Elemental Nutrition

What is elemental nutrition?

In an elemental diet, elements have been broken down into small, easy to absorb components.

What are the benefits of elemental nutrition?

When a meal is ingested, the body breaks down nutrients into tiny pieces or “elements” that may be absorbed. For instance, after eating a meal rich in protein, the body will break down this nutrient into amino acids and peptides.

The process of nutrient breakdown and absorption requires a great deal of energy—ask anyone that has eaten a large meal! The critically ill patient typically does not have this energy to spare—or the little energy they do possess could be better served in healing and repair of the body. Elemental nutrition provides nutrients in small sizes like amino acids for easier and quicker assimilation of nutrients. Elemental nutrition is also better tolerated in patients with gastrointestinal problems, particularly malabsorptive states like proventricular dilatation disease.

Emeraid System for Exotic Animal Critical Care

The Emeraid System for Exotic Animal Critical Care is a series of partially elemental or semi-elemental diets for the avian, exotic, canine, and feline patient. For the avian and exotic species Emeraid Carnivore, Emeraid Herbivore, and Emeraid Omnivore are utilized and may be fed singly or in combination (dependent upon the species).

With feline and canine patients, Emeraid® Critical Care HDN™ (Highly Digestible Nutrition) and Emeraid® Sustain™ HDN are available for critical care patients and recovery patients, respectively.

Emeraid Nutritional Care System products contain:

  • Free essential amino acids including increased quantities of glutamine and arginine to meet the needs of the debilitated patient
  • A highly digestible blend of fats and simple carbohydrates for energy
  • Balanced omega 3/6 polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Dietary nucleotides to provide DNA and RNA precursors

Learn more about elemental nutrition;

Menezes JS, Andrade MC, Senra B, et al. Immunological activities are modulated by enteral administration of an elemental diet in mice. Clin Nutr 25(4):63-652, 2006.

Smith PA. Nutritional therapy for active Crohn’s disease. World J Gastroenterol 14(27):4420-4423, 2008.

Watanake O, Ando T, Ishiguro K, et al. Enteral nutrition decreases hospitalization rate in patients with Crohn’s disease. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 25 Suppl 1:S134-S137, 2010.


Written by Christal Pollock, DVM, Dipl. ABVP-Avian; Lafeber Company veterinary consultant.