What Is Refeeding Syndrome?
Jake, my little chocolate chunk as I lovingly call him, barely eating his broccoli. Not a big fan of broccoli 🙂
A less extreme form of refeeding syndrome results in gastrointestinal problems. The GI tract of a dog who has not been eating much (if anything) for a prolonged period of time simply can’t handle the sudden onslaught of a large amount of food. These dogs develop diarrhea, loss of appetite, and/or vomiting, none of which are helpful when weight gain is the goal.
A refeeding diet should be high-fat and low carbohydrate, with adequate potassium, phosphate, and magnesium. For horses, alfalfa hay is recommended. Initially feed only ¼ of resting energy requirement (RER) divided into six small meals per day. This can be calculated by the formula RER = (30 x BWkgs) + 70, or simply go by the feeding recommendations for the chosen food. Amount should be increased by 1/8 to ¼ of the total requirement over several days. As noted, parenteral thiamine should be provided. Other supplementation is not generally indicated. Refeeding syndrome usually occurs within the first 3-7 days. The number of feedings can be decreased and the amount at each meal increased gradually over the first ten days, until the animal is free fed (for non-gluttonous individuals) or placed on a plan to allow steady weight gain.
Starved animals have impaired immune systems, so shelter patients should ideally be placed in foster care or housed in an area separate from ill animals and new intakes.
I’m Bobbi Jo, a lab-lover who took my passion for animals and dogs and turned it into something bigger. When I adopted Jake and Maggie, my love for them became the driving force behind Two Adorable Labs, and my blog was born. My hope is to not only share them with the world, but to help educate others on the importance of animal health and well-being.
I love hearing from all of you and do my best to respond to each and every one of you. I always enjoy your comments, feedback, and suggestions so keep them coming! If I’ve posted a recipe (for our human and our furry friends) and you try it, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @twoadorablelabs and use #twoadorablelabs.
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