The use of hydrolysed diets for vomiting and/or diarrhoea in cats in primary veterinary practice

Kathrani, A and Church, D B and Brodbelt, D C and Pegram, C and O'Neill, D G (2020) The use of hydrolysed diets for vomiting and/or diarrhoea in cats in primary veterinary practice. Journal of Small Animal Practice, n/a (n/a). ISSN 1748-5827

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Objective To describe responses of cats prescribed a hydrolysed diet with or without concurrent medication for chronic vomiting and/or diarrhoea of undetermined aetiology. Materials and Methods Anonymised records of 512,213 cats under UK veterinary care in 2016 from the VetCompass database were searched using relevant terms for hydrolysed diets. The records of 5000 (90%) of 5569 cats with evidence of receiving a hydrolysed diet were randomly reviewed for gastrointestinal indication, prior and concurrent medication and response after hydrolysed dietary intervention. A poor response was defined as evidence of receiving antibiotic or glucocorticoid treatment for vomiting/diarrhoea at visits after the onset of the diet or death from gastrointestinal signs for at least 6 months follow-up. Results Of 977 cats prescribed a hydrolysed diet for chronic vomiting/diarrhoea, 697 (71%) were first prescribed the diet without concurrent antibiotics or glucocorticoids while 280 (29%) first received the diet with these medications. Thirty-four per cent of cats in the former group and 61% in the latter had a poor response. Cats older than 6 years and cats prescribed antibiotic and/or glucocorticoid for vomiting/diarrhoea before and concurrently with the diet had higher odds of poor response. Clinical Significance Although variations in our observations may reflect severity of signs or prescribing habits of primary-care veterinary surgeons, our study suggests there is merit in trialling a hydrolysed diet first as a sole therapy in cats with chronic vomiting/diarrhoea when diagnostic investigations do not reveal a cause, before resorting to antibiotic and/or glucocorticoid therapy for cases that respond poorly.

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