The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence of positive fecal occult blood testing in cats fed veterinary prescribed gastrointestinal formulated diets. Fecal occult blood testing identifies microscopic blood in the stool. Trace bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract can occur from pathologies such as gastrointestinal lymphoma, chronic enteropathies, and gastric ulcers/erosions. Guaiac-based fecal occult blood testing (gFOBT) relies on heme peroxidase activity. It is widely used in human medicine as a non-invasive and inexpensive diagnostic tool. For veterinary patients, gFOBT has been presumed to cross-react with dietary peroxidases but has been incompletely researched, especially in cats.
Eleven clinically healthy, indoor-only cats aged 1-8 years old were initially fed their normal diets, then transitionally fed 2 gastrointestinal diets over a 7-week period: hydrolyzed protein Purina HA diet® and gastroenteric Purina EN diet®. Two fecal samples were tested per cat each week using human point-of-care Hemoccult® tests.
Two cats produced positive stool samples during the first 2 weeks of the study when fed their normal, liver-based diet and when mixed with the HA diet. Stool from a single cat fed the canned EN diet, containing liver (unlike the dry form), produced positive results during weeks 4, 5, and 6 of the study. Additionally, 2 other cats produced positive stool results during week 4 when fed mixed HA/EN diets. This study suggests that dietary protein sources can interfere with feline gFOBT, especially when there is liver in the diet. Additionally, it suggests that gFOBT should occur 1 week following a diet change to a gastrointestinal formulated diet to avoid potential transitional diet inference.
4th-year Veterinary Student
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Kate Spies is a fourth-year veterinary student at Washington State Univeristy College of Veterinary Medicine. She is a research assistant in the Dr. Jennifer Slovak's lab, exploring the efficacy of feline fecal occult blood testing. She is also a teaching assistant in the Clinical Skills Simulation Center and the manager of the Pet Loss Hotline at WSU CVM.
Thursday, June 14
2:45 PM – 3:00 PM
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