Gastrointestinal

Beyond Chicken and Rice

What’s your GI protocol?

As clinicians we recognise nutrition as a big part of our patients’ treatment plan and this is certainly true of gastrointestinal disease. Whilst we have the best intentions I often see pets in hospital being offered cooked chicken before a complete and balanced gastrointestinal diet has even been tried. Similarly this extends to the consult room where clients are given options of a gastrointestinal diet or a ‘bland diet’ of cooked chicken and rice. This implies both options are equally beneficial for the pet. There is no argument that cooked chicken smells and tastes amazing, but is it equally beneficial?

Just feeding chicken and rice is not complete and balanced.

Feeding something that is complete and balanced ensures that the patient does not become deficient in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d is a complete and balanced diet – suitable for short or long-term feeding of puppies, kittens, adult dogs and cats.

You need to feed a lot of chicken and rice to provide the same number of calories.

To put this into perspective for a 10kg dog you would need to feed 1 & 2/3 tins of i/d versus 2 chicken breasts and 1 & 1/2 cups of rice! Furthermore i/d is highly digestible food. This means that it is easy for the pet to breakdown and utilise the nutrients. The majority of the digestion occurs in the small intestine, allowing the large bowel to rest.

Chicken and rice doesn’t have the same levels of electrolytes and B complex vitamins.

Remember that i/d has been specifically formulated with high levels of B vitamins and added electrolytes, such as potassium and chloride, which patients tend to lose when they have vomiting and/or diarrhoea. It is also very convenient for owners to have something that is pre-made rather than worrying about preparing food.

Chicken and rice doesn’t contain an optimal mix of both soluble and insoluble fibres and prebiotics.

Remember the little bacteria in the colon? We are learning more and more about the importance of the microbiome and having the right balance of beneficial bacteria and other gut microbes. Hill’s i/d contains psyllium and prebiotic fibre from beet pulp in the canine version and fructooligosaccharides in the feline version. Prebiotic fibres help by acting as an energy source for bacteria. The bacteria in turn produce beneficial postbiotics such as short chain fatty acids, and activate polyphenols which have whole host of benefits to both well and unwell patients. If you would like to learn more about the microbiome you can read about it here.

Having both soluble and insoluble sources of fibre is important. The insoluble fibres help with water absorption and add bulk to the faeces, thus helping with motility. Soluble fibres have a gelling effect and help to delay gastric emptying. Soluble fibres are important for intestinal repair and healing, and some sources also function to bind toxins and irritating bile acids, preventing these substances from further damaging the intestinal mucosal surface1.

Hills i/d contains clinically proven antioxidants

This clinically proven antioxidant blend includes Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and selenium to help neutralise free radicals and support a healthy immune system2,3.  

Vomiting and/or Diarrhoea? Stay ahead of every GI issue with our comprehensive digestive care portfolio for dogs and cats. Check out the table below for some of the key benefits and indications for our canine and feline GI products. 

Next time you have a patient with acute gastroenteritis I would encourage you to look beyond the traditional chicken and rice.

For more information on Hill’s gastrointestinal dietary options please visit our webpage which can be found here.

Dr Bryony Senic, BSc,BVMS

Bryony graduated in 2007 from Murdoch University in Perth. She worked as a veterinarian in small animal practice treating primarily dogs and cats for almost 7 years before moving to an industry role with Hill’s Pet Nutrition in 2015. She works as a Professional Development Veterinarian for South Australia and Western Australia and is passionate about nutrition in pets.

References:

  1. Davenport DJ, Remillard RL. Acute Gastroenteritis an Enteritis. In: Hand MS, Thatcher CD, Remillard RL et al (eds). Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, 5th Adition, 2010: 1053-1063
  2. Jewell DE, Toll PW, Wedekind KJ et al. Effect of increasing dietary antioxidants on concentrations of vitamin E and alkenals in serum of dogs and cats. Vet Ther 2000; 1: 264-272
  3. Khoo C, Cunnick J, Friesen K et al. The role of supplemental antioxidants on immune response of puppies. Vet Ther 2005; 6:43-56

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