Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Diet For Cats With Digestive Problems, IBD and Intestinal Lymphoma

Q: My 16 year old Tonkanese cat has trouble with digestion. He sometimes has small hard stools or diahrrea and/or vomiting. He primarily likes sea food. The Vet sold us Royal Canin for digestion health. I'm not so sure about the ingrediants. Do you think this is a good choice. (cat doesn't like it) any other suggestions for a food that would help him? Vet says it could develop into IBD. Thanks for your help
Barbara

A: Thank you so much for submitting a question. Your kitty's digestive problems are very common for senior cats. It seems that a lot of cats as they get older develop digestive problems which can include diarrhea, constipation, vomitting and discomfort. Many pet owners try the prescribed "prescription diet" from their veterinarians and the kitty doesn't want to eat it. Moreover, the prescription diets often contain ingredients such as corn, byproducts and other synthetic ingredients that may not be good for your cat.

What is hard for cat owners to understand is why their cat "suddenly" developed these issues. Most likely, the symptoms of diarrhea, poor digestion, vomitting, etc were evolving over time and now as a senior cat, it has become more apparent. What this means is that the general "inflammation" in the intestinal lining has been building and as your veterinarian mentioned, if untreated over time, can lead to intestinal lymphoma in cats. There are medications that can help but if possible and the symptoms are not too severe, starting with some supplements and a diet change is the best step.

The main issue is that you need to avoid poultry, sometimes seafood and most grains. You don't want to use a cat food that contains wheat gluten for example. All of these ingredients are hard for cats to digest and can be big allergens for cats. I am reluctant to recommend a specific brand as many of the high quality diets are very high in protein and depending upon your kitty's liver or kidney values, I would want to make some adjustments to the diet. In other words, if I recommended that you use Instinct rabbit by itself (which can work great for many cats), that may not be advisable for your kitty if the kidney values are even slightly elevated, which they often are in a 16 year old cat. What would be best is to schedule a telephone consultation with a veterinary professional so that whoever is making the dietary recommendation can review your cat's laboratory results along with the evaluation of the current symptoms. Certainly adding some canned pumpkin to whatever diet you use will help add valuable fiber and helps regulate bowel motility.

Dietary changes alone, at this stage, will not be sufficient. It is very important that you also incorporate some natural nutrients into your cat's diet. In your situation, I would recommend using the Probiotic and using our IBD Kit. The Probiotic is highly purified, 3rd party tested and well tolerated by cats. It really helps to repopulate the bowel flora and most pet owners provide wonderful testimonials about how it reduces digestive symptoms and helps regulate their cat's bowel movements. The IBD Kit includes the Probiotic and really helps to heal inflammation and irritation that is causing the digestive symptoms.
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