Dear Dr. Smith,
I have a 13 year old, spayed, female cat that is currently eating Science Diet i/d. She’s been diagnosed with IBD but currently no thickening can be felt on palpation by two different vets. No sonogram or biopsy done, but almost every other diagnosis has been ruled out. She is currently on Gastriplex and a chinese formula (called San Ren Tang).
I have added Gastriplex (this has helped a great deal) and saw a holistic vet locally who recommended a chinese herbal blend. She (my cat) hates the herbs and isn’t crazy about the food. She is losing weight again.
The IBD flare up prompted me to put her on the Gastriplex (so she’s been on it around 3 weeks now and it has helped) and she’s been on the herbs a few days. The herbs are helping a great deal with the diarrhea.
However, the local holistic vet’s solution for her beyond the herbs is an expensive “allergy” probe and then treatments with acupuncture to “cure” her of the allergies. I agree with her on many other things, but to spend the amount of money this test is difficult.
She itches and flicks her ears a lot. They look clear and the only thing I noticed is they look a little wetter/oilier than my other cats.
I feel paralyzed to do anything with the food/etc. as changing foods is a bit scary, cause if it causes the IBD to flare than she starts doing her business in other parts of the house and not the litter box. However, I want her to eat more, since she’s not liking this food, and she clearly still has allergies issues.. So any guidance would be great.
I am willing to make her food, but not so sure about a raw diet. I bought the digestive enzymes you had recommended to another patient on the blog, but haven’t included that yet. The only other option beyond the expensive allergy tests by our conventional vet is steroids..which I really want to avoid.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated I have read a number of your other posts and you sound like a really good vet. I look forward to seeing your thoughts. Many thanks! TC
Thanks for your inquiry to Holistic Pet Info. Since the allergy test is expensive and it generally isn’t that dependable for food sensitivities, I would spend effort and time on the diet. The cat needs to eat no matter what so finding an optimal diet is key.
For an IBD cat I would not offer dry food at all as carbohydrates are not ideal for carnivorous felines. There are commercial diets you may try that may be appropriate and she may like. “Primal” which is a frozen raw diet is highly palatable for many of my feline patients. “The Honest Kitchen” and “Sojos” are dehydrated raw diets that are also very good diets. Cats will reject a diet if it is changed too fast so cat diets must be very slowly changed. This means barely adding the new food to the old food over the course of 2-4 weeks may be the best way to reduce the chance of an IBD flare-up. The dehydrated diets also make it easy to mix/hide the herbs into the food.
Changing the diet is a tough trial period because some respond better with increased fiber (canned pumpkin) and additional probiotics. So, anything added to the diet supplementally must also be slowly introduced. Always add one thing at a time, so if there is a problem you know what caused it. Continue the Gastriplex, it will help with the diet changes. If you have the chance I would still try acupuncture as it has so many overall positive effects. Best of luck.
Colleen Smith DVM, CVA, CVCP