Nutrition for the Hospitalized Patient
If your pet is hospitalized here at GVS, Dr. Wynn will assess the level of risk for inadequate nutrition daily. Hospitalized patients frequently haven’t eaten for a number of days before they are admitted, and are sick enough that they don’t feel like eating when here. Inadequate nutrition increases the risk of complications and worsens the prognosis, so we work to prevent that from the day your pet arrives.
Our nurses will offer a variety of diet types to tempt your pet to eat, and we encourage you to bring your pet’s own food to try as well. If your pet still doesn’t feel like eating, we will provide assisted nutrition.
There are two types of assisted nutrition – enteral (food that is provided via the normal route, through the gastrointestinal tract), and parenteral (which is intravenous nutrition).
Enteral nutrition is provided via feeding tube. Please see our FAQ on feeding tubes by clicking here. If your pet goes home with a temporary feeding tube, you will receive detailed instructions on managing it. Don’t worry – anyone can do it!
Parenteral nutrition is provided intravenously, and is used only if a feeding tube cannot be placed. While it is a vital tool for animals who are vomiting, or whose GI tracts are not functional, it is our second choice due to its expense and the fact that complications are more frequent than when feeding tubes are used.