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Companion Animal Practice
Essentials of nutrition in dogs and cats with gastrointestinal disease
  1. Marge Chandler

    Marge Chandler qualified as a doctor of veterinary medicine from Colorado State University in 1984. She is currently the Waltham Lecturer in Internal Medicine and Nutrition at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh. She holds a masters degree in animal nutrition and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Companion Animal) and the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, and a member of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists. Her particular interests lie in clinical nutrition, gastroenterology, and general internal medicine.


NUTRITION plays a key role in the management of gastrointestinal disease in dogs and cats, and it is possible to manage some cases by dietary therapy alone. Dietary components can have a negative or positive effect on the bowel. A diet may contain toxins, allergens, toxic dietary excesses or nutritional deficiencies. It has a direct effect on intestinal physiology, affecting motility, cell renewal rate, bacterial flora, enzyme and ammonia production, and volatile fatty acid content. In humans, for example, diet has been shown to have an effect on the incidence of bowel cancer and, while this has not been studied in depth in cats and dogs, it is possible that the same may be true in these species. This article describes the effects specific essential nutrients may have on the normal and diseased gastrointestinal tract in cats and dogs.

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