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Identifying the Relationship between the Gut Microbiome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Captive Red Wolf (Canis rufus)

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dc.contributor.advisor Freeman, Elizabeth
dc.contributor.author Bragg, Morgan
dc.creator Bragg, Morgan
dc.date 2020-12-04
dc.date.accessioned 2020-06-02T17:09:16Z
dc.date.available 2020-06-02T17:09:16Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1920/11789
dc.description.abstract Captive management of many wildlife species has proven to be challenging, with individuals displaying health disorders that are not generally described in the wild population. Retrospective studies have identified gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, in particular inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), as the second leading cause of captive adult red wolf (Canis rufus) mortality. Recent molecular studies show that imbalanced gut microbial composition is tightly linked to IBD in the domestic dog. The goal of the present study was to answer two main questions: (1) How do red wolf gut microbiomes differ among fecal consistency scores? and (2) How do red wolf gut microbiomes differ among diet types? Fresh fecal samples were collected from 53 captive wolves housed in eight facilities and from two wild wolves living in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Each individual sample was given a fecal consistency score (FCS) as a iv proxy for GI health. Diet type was of interest due to the influence it can have on the gut microbiome. Gut microbiome composition from each sample was characterized using a targeted amplicon sequencing approach with the 16S rRNA gene. A higher relative abundance of the bacterial phylum Bacteroidetes was observed in samples obtained from captive wolves compared to the samples from wild wolves. Additionally, an increase in relative abundance of Bacteroidetes and a decreased relative abundance in Firmicutes was seen in red wolves with an FCS of 0 compared to wolves with an FCS of 2. In summary, there are differences in gut microbiome composition between a FCS of 0 and a FCS of 2 and among wild, whole meat, mixed and kibble diet types. Findings from this study increase the understanding of the interplay between diet and GI health in the red wolf, a critical piece of information needed to maintain healthy wolves in this captivity sustained species. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject red wolf en_US
dc.subject inflammatory bowel disease en_US
dc.subject fecal consistency score en_US
dc.subject gut microbiome en_US
dc.subject diet en_US
dc.title Identifying the Relationship between the Gut Microbiome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Captive Red Wolf (Canis rufus) en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
thesis.degree.name Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy en_US
thesis.degree.level Master's en_US
thesis.degree.discipline Environmental Science and Policy en_US
thesis.degree.grantor George Mason University en_US


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