2022 ISFM Consensus Guidelines on Management of the Inappetent Hospitalised Cat

A panel of experts has created the 2022 ISFM Consensus Guidelines on Management of the Inappetent Hospitalised Cat brought together by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) to address the problem of malnutrition in hospitalized cats in a practical way.

Inappetence may have many origins and, as a presenting sign or observation in the hospitalised patient, is common in feline practice. Moreover, it’s in the nature of cats that they are susceptible to stress in hospital environments, especially if the clinic environment and handling is inappropriate for the species, which exaggerates the inappetence.

Cats are vulnerable to malnutrition because of their unique metabolism and specific nutritional requirements, and inappetence can significantly negatively impact recovery. That’s why it’s essential to assess the nutrition of every patient and address the inappetence early enough with appropriate intervention. Management is multimodal, comprising the reduction of stress, medications, and assisted nutrition in the form of tube feeding or parenteral nutrition. The use of antiemetic, analgesic, prokinetic, and appetite stimulant medications may restore appetite, but the placement of feeding tubes should not be delayed. ‘Don’t wait!’ is the message: instead of hoping the patient will eat tomorrow, it is essential to act today and improve patient outcomes.

To help clinics, The Consensus Guidelines are accompanied by a complete ‘toolkit’ which includes printable dietary history and feeding tube record forms, videos on the placement of naso-oesophageal/nasogastric and esophagostomy tubes, and, for both caregivers and veterinary professionals, a video showing how to care for a cat with a feeding tube. Additionally, two caregiver guides cover inappetence and tube feeding. These accessible materials mean clinics can direct caregivers to reliable information when discharging a cat with a feeding tube in place. The aim is to provide veterinary professionals with the confidence to place feeding tubes and caregivers with vital information on caring for cats with inappetence.

Check the Guidelines HERE.


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