Pronutro can be fed to critically ill dogs if animal protein cannot be used. Pronutro is a high energy, high protein food that is easier to digest than animal sources of protein. 15-25% of the calorie intake of dogs should be protein while 25-35% of the calorie intake of cats should be protein. In dogs with liver disease the most important dietary consideration is protein. Dietary protein should not be restricted to avoid development of a negative nitrogen balance. High quality, highly digestible protein should be fed to reduce hepatic work and decrease the amount of undigested protein reaching the colon. Undigested protein is converted to ammonia in the colon. It is recommended that hospitalised dogs should be supplemented with 4 to 6 g of protein per 100 kcal and cats with 6 or more grams of protein per 100 kcal. Protein requirements of patients is estimated based on clinical examination and the fact that protein requirements are increased during certain disease conditions such as peritonitis and draining wounds. Providing protein to catabolic animals spares endogenous skeletal muscle proteins and provides essential amino acids for acute-phase proteins and immune response. A prolonged period of insufficient protein intake causes low albumin, poor immune response, poor healing and increases the risk of dehiscence and muscle wasting. Excessive protein feeding places extra stress on the kidneys and liver as it takes more energy to excrete the excess nitrogen.
REFERENCES: 1. Chan, DL & Freeman, LM 2006, ‘Nutrition in critical illness’, Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, vol. 36, no. 6, pp. 1225-1241.[http://www.mdconsult.com]. 2. Remillard, RL 2002, ‘Nutritional support in critical care patients’, Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, vol. 32, no. 5, pp. 1145-1164. 3. Silverstein, DC & Hopper, K 2009, ‘Small animal critical medicine’, Saunders Elsevier, St. Louis, pp. 60.
Metadata assigned by Dr. M. van Schoor, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Companion Animal Clinical Studies