Today's Veterinary Practice

JAN-FEB 2018

Today's Veterinary Practice provides comprehensive information to keep every small animal practitioner up to date on companion animal medicine and surgery as well as practice building and management.

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18 NUTRITION NOTES Nutritional management of gastrointestinal disease is a broad topic incorporating both acute and chronic diseases of the stomach, small intestines, pancreas, gallbladder, and colon. As such, this article introduces the types of gastrointestinal diets available to help the clinician decide which one is best based on their nutritional components. TYPES OF GASTROINTESTINAL DIETS There are 4 broad categories of diets for managing gastrointestinal disease: low-residue, fiber-enhanced, low-fat, and hypoallergenic. Homemade diets can also be used for managing disease, but vary tremendously based on their formulation. Low-residue Diets Low-residue diets can be defined as having protein digestibility >87% and fat and carbohydrate digestibility >90%. These diets typically have refined ingredients and are low in fiber (<3-5% on a dry- matter basis). The benefits of low-residue diets are they can speed movement of food through the stomach and ease absorption in compromised intestine. Fiber-enhanced Diets Fiber-enhanced diets may be designed for gastrointestinal disease or diabetes mellitus. Fiber can be categorized based on its solubility in water or its ability to be fermented by intestinal bacteria. Soluble fiber sources dissolve in water to form a thick, viscous gel, which will slow the movement of ingesta through the intestines. Soluble fiber sources also tend to be fermentable and can produce gases and physiologically active byproducts within the intestine. Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water and tend to have low fermentability. Thus, they can be viewed as metabolically inert and provide bulking of stool and water absorption as they move through the intestine. Insoluble fibers tend to stimulate colonic stretch receptors, which can cause diarrhea. Ideally, fiber-enhanced diets would contain a combination of both soluble and insoluble fibers to provide a balanced effect. Too much of either type of fiber could result in soft stools, constipation, or excessive gas. Also, note that crude fiber listing on the guaranteed analysis of pet food labels do not capture the soluble fiber fraction of the diet and may underestimate total dietary fiber (TDF). shutterstock.com/Javier Brosch Diarrhea, Vomiting, and Food, Oh My! Nutritional Management for Gastrointestinal Disease Angela Witzel, DVM, PhD, DACVN The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine NUTRITION NOTES PEER REVIEWED

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