Dr Yasson’s Guidelines
General Considerations. These guidelines can be very
helpful in cases of gastritis, vomiting, gastric or duodenal ulcer, enteritis, colitis, constipation,
and diarrhea, but they are just basic first aid principles. Use them in conjunction
with good common sense and your veterinarian’s supervision. Seek professional help (yes, you can
call me here at HolVet, or review these measures with any veterinarian) if the problem persists or worsens.
For individuals who can fast, a 24 hr period of withholding food can help give
the digestive system a rest, allowing inflammation and spasm to calm down. This would mean skipping two
meals if you are feeding two times per day. It is not advisable for all pets, for example, overweight cats
or diabetics, so check with me or your own veterinarian before you start. Do not withhold
water! In fact, hydration should be encouraged with milk and/or broth/soup diluted 50/50 with
Fast. Often fasting is too difficult for the pet, or too emotionally difficult for the owner!
A modification of this idea is what I call a partial fast. This would be to feed half of the usual
amount fed per day. In other words, if your pet normally eats 1/2 of a bowlful twice daily, the total would
be 1 bowlful per day and the “partial fast” would be a total of ½ bowlful for the whole day.
This is the amount that will be split into the smaller meals described below.
Small meals. The small meals mean there is less bulk
for the digestive system to handle at any one time, and the smaller loads are easier. After fasting (or
instead of fasting) the usual daily meals should be divided into 4-8 smaller meals. Do not increase the
amount per day, just the amount fed at any one time. This may result in meals of perhaps a single teaspoon
in amount. You may feed this way for however long the symptoms last. If you return to
regular sized meals too soon the symptoms may return whether they be vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Return to
larger meals slowly. For example, if you are feeding 6 meals a day with good results, meaning the symptoms
have gone, try four meals daily for the next 2 or 3 days. If all goes well and there is no upset from these
larger meals, try 3 meals daily for 1 to 3 days, etc.
meals. The less work the GI system has to do the more healing it can do, so feeding easily
digestible, low residue foods can help. Low residue means low fiber/low waste, therefore less
stuff makes it to the “back door” of the digestive system and the colon works less and rests more.
The patient’s usual diet can often be used during times of GI distress, however it should be mixed 50/50 with
cooked white rice or cream of rice cereal, and/or cottage cheese or mashed potatoes. You can also feed
100% rice/potato/cheese choice with the cheese being a small amount of something strong flavored like grated parmasan.
It is even gentler for very sick pets. Again, as with the small portions recommendations above,
use this tactic as long as needed, and then gradually wean off the bland ingredient on to the regular diet over several days.
Also note that I never recommend grains, including rice, be fed long term. They tend to create inflammation and promote
yeast which creates its own group of GI and skin/ear problems. However, the short term benefits of the palatability, digestibility,
and concentrated calories out weigh the negative aspects.
Fiber meals. Paradoxically, a high fiber, high residue diet is occasionally helpful for loose
stools/diarrhea. It is not often possible to tell in advance if your pet’s diarrhea will respond
better to a high fiber diet. It is only by trial and error that you will know. The regular
diet can be mixed 50/50 with overcooked brown rice. Overcooking allows the tough outer layer to split open
so the easy to digest insides are exposed. This compensates for their lack of chewing their food.
Be sure to add a bit of extra water to compensate for the extra cooking time. Do not try a high
fiber diet unless you have unsuccessfully tried the low residue strategy first.
**Slippery Soup™ / Slippery Elm Tea. I
use this herb more than any other in my practice! It provides superb relief, and has kept
many patients from hospitalization. It is a soothing nutritive herb which is perfectly suited for
sensitive or inflamed mucous membrane lining of the digestive system. The bark contains mucilage and
tannins that act as demulcent, emollient, protectorant, and astringent. You might think of it as a soothing
internal bandage coating the digestive tract for its entire length. Imagine the relief for your pet to
have a jelly-like coating soothing in an eosophagus (food pipe) burned by acrid vomitus, or in an ulcerated colon.
This herb makes a huge difference. It is easy to make and has a very bland taste which makes it
easy to add to tasty things.
Soup™ Preparation and Administration: You can find the herb in a dry powder
form in capsules, as dried leaf in tea bags, or as loose dried leaf in the “bulk” products section of many health
food stores. Any of these forms will do. Do not use the tincture (which already comes
as a liquid in a dropper bottle). It may help in a few cases but it will not have all the healing physical
properties of the brewed tea. The same goes for mixing the dried herb directly into the food.
It will not give all the benefits of the brewed tea.
1. Simple Tea Method. You’ll
prepare this medication just like a tea you might drink yourself. First, put a heaping teaspoon of dried
herb in a coffee mug, and add 8-12 oz of boiling water or diluted broth. Allow to cool. If
using capsules, open them up, discarding the shells, and note that it may take a bit less to get good results.
Method. To get more out of your supply or to create a thicker medicine use the same amounts of
herb and water listed above and simmer for 10-20 minutes.
3. The resultant liquid, once cooled, should be somewhat
thicker than water. If it is as thin as water double the dry herb amount next time, or try the
long-brew method. If it is thick like jelly, that’s fine. You
can use half of the dosages listed below. This makes it much easier to spoon feed reluctant patients! Do
not worry about any loose herb in the liquid. It does not have to be filtered out. This
infusion or decoction will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.
4. Add the liquid to the food at mealtimes,
or add to the water bowl, or give as a treat. The goal is 4 doses
per day, but even once daily will provide some relief. I hate to force feed anything.
But this is one treatment that is probably worth it if you must. If force feeding is
your only choice use the stove top brewing method and aim for a thicker, jellylike consistency so you can administer less
physical amount for the same beneficial effect.
5. Palatability Tricks. To
give Slippery Soup™ as a treat (my preferred way!) you can do several things. You can mix the liquid
50/50 with broth, soup, a favorite canned food, milk, tuna juice, or baby food. It may
not smell great to you, but these soups are highly appreciated by pets! You can also add it to yogurt
or cottage cheese if dairy is not an issue.
6. Dose size (goal is 4 doses per day):
Cats and Dogs under 25 lbs
50 lbs and up
¼ to ½ cup
I. Slippery Elm is a very safe herb. It can literally be a
life saver by preventing dehydration from continued vomiting or diarrhea. It is virtually impossible to overdose, and it can
be used for extended periods of time. However, if you find your pet needs this treatment for several
weeks and the symptoms still reappear when you attempt to wean off or discontinue, this is a sign of significant
chronic disease and you should seek professional veterinary care.
II. I am a Natural Health Coach for people as well. These first aid guidelines
are solid recommendations for humans as well. This includes the Slippery Elm information.
You can count human adults as “Dogs 50 lbs and up” : ) for dosing.
Good Luck! Good Healing!
© 2010 Dr Michele Yasson, HolVet