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Feeding Plans for Hospitalized Patients

For hospitalized patients, base feeding calculations on current weight if ideal or underweight or on ideal BW if overweight or obese in order to provide energy to current lean mass. Support anorexic or hyporexic patients by specific feeding techniques (e.g., various forms of food, heating meals, remove E-collars, separate food from litter boxes and pee pads). For animals in whom there are no contraindications, high-fat diets tend to have an increased caloric density, minimizing the total food consumption volume needed to meet energy requirements. Consider medication support, including appetite stimulants, antiemetics, and prokinetics. If feeding techniques and medications do not improve total voluntary intake, assisted feeding via enteral tubes (e.g., nasal, esophageal, gastric) is strongly recommended within 72 hour of consumption of ≤1/3 RER including the time before hospitalization. Because of the risk of food aversion and aspiration, oral syringe feeding is no longer recommended. Feeding protocols should promote the delivery of enteral nutrition over parenteral nutrition when assisted nutrition support is needed. Parenteral nutrition is reserved for select cases, generally in referral facilities with 24-hour care.

These guidelines are supported by generous educational grants from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets, and Royal Canin®.

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