• assisted feeding;
  • canine;
  • energy intake;
  • feline


Objective – Investigate the effects of assisted nutritional support on hospital outcome in dogs and cats, and the relationship between hospital outcome and energy intake, body condition score (BCS), physical status score, and type of nutritional support used.

Design – Retrospective analysis of hospitalized animals.

Setting – Teaching Veterinary Hospital.

Animals – Four hundred and sixty-seven dogs and 55 cats.

Interventions – Routine clinical nutritional support.

Measurements and Main Results – The following variables were recorded for each animal: energy intake, body weight at admission and discharge, BCS, physical status score, and type of nutritional support used. Disease severity was negatively associated with hospital outcome and energy intake (P=0.009). Energy intake was positively associated with hospital discharge (P<0.001). Outcome may be related to BCS, with discharge rates of 73% for animals with low BCS, and 84.7% for those at an ideal BCS or overweight (P=0.04). Sixty-four percent of animals showed voluntary food intake (92.9% were discharged), 19.0% received enteral support (71.8% were discharged), 7.0% were forced fed (75.0% were discharged), 6.0% received parenteral support (61.9% were discharged), and 4.0% did not receive calories (38.4% were discharged), suggesting a possible relationship between the type of nutritional support, energy intake, and outcome (P=0.009).

Conclusions – Energy supply, even if modest and close to resting energy requirements appears to be positively associated with hospital discharge. However, disease severity was the main negative factor on outcome and also had a negative effect on energy intake, making it difficult to separate the effects of both factors when interpreting hospital discharge. Thin animals with low BCS had greater mortality.