Feeding the appropriate diet can profoundly affect successful management of chronic or severe gastrointestinal disease. Important considerations include digestibility of the nutrients and the amount of diet fed. The resting energy requirement should be calculated and then multiplied by an illness factor of 1.25 to 1.50 for cats and 1.50 to 2.0 for dogs. As a general rule, frequent, small meals should be fed. The stomach capacity of a cat is approximately 60 ml/kg and for a dog is 80 to 90 ml/kg. Another factor when considering diet choice is food aversion, which develops when the ingestion of food is associated with nausea or vomiting. In cats, this phenomenon can occur following force-feeding, and the cat will refuse to eat at all. Food aversion in dogs may be associated with a reduced or finicky appetite. If animals are anorexic from delayed gastric emptying or ileus, using prokinetic drugs, such as metoclopramide or ranitidine, may help.

Nutritional management of gastrointestinal disease. Zoran D. CLIN TECH SMALL ANIM PRACT 18:211-217, 2003.