Nutritional management of hospitalised dogs and cats

01 October 2013
10 mins read
Volume 4 · Issue 8


Nutritional support is a vital component of successful management of hospitalised animals. Lack of adequate calories and nutrients can lead to adverse consequences, including loss of lean body mass. These deleterious effects can be seen within 3–5 days of anorexia. Optimal nutritional assessment will allow the clinician to develop an appropriate nutrition plan which will address patient selection, timing, route of administration and diet selection. Early institution of an individualised nutritional plan allows enhanced nutritional management, reduced risk of malnutrition and ultimately improved patient outcome.

Nutritional support is a vital component of successful management of hospitalised dogs and cats. The provision of adequate caloric and nutrient intake is necessary to prevent adverse consequences of malnutrition and to optimise patient outcome. However, in a busy practice, Remillard et al (2001) have shown that it is easy for animals to receive suboptimal nutrition, because of vaguely written or absent feeding orders, anorexia, sedation from pain medications, procedures requiring the animal to be nil per os (NPO) or other factors that impede adequate calorie intake. Inadequate intake of calories and other nutrients can be deleterious to the animal's underlying illness or injury and can negatively affect outcome. The goals of this article are to review how to assess the nutritional needs of hospitalised dogs and cats, how to use that information to develop an individualised nutrition plan and how to best incorporate enteral nutrition into practice.

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