Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Diarrhea: dietary

Contributor(s): Marge Chandler, Tad Coles, David Morgan

Introduction

  • Cause: sudden change in diet, ingestion of contaminated/inappropriately cooked food, low quality diet, overfeeding; dietary allergy or intolerance may occur but difficult to diagnose definitively.
  • Signs: acute onset of watery diarrhea - cat often bright but may be dull/lethargic.
  • Treatment: symptomatic management, alteration in diet, exclusion diet if hypersensitivity.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Sudden dietary change.
  • Scavenging.
  • Inability to digest diet.
  • Overfeeding.
  • Low digestibility diet.
  • Dietary allergy Food hypersensitivity.

Predisposing factors

General

  • High fat, high protein diet.
  • Cow's or goat's milk.
  • Proteins in beef and fish.

Pathophysiology

  • Deficiency of enzymes needed to digest intraluminal contents, eg lactase deficiency   →   maldigestion of lactose   →   osmotic diarrhea.
  • Ingestion of toxins from spoiled food   →   intestinal inflammation and secretory diarrhea.
  • Intolerance to fatty foods, food additives   →   maldigestion.
  • True food allergy mediated by antibody, immune complex or cell-mediated responses   →   intestinal inflammation + villus atrophy   →   maldigestion.
  • Rapid change in diet   →   inadequate intestinal disaccharide activity   →   diarrhea.

Timecourse

  • Rapid, often within hours of ingestion.
  • Considered chronic if duration of diarrhea >2 weeks.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Guilford W G, Jones B R, Markwell P J et al (2001) Food sensitivity in cats with chronic idiopathic gastrointestinal problems. JVIM 15 (1), 7-13 PubMed.
  • Guilford W G, Markwell P J, Jones B R et al (1998) Prevalence and causes of food sensitivity in cats with chronic pruritus, vomiting or diarrhea. J Nutr 128 (12 Suppl), 2790S-2791S PubMed.
  • Wasmer M L, Willard M D, Helman R G et al (1995) Food intolerance mimicking alimentary lymphosarcoma. JAAHA 31 (6), 463-466 PubMed.


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