Acid Reflux (GERD) in Cats
Treating acid reflux in cats with use of supplements is not always recommended. The jury is still out on if and when supplements can be used for feline acid reflux.
Probiotics are always a good idea for cats with GERD. Provide 3 or 4 small meals instead of 1 or 2 larger meals, and minimize fiber from the diet.
Feed an appropriate food without grains or carbohydrates. Cats are strict carnivores, other food ingredients may exacerbate the condition.
Some evidence shows that enzymes may work, while other information suggests that enzymes may slightly worsen the condition in some animals. Your vet will know whether enzymes are appropriate for your cat specifically.
What is it?
Gastroesophageal Reflux in Cats, "Acid Reflux", or "GERD"
Acid reflux in cats or GERD is a condition characterized by the uncontrollable reverse flow of gastric or intestinal fluids into the tube connecting the throat and the stomach (esophagus). This condition is somewhat common in cats, of any age, though incidence in kittens happens more frequently.
The reflux of gastric acid, other components of the gastric juices can cause damage to the protective mucus lining the esophagus. The result in cats is an inflamed condition and a very uncomfortable cat.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE ACID REFLUX
Regurgitating of food (spitting up)
Evidence of pain when swallowing
Loss of appetite
In acute care, it would be wise to implement the protocol for diet and exercise first. Feed smaller portions of meals, and remove grains from the diet. If that approach is unsuccessful, then one could try supplements (or the medications if prescribed by a vet). A common recommendation for GERD is Pepcid for cats.
Prescription and Medical Remedies
Traditional treatment of GERD in cats usually involves prescription medications. These medications are known to deplete nutrients in the body and gut flora during their use, but can be effective in treating the symptoms. In other cases, surgury could be recommended.
When medications are prescribed, it is a good idea to provide a supplementary vitamin and mineral supplement as well, and definitely a probiotic to balance the nutrient depletion in the body.