Dr. Elsey’s dry food and diarrhea?

moxiewild

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Hey all

We’ve been feeding Dr. Elsey’s CleanProtein dry chicken food for years now among our large clowder and a revolving door if foster cats and kittens. For the cats who like it, we’ve seldom come across a cat who didn’t tolerate it well.

I know they recently came out with some other flavors finally, like rabbit and turkey, so we’ve tried those too… but they all seemed to give a large portion of our cats diarrhea… really, really bad, can’t-make-it-to-the-litter box diarrhea for some of them. It was awful.

So we transitioned back to chicken only, but the kibbles have been consistently looking different now, lighter in color.

I also noticed a new commitment by the company to make their dry food low phosphorus to be more kidney-cat friendly (which I’m ECSTATIC about!), and the current phosphorus for the chicken is now lower than what I last had documented in my food spreadsheet.

so in assuming there was some sort of formula change?

I only began considering this because when we transitioned back to chicken with the new looking kibbles, the diarrhea problem didn’t stop.

We have a fairly good sample size of cats we’ve tested this on, and it really seems to be shooting through most of them. We’ve tried 3 separate chicken bags from different batches (plus the new flavors), all to the same results. I’m really upset because Dr. E’s is one of the seldom quality dry foods out there and I’d hate to lose it :(

anyone else having new issues with this food?

Oh, and by the way - we’ve sent out random samples of 5 afflicted cats for fecal PCR and everyone came back clear. So doesn’t appear to be a parasitic outbreak.
 

Maurey

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The new flavours all have chickpeas — that may be what’s setting the cats off. Or has just the chicken done so as well? Have you been in touch with the company with the photos of the lighter coloured kibble and the batch numbers?
 

di and bob

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Yes, I would contact them and let them know what is happening. I'm sure their systems would eventually get used to the changes, switching back and forth should be done over a long time. I know how hard that is with diarrhea though!
 

lisahe

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How long have the cats been back on *only* Dr. Elsey's chicken, moxiewild moxiewild ? I agree with Maurey Maurey about the chickpeas; they seem like a likely culprit for problems with the non-chicken food. What di and bob di and bob says makes sense to me, too: it can take time for cats' digestive systems to get used to new food.

That said... We feed small amounts of Dr. Elsey's chicken, too, and I also noticed that the food in one bag (a small one) seemed lighter. And that maybe the pieces were a bit bigger than before. That was from a large bag... and the pieces looked darker and a little smaller again. I'm sure every batch is a little different and I can't figure out if these are real differences or just my imagination! All of which is to say that if you do contact the company and they do say that something's changed, I'd be very curious to know what it is.

FWIW, the ingredient lists on Chewy (the six-pound bag page) and Dr. E's site are very slightly different, with a few ingredients listed in a different order. (I'm not patient enough to go through everything!) But no chickpeas, which they'd told me some months ago weren't going to be going into the chicken food. I hope they haven't changed their mind!

In the meantime, good luck, I hope you're able to figure this all out soon!
 
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moxiewild

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I just wanted to update.

We had some bloody and weird looking diarrhea, so we sent in more samples with different cats.

Turns out we have some parasitic infections going on.

One population (10 cats) have some coccidia, another (9 cats) have giardia.

That said, almost all of the first 5 cats who came back clear had also were confirmed to have diarrhea. Multiple possible explanations as to why.

One of those who came back clear is additionally in an entirely separate group of three. They had especially terrible diarrhea after eating Dr. E’s, and ever since we stopped feeding it to them their stools have been normal.

That said, our problem very likely boils down to infection, and wasn’t the fault of the food.

Once everyone is recovered here, we’re going to try it again. If we still have diarrhea after that, I’ll come back and update!
 
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