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Which diet is best for chronic diarrhea in cats?

Laflamme DP, Xu H, Cupp CJ, Kerr WW, Ramadan Z and Long GM. Evaluation of canned therapeutic diets for the management of cats with naturally occurring chronic diarrhea. J Feline Med Surg. 2012; 14: 669-77.
Dietary therapy has been considered important in the management of many feline gastrointestinal disorders. Low fat diets were for a long period of time the major recommendation for feeding cats with acute and chronic diarrhea. However, a recent double-blinded clinical trial showed that dietary fat did not affect the outcome of diarrhea in cats.

The current study, conducted by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., looked at the clinical efficacy of a new therapeutic diet for cats with diarrhea. Researchers assigned 16 cats with chronic diarrhea to be fed diet X (Hill’s Prescription i/d Feline) or diet Y (Purina Veterinary Diets EN Gastrointestinal Feline Formula) for 4 weeks while fecal scores were recorded daily for the last week on each diet. The process was then repeated by switching each cat to the alternate diet. Diet Y is a canned food formulated to contain high protein, low carbohydrate, moderate fiber (with both soluble and insoluble fibers), and a source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids provide a relative anti-inflammatory effect and may be beneficial in some types of GI disease. Fecal scores improved significantly when both therapeutic diets were fed, but diet Y showed the best results. When fed diet Y, 47% of the cats developed normal stools with dietary change alone. [VT]

See also: Hart ML, Suchodolski JS, Steiner JM and Webb CB. Open-label trial of a multi-strain synbiotic in cats with chronic diarrhea. J Feline Med Surg. 2012; 14: 240-5.