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Keywords:

  • enteral nutrition;
  • glutamine;
  • pancreatic inflammation;
  • parenteral nutrition

Abstract

Objective

To review current and emerging nutritional approaches in the management of acute pancreatitis (AP) in people, dogs, and cats, and to provide a framework for further investigation in this field.

Data sources

Veterinary retrospective studies and reviews, human prospective clinical trials and reviews, and experimental animal studies focusing on nutritional management during AP.

Summary

Nutritional management is an important part of the treatment plan for patients with AP. In human medicine, the general approach for providing nutrition in patients with AP has changed in recent years and favors enteral over parenteral nutrition with an emphasis on early enteral nutrition (EN). Although there are limited data available, there is increasing evidence in the veterinary literature that supports the beneficial role of EN in AP and contradicts previous assumptions about poor tolerance to enteral feeding in this patient population. Parenteral nutrition may be appropriate alone or in combination with EN as a temporary measure in malnourished patients that do not tolerate adequate EN; however, enteral feeding should be attempted first in most cases. Immunonutrition is being investigated for its positive role in modulating pancreatic inflammation and improving gut barrier function in cases of human AP.

Conclusions

The nutritional management of veterinary patients with AP remains challenging. Based on clinical evidence in people, experimental animal studies, and preliminary studies in dogs and cats, the choice of EN over parenteral nutritional support during AP in dogs and cats appears to be beneficial and well tolerated. Optimization of nutritional therapies in dogs and cats including the use of immunonutrition during AP warrants further investigation.