Nutrition: Feeding hospitalized patients for best clinical outcome - DVM
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Nutrition: Feeding hospitalized patients for best clinical outcome
A guide to oral, tube feeding and estimating caloric requirements


Monitoring parameters

Food intake or administration of nutritional support for hospitalized patients should be reviewed at least daily. Body weight and condition should be recorded daily; however, an animal's BCS is unlikely to change during the course of a hospital stay.

Laboratory assessments specifically for patients receiving nutritional support are generally not necessary beyond those tests already routinely performed for critically ill patients. The most common alterations that occur in laboratory parameters associated with nutrient administration are decreases in serum potassium and phosphate levels, increases in serum glucose, blood urea nitrogen and hyperlipidemia.

Even apparently stable patients might develop metabolic complications of refeeding syndrome (decreasing serum potassium and/or phosphorous). However, most patients show subjective improvement in attitude within 36 hours of refeeding when stabilized prior to refeeding.

Most parameters used to assess the nutritional status of patients will not change as a result of assisted feeding during the course of hospitalization. Laboratory parameters (e.g., albumin and total protein concentrations, RBC count and hemoglobin content) are unlikely to change in less than two weeks. The lack of measurable parameters should not be a deterrent to providing nutritional support to hospitalized patients within three days. Feeding patients early prevents protein–calorie malnutrition on the cellular level, which in turn improves outcome.

Dr. Remillard is staff nutritionist at MSPCA Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. She received her DVM degree from Tufts University in 1987 and her diplomate certification from the American College of Veterinary Nutrition in 1991. She received specialty training as a nutrition resident at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and did a research fellowship with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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