DTC approach and stool testing fuel current and future resea

|Feb 21|magazine8 min read

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- NomNomNow, a direct to consumer pet food brand, isn't just dedicated to quality nutrition. It's dedicated to the research and data analysis that continue to improve the health of all pets. The brand's first peer-reviewed study on the pet microbiome ("gut health") was published this week in PLOS ONE. In one of the largest pet microbiome studies to date, NomNomNow scientists analyzed and characterized the bacteria living in the guts of 238 pets in an effort to better understand how these microbes affect pet health.

However perhaps the most significant finding was not in the results but in the approach. This study confirms that using a direct to consumer approach is a valid one, able to reproduce major findings in the field as well as deliver novel ones in a fraction of the time. Ryan Honaker, PhD, Director of Microbiology at NomNomNow and the senior author on the study entitled "Characterization of gut microbiomes of household pets in the United States using a direct-to-consumer approach" adds, "Despite the progress in human microbiome research, pet microbiome research has lagged behind, partially due to a lack of sufficiently large cohorts. As a result, findings in pet microbiome sometimes lack statistical rigor and may contradict each other. This is also likely compounded by the fact that the pet microbiome field frequently relies on the investigation of a handful of laboratory animals. We explored whether we could mitigate these challenges by using a direct to consumer approach, collecting a large number of real-world pet samples, and in a relatively short time and completely noninvasive manner."

Because of their DTC model, NomNomNow has advantages when it comes to conducting research.

  • Speed - Studies and research can be conducted more quickly than traditional research by working directly with customers — meaning quicker enrollment through to completion.
  • Sample size - The majority of research in pet health is demonstrated from using a small sample size (think 15 not 50). Larger cohorts (like the 238 pets in this study) lead to more generalizable and conclusive findings.
  • Robust data - Working directly and closely with participants and their pets allows for collection of additional data to better inform results.
  • Noninvasive techniques - The gut microbiome, which has a profound impact on the overall health of the pet, can be studied by collecting what many throw away every day — poop.

In addition to validating the DTC approach to research, NomNomNow's analysis of customer samples:

  1. Reaffirmed previous findings in the pet microbiome field generated by academic labs.
  2. Revealed novel observations about the dog microbiome — for example the findings that the dog microbiome is highly diverse and can be influenced by geography as well as body size.

"This is just the beginning of our exciting research program in which we're exploring a variety of health conditions," says Aashish Jha, PhD, Head of Bioinformatics and the study's first author. "Additionally, we're now utilizing state-of-the-art 'shotgun sequencing', which will provide even more detailed information about microbial composition and function, so stay tuned."

With more than 15 additional studies underway, NomNomNow intends to power personalized pet nutrition through data and research, bringing a new standard to pet food and health.

Contact: [email protected]

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