Give diet trials time to talk'

May 31, 2017
Sarah Mouton Dowdy
Sarah Mouton Dowdy

Sarah Mouton Dowdy, a former associate content specialist for, is a freelance writer and editor in Kansas City, Missouri.

Is your veterinary team correctly measuring success when it comes to diet modification trials for chronic enteropathies?

Illustration by Sarah Mouton DowdyA recent article on chronic enteropathies details how CVC educator Craig Ruaux, BVSc (Hons), PhD, MACVSc, DACVIM-SA, treats nonspecific inflammation patients. It's a five-step process, and step three involves ruling out food-responsive enteropathy by instituting a diet modification trial. Dr. Ruaux says that if there's no improvement after two weeks, it's unlikely the animal will respond.

However, it matters when you start counting that two weeks, says Dr. Ruaux.

“As a point of clarity, it's 14 days from when the pet is on the diet exclusively,” he says.

In other words, don't count the time the pet is still in transition.

Dr. Ruaux also notes that cats are particularly “strange creatures” when it comes to diet trials.

“Cats with signs of chronic gastrointestinal disease will often show improvement for 24 to 48 hours after a diet change, regardless of what you've done, and then they'll start to deteriorate again,” he says. “So if the cat has a normal poop within the first 24 to 48 hours, that doesn't necessarily mean you had a diet-responsive disease of short duration. It's just what cats do.”

Want to hear Dr. Ruaux's advice in his own words (and Australian accent)? Check out the audio below: