Understanding Exotic EmerAid

exotic-system-headerVeterinary healthcare teams are presented with difficult emergencies every day, and EmerAid is designed to provide nutrition for critical care to a wide variety of species. EmerAid is nutritionally designed to give each debilitated animal the best possible chance of recovery:

  • EmerAid scientifically addresses the nutritional needs of each species.
  • EmerAid has been developed to address a specific nutritional strategy and save the lives of debilitated animals.
  • EmerAid also provides a high level of nutritional flexibility for the veterinary healthcare team. Each nutrient-dense, high-energy EmerAid formulation can be prepared at various levels of concentration, as determined by the needs of the patient.
  • Each formulation can also be mixed with other EmerAid products or other appropriate foods.
  • Cutting-edge science combined with the art of veterinary medicine results in the best possible patient outcomes.

The EmerAid System for Exotic Critical Care addresses three main nutritional strategies with EmerAid Intensive Care (IC) CarnivoreEmerAid IC Omnivore, and EmerAid Herbivore Nutritional Solutions, which consists of EmerAid IC Herbivore and EmerAid Sustain Herbivore. These products may be fed alone or in combination to meet the needs of your individual species or patient. Consult our Basic Use Guide.

The nutritional status of your exotic patient can affect long-term prognosis, therefore nutrition for critical care should be started as soon as enteral feeding is safe and practical. EmerAid is particularly well-suited for the critical patient because it is a semi-elemental diet. Elemental nutrition means that the patient does not use its limited energy stores for assimilation of nutrients; however completely elemental diets are often associated with osmotic diarrhea. The semi-elemental nature of EmerAid means that the diet passes gently through the gastrointestinal tract, while providing the essential nutrients needed by the critically ill patient to recover.

Saving The “Crashed” Patient

Emergency medicine often involves the care of patients that have “crashed”: animals that are weak, depressed, malnourished, or severely debilitated. Nutrition is a vital part of critical care medicine and yet the process of digesting, absorbing, and assimilating nutrients often requires energy that the critical patient does not have to spare. EmerAid provides nutrition for critical care in the form of a semi-elemental diet. Nutrients are provided in a simplified form allowing the body to quickly digest and absorb the nutrients, thus sparing the patient’s already over-taxed resources.

Nourishing Enterocytes So They Can Nourish The Rest Of The Body

The gastrointestinal tract is lined with cells called enterocytes, which help digest, absorb, and transport nutrients into the body. Vital nutrients absorbed by enterocytes include amino acids and peptides, carbohydrate (complex and simple saccharides), lipids, water, vitamins, and ions (or minerals). Enteral nutrition is preferred whenever possible, because enterocytes undergo atrophy without luminal nutrient stimulation. (Ford & Mazzafero, 2012). By focusing on the nutritional needs of the enterocyte, EmerAid Intensive Care Diets scientifically provide the maximum amount of nutrition that can be absorbed with the least energy expenditure.

EmerAid Intensive Care Diets Are Semi-Elemental

In critically ill patients, the body’s main goal is to support key organs like the heart, brain, liver, and lungs. Blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract is reduced thus slowing gastrointestinal motility. As enterocytes form a tight seal to protect the body from harmful bacteria or toxins, digestion and absorption of nutrients are similarly altered (Martindale, 2002). Unfortunately, these physiologic changes make it difficult for nutrients to be absorbed when the body needs nutrition the most. Consequently, debilitated patients benefit from a predigested or a semi-elemental diet.

Semi-elemental diets contain ingredients that are purified and hydrolyzed, combined with a small amount of complex highly digestible ingredients. Through an innovative balance between purified amino acids and hydrolyzed protein, EmerAid maintains an osmotic balance that minimizes the risk of diarrhea by preventing the loss of water and other vital nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract.

Supporting The Self-Defense System Of The Patient

When an animal “crashes,” the immune system is put on high alert and antioxidants are needed in larger quantities (Chandra 1997, Manzanares 2013). The EmerAid Intensive Care Diets support the body’s self-defense system by providing high levels of nutrients critical to immune function and antioxidant systems (Table 1). Diets containing nutrients that support the immune system have been shown to enhance the recovery of critically ill human patients, and there is strong evidence to suggest this same potential in animals (Chan 2008, de Aguilar 2012, Manzanares 2013).

Table 1. Nutrients in EmerAid Critical Care Diets that support the immune system:

  • Argininea

  • Copper

  • Cysteineb

  • Glutaminea

  • Taurine

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin E

  • Zinc

a: Depletion of arginine and glutamine is particularly common during periods of starvation and catabolic stress, and supplementation has been shown to improve patient outcome (Labow 2000, Oehler 2002).

 b: Cysteine is necessary to produce glutathione, a powerful anti-oxidant in the body.

Building A Healthy Body With Lean Body Mass

When an animal becomes debilitated, the body begins to catabolize its own muscle to survive. Loss of muscle means loss of protein, which increases the risk of post-operative infection and wound dehiscence and decreases wound healing. Protein malnutrition can also alter drug metabolism causing undesirable responses to medication. By providing amino acids, peptides, and L-carnitine, EmerAid is designed to not only rebuild build lean body mass, but also provides protein for a host of important metabolic processes (Chandra, 1997).

EmerAid System For Exotic Critical Care

Exotic EmerAid is designed to quickly provide life-saving nutritional support for a wide variety of exotic animal patients. The Intensive Care line provides semi-elemental nutrition indicated for  during the debilitated patient during the critical first week of care, while EmerAid Sustain Herbivore is a high-fiber, recovery diet designed for chronic management and/or convalescence.

Exotic Emeraid incl Sustain Herbivore

EmerAid Exotic Intensive Care Nutrition is designed for critical-care patients

Unlike other enteral feeding products, the EmerAid Intensive Care line replenishes the patient’s depleted energy, fat, and protein stores.

Emeraid exotic critical care nutrition

The EmerAid System for Exotic Animal Critical Care contains:

  • High levels of glutamine & arginine for the debilitated patient
  • Purified essential amino acids and hydrolyzed proteins
  • Dietary nucleotides to provide DNA and RNA precursors
  • A highly digestible blend of fats and simple carbohydrates for energy
  • Balanced omega 3/6 polyunsaturated fatty acids


  • Debilitated patients
  • Cachectic patients
  • Patients with reduced digestive capacity
  • Highly stressed patients needing the minimal numbers of feedings
  • Patients that require additional calories to maintain or gain weight

*Note: All Exotic EmerAid diets can be fed for an extended period of time with the exception of EmerAid Intensive Care Herbivore, which should not be fed as the sole source of nutrition for more than 10 days.


Completing Recovery 

Once the patient is stable and doing well on an EmerAid Intensive Care, the diet can be gradually transitioned to EmerAid Sustain Herbivore or the patient’s regular food under the guidance of a veterinarian.



Chan DL. The role of nutrients in modulating disease. J Small Anim Pract 49(6):266-271, 2008.

Chandra RK. Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction. Am J Clin Nutr 66(2):460S-463S, 1997.

de Aguilar-Nascimento JE, Bicudo-Salomao A, Portari-Filho PE. Optimal timing for the initiation of enteral and parenteral nutrition in critical medical and surgical conditions. Nutrition 28(9):840-843, 2012.

Labow BI, Souba WW. Glutamine. World J Surg 24(12):1503-1513, 2000.

Martindale RG, Shikora SA, Nishikawa R, Siepler JK. In: American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ed). Nutritional Considerations in the Intensive Care Unit: Science, Rationale, and Practice. City, State: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company; 2002.

Oehler R, Pusch E, Dungel P, et al. Glutamine depletion impairs cellular stress response in human leucocytes. British J Nutr 87(Suppl 1):S17-S21, 2002.