Gastrointestinal Diseases and Conditions

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Digestive System (Gastroenterology)
How to feed cat or dog with cancer The pet may lose its appetite while undergoing cancer treatment, and nutritional support becomes especially important during this time. The Journal of Nutrition. Digestion of protein begins in this place. November 26, — What is Causing These Spells? Homeopathy see Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Kawasaki Disease — and see also Vasculitis.

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How to feed cat or dog with cancer The pet may lose its appetite while undergoing cancer treatment, and nutritional support becomes especially important during this time. For example, radiation therapy may temporarily blister the pet's mouth and throat, making swallowing difficult. Chemotherapy may cause temporary nausea, decreasing the pet's appetite.

Surgery on the pet's mouth may take a while to heal, preventing the pet from being able to eat and drink. In these cases, alternative methods of feeding must be applied to continue adequate nutritional support.

Voluntary intake Voluntary intake of food is the preferred method of feeding, however, the pet's lack of appetite will frequently limit the caloric intake. As a result, the pet will not meet the minimum nutritional requirements and some form of assisted feeding will have to be implemented. The first step is to enhance the pet's appetite.

This can be accomplished by warming the food to just below body temperature, enticing the pet with tasty, aromatic foods, and feeding them in a stress-free, comfortable environment. If that fails, other options include administration of appetite stimulating drugs, use of feeding tubes or intravenous feeding.

Appetite stimulating drugs The use of drugs is convenient and cost effective, however, special care has to be taken to make sure that the drugs are actually effective and the pet has indeed increased its nutritional caloric intake. Cyproheptadine or megestrol is usually effective in stimulating appetite in cats. Diazepam is typically used as a short term therapy in the hospital but not often as home therapy.

Metoclopramide can be used in cats and dogs to reduce nausea associated with chemotherapy or surgery. Feeding tubes Feeding tubes are typically used in pets whose intestinal tract is still functional but cannot use their mouths and throats.

The placement of a feeding tube may be either short-term or long-term, depending on the pet's overall condition and nutritional needs.

The pet's overall health and prognosis have to be carefully evaluated prior to insertion of a feeding tube, and the pet owners should discuss in great detail the risks and benefits of the procedure. For short term nutritional support for example after surgery , the veterinarians will typically install the nasogastric feeding tube, which is placed through the pet's nose down to the stomach.

The pet typically wears an Elizabethan collar around its neck to prevent it from using its paws to move the tube. For long term nutritional support, the veterinarian can decide to install an esophagostomy tube or a gastric feeding tube. The esophagostomy tube is placed under short general anesthesia through the side of the pet's neck into the esophagus. The gastric feeding tube is also placed under general anesthesia, and placed directly into the stomach through an opening made to the abdomen.

Gastric tubes are usually used in pets who need nutritional support for more than seven days. The veterinarian will prescribe special diet that is specifically formulated for tube feeding. The tube feeding should start very slowly to prevent 'refeeding syndrome' which can, in severe cases, lead to cardiovascular collapse and death , and if the initial recommended regimen is well tolerated, the pet will eventually receive its full caloric intake in 4 to 6 daily feedings.

Some pets can be managed by their owners at home but critically ill pets should be hospitalized during the first few days after feeding tube installation. Intravenous feeding Intravenous feeding is reserved for only a small subset of pets in whom the intestinal tract is not functional or who cannot undergo general anesthesia for placement of feeding tubes.

The pet's condition should be carefully evaluated to ensure that it fits the subset of animals for whom this type of feeding is appropriate. Finding a qualified veterinary oncologist to discuss nutritional support for your pet To locate a qualified veterinary oncologist in your area who can discuss with you appropriate nutritional requirements for your pet's cancer condition, please visit the " Locate a veterinary oncologist " section.

Small Animal Clinical Oncology. For a full article, please click here. Useful online resources about nutritional support in cats and dogs with cancer Nutrition and Cancer: Nutritional Support for Cats and Dogs with Cancer. About pet c ancer. Pet c linical t rials. Pet c ancer t reatments. P et cancer types. Pain Management for Cats and Dogs with Cancer.

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