Dietary therapy is an important part of any treatment plan for pets with inflammatory bowel disease in addition to other conventional or complementary therapies. Avoiding foods which exacerbate the bowel inflammation is important.
Severe inflammation of the intestinal tract can cause increased absorption of large food particles that normally do not cross the intestinal barrier possibly causing the formation of auto-antibodies, which may lead to autoimmune diseases and further intestinal damage. Bacteria and yeast may overgrow in the intestines of pets with chronic gastrointestinal disease and who are treated for extended periods of time with antibiotics; and may contribute through toxin formation to leak guy syndrome and food allergies or hypersensitivities. Many of these pets may require chronic therapy with medications and or natural supplements. Dietary therapy is quite helpful in these pets and when combined with appropriate supplements in pets with mild disease, may be the only therapy needed.
The diet for pets with gastrointestinal disease should contain highly digestible nutrients. The typical diet is low in fat, contains hypoallergenic and easily digestible carbohydrate and protein sources. Diets requiring minimal digestion reduce digestive enzyme production protecting the intestinal tract. Excess fat aggravates diarrhea; excess dietary sugars and glutens are not easily digested in pets with gastrointestinal disease. Fiber may be added during the recovery stage if needed to allow continued healing or to prevent diarrhea in pets with chronic gastroenteritis; potatoes and vegetables serve as healthful, natural sources of fiber.
Boiled white rice, which is highly digestible, is the recommended carbohydrate source. Alternatively, tapioca or potatoes can be used if pets cannot tolerate rice, which is rare, or if they will not eat rice-based diets. Glutenbased grains can cause persistent diarrhea due to gluten sensitivity and are not recommended.
Proteins that are highly digestible and have a high biological value, such as cottage cheese or tofu, are recommended. Cottage cheese is easily digested and most pets do not have milk protein allergies. Meat can also be tried, although some pets may lose tolerance to meat and develop a temporary sensitivity to meat during injury to the intestinal tract cause by vomiting or diarrhea. Additionally, meat stimulates more acid to be secreted in the stomach than tofu. If meat is to be fed, low-fat beef or preferably chicken or turkey can be tried.
Diet For Dogs With Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Dogs with gastrointestinal disease need diets with highly digestible protein that are also low in fat. Low-fat cottage cheese (1/2 to 2/3 cup) is used to provide protein (tofu with 1/8 tsp of added salt can be used if the dog refuses cottage cheese).
Brown or white rice (2 cups) is an easily digestible carbohydrate source (boiled or baked potatoes can be tried if the dog refuses rice). Potassium can be added using supplements such as Tumil-K (available through veterinarians) or by adding 1/4-1/2 tsp of salt supplement.
This diet would provide approximately 500 kcal with 27 grams of protein and two grams of fat.
Include, two to three bonemeal tablets (10 grain or equivalent) or 3/4 teaspoon of bonemeal powder to supply calcium and phosphorus, with a multi-vitamin mineral supplement using the label instructions is added as the pet improves.
Alternatively, a natural product from Standard Process (1 Calcifood Wafers or 2 Calcium Lactate with each 2 bonemeal tablets) can be used.
When possible, natural vitamins made from raw whole foods, rather than synthetic vitamins (although both can be used in combination) are preferred, as the natural vitamins also supply plant phytochemicals, enzymes, and other nutrients not found in chemically-synthesized vitamins. Catalyn from Standard Process can be used in this recipe, at a dose of 1 Catalyn per 25 pounds; Canine Plus (VetriScience) could also be used following label dosages.
Fresh, raw or slightly steamed vegetables can be used as a top dressing for the diet for extra nutrition and variety as the pet improves. Most vegetables provide approximately 25 kcal per 1/2 cup.In general, the above recipe supplies the daily nutritional and calorie needs for a 12-13 pound dog. The actual amount to feed will vary based upon the pet's weight.
Diet For Cats
Cats with gastrointestinal disease can do well with slight variations to this basic diet.
1/3 to 1/2 pound ground meat (turkey, chicken, lamb, beef )
1/2 to 1 large hard-boiled egg
1/8 teaspoon salt substitute
100 mg taurine
You may add 1/4 to 1/2 cup brown or white rice. You may also prefer to use Tumil-K instead of a salt supplement.
This diet provides approximately 275 kcal with 30 grams of protein and 16 grams fat.
One to two bonemeal tablets (10 grain or equivalent) or 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of bonemeal powder to supply calcium and phosphorus with a multi-vitamin mineral supplement using label instructions is added as the pet improves. Alternatively, you may use 1 Calcifood Wafer or 2 Calcium Lactate tablets for each two bonemeal tablets.
When possible use natural vitamins made from raw whole foods, rather than synthetic vitamins. Or a combination of both. Catalyn can be used as the natural vitamin, at a dose of 1 Catalyn per 10 pounds. NuCat (VetriScience) could also be used following label dosages.Fresh, raw or slightly steamed vegetables can be used as a top dressing. Most provide approximately 25 kcal per 1/2 cup, although most cats will not eat vegetables. In general, the above recipe supplies the daily nutritional and calorie needs for a 9.10 pound cat.
NOTE: Before you start to feed your dog or cat a home-prepared diet, it is strongly recommended you discuss your decision with your veterinarian or a holistic vet in your area.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease And Diarrhea In Pets Part 2
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Shawn Messonnier, DVM
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Shawn Messonnier DVM Past Supporting Member, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians Author, the award-winning The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle!
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