This is normally dominated by bacteria that have been studied to the greatest extent. Little is known about the role of the intestinal microbiota in the development or prevention of diseases in dogs. The intestinal microbiome should be examined taking into account the demographic data of dogs and humans (breed, sex, age, etc.), disease status, nutritional intake and medication use. For example, knowledge of the intestinal microbiota in various diseases can provide information about disease mechanisms, which in turn can be used prognostically and possible prevention of disease. Such knowledge can also be linked to data from animal owners to investigate the connection between animal and human health and how environmental factors affect disease development, such as diabetes and obesity. Furthermore, there is little knowledge of the prevalence of resistant and/or zoonotic bacteria in dogs and whether these are transmitted between humans and dogs in Norway, and data sets from owners and dogs together can give us a hint at that.

Available data

HUNT One Health has collected about 1800 stool samples from dogs that live in Nord-Trøndelag and belong to owners who have also submitted stool samples themselves. The intestinal microbiota in these samples is determined using shot-gun sequencing, which provides a picture of the taxonomic composition of the intestine and what kind of potential for function they have; for example, virulence genes and resistance genes. Of these 1800 dog samples, around 900 also have available metadata in the form of a completed questionnaire that deals with the dog's age, breed, diet, activity, area of use and health status. Information about the equivalent data for owners is available via HUNT 4. 

Ongoing studies

Res-Pet: Zoonotic aspects of infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria in pets

POACH: Providencia alcalifaciens in canine gut microbiota; use of HUNT One Health canine population

NORLEP: Norwegian livestock and pets as reservoir for zoonotic Leptospira spp.

Published 30. August 2021 - 13:06 - Updated 10. September 2021 - 1:29