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Flippy's Cat Page - Health - Feline Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)




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  • Firstly, I'd like to say that I am NOT a Vet and I am not qualified to give medical advice. This article is just my personal experience in dealing with Feline Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

    Thanks to all of "Flippy's Listers" who responded to my query about feline IBS. I was, gratefully, snowed with email! However, I found the volume too intense to respond to each email, as originally planned. So, here, fellow listers, is my promised response on how my kitty, Emma is responding to both traditional and non-traditional treatments. I hope that Emma's experience may be of help in battling the finicky little pest that is IBS.

    But first, let me point out that I am not a vet or even a vet tech. I am just a cat lover who is dealing with feline IBS for the first time. It is very important that you consult with a vet, particularly before changing your cat's feeding routine or adding supplements! This is only about what has and has not worked for Emma!

    As for Emma, she is a darling purebred shaded silver Persian that I adopted nearly one year ago. She started showing symptoms of IBS shortly after bringing her home. While she never showed any signs that she was feeling ill, she did have increasingly frequent bouts of diarrhea. Through a battery of tests with two different vet practices, she was deemed to be suffering from IBS.

    As for treating Emma, we tried two rounds of Prednisone with no change. We also attacked from the dietary angle, with similar lackluster results. However, we did learn that her little tummy was sensitive to certain forms of proteins. She did best on a prescription diet that contained duck meal as it's chief source of protein. Chicken wasn't ideal for her, nor was rabbit. And forget about seafood protein sources unless clutching and umbrella and sporting thigh-high rain boots.

    Frustrated with the prescription medication results, I started looking in to "alternative" remedies. A dear friend recommended a solution made from slippery elm bark. It has proven so far to be a godsend. (I buy the powder in bulk at my natural food co-op for about 30 clams per ounce....not to worry about the expense though, as you need very little of it.) Almost immediately, there was a noticeable reduction in the amount and, um, intensity, of her air biscuits (farts). Emma's stools started to firm, but never completely reached the rock-hard-party-pooper stage that we had hoped. But oh, what a positive start! The recipe is as follows:

    "Emma's Juice": Bring a bit more than 1/2 cup of filtered water to a boil on the stove. Add 1 teaspoon of the slippery elm bark to the boiling water and whisk constantly for two minutes. Cool and then pour into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. (I don't use plastic because it retains flavors and smells of past stored foods.) Toss in to the 'fridge to store until you are ready to use.

    Since Emma is a petite little pumpkin of only 7 pounds, my primary vet recommended starting with 2 ccs once in the morning and 2 ccs again in the evening before meals. Initially, I gave Emma her "juice" with an oral syringe. But as I found that she didn't object to the taste, I began mixing it in with her twice daily soft food treats. Through trial and error, I found that it worked best to give her 5-6 ccs daily, in a combo of both the soft food and oral syringe methods. Any less and she slides (no pun intended!) back to her runny doodles.

    The next change I made was to add a bit of Eagle Pack brand Holistic Solution for diarrhea, loose stool, and upset stomach to Emma's twice daily soft food treats. This really seemed to get her over the dump hump! Within less than 24 hours, her stools were remarkably more firm, the best that we had seen in months. This product contains digestive enzymes, direct fed microbials (like acidophilus) and inulin, all of which many of your listers recommended including in Emma's diet. Boy did this help! So, at this point in the game, we had solved the gas bombings with the juice, and were getting very encouraging results with the powder. [breaking from the keyboard to do The Happy Poopy Dance!]

    Several days later I called Eagle Pack to tell them of Emma's changes. Through conversing with a company consultant in detail about what had and had not worked with Emma, I learned that they had a duck and oatmeal dry and moist food that seemed to benefit many cats with IBS. I was told that both foods contained the same holistic ingredients found in their Holistic Solution powder. Since duck meal was the protein source that Emma was least sensitive to, I tracked some of the wet and dry formulations down at my local Mom and Pop type pet store. (Eagle Pack is not sold in PetSmarts of PetCos, only smaller pet stores.)

    I have been feeding Emma the moist duck and oatmeal food for her treats, while mixing in a bit of her juice and a dash of the powder. Things are still improving! We have only had two soft stools in the past ten days. [Happy Poopy Dance!] I am just starting to include a small amount of the dry Eagle Pack kibble in to her soft food, having found that introducing her to something new VERY gradually is the best method for Emma. I hope to switch her over completely to the dry food over the course of several weeks. But for the first time in many months I don't feel like a one-legged cat trying to scratch out a turd on a patch of ice! I think, in Emma's case, that we are finally on the right track.

    I hope this information may be of help to anyone else in battling the same situation. Again, thanks for the response Flippy's Listers.

    Copyright Leslie M.
    August 25, 2005


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