NG Tube Feeding

Back to Medical Resource Library

Filed Under: Emergency / Critical Care


THE BASICS:


1. The feeding tube is inserted into your Pet's nostril and extends down the length of his or her esophagus to the stomach.


2. There are three parts of the feeding tube: the yellow tube, the green adaptor, and the cap.  The adaptor allows for easier opening and closing this type of tube.  The cap is opened and closed with each feeding.


Diet Selected: _______________________
Total Volume to be administered per day = _______ ml


Diet preparation:
This diet has been selected for your Pet because it meets energy and nutrient requirements, and provided optimimal nutrition for your Pet's disease.  If you would like to utilize a different diet, please speak with a Veterinarian before making a dietary change, as not all diets are compatible with tube feeding.


1. Combine ___ cans of ____ in a blender with ____ mls or ________ (water, clinicare, vivonex).


2. Store this mixture in a sealed container in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours.

HOW TO FEED
1. Draw up the desired amount of food that you would like to give in a syringe.  It is always best to have the food or water that you give through the tube warmed to room or body temperature.  The best may to warm the food is by submerging the syringe of food under running hot water for several minutes.


2. Give all medications before feeding.  To give liquid medications, open cap, attach the syringe of medications, and then slowly push the syringe plunger. Some medications (tablet, capsule) may be crushed and mixed in with the food.


3. After giving the medications through the tube, you may feed.  Attach the syringe of food, and then slowly push on the syringe plunger. Please feed slowly over 10-15 minutes.


4. Monitor for signs of nausea such as drooling, licking lips, or excessive swallowing.  If you see these signs, please stop the feeding.  If the signs resolve, then you may begin feeding again at a slower rate.  If the signs do not resolve in 1-2 minutes, then stop the feeding.  You may try to feed again at the next feeding time.


5. If your Pet vomits during the feeding, stop.  It is possible that your Patient may vomit up the tube from the stomach.  In this case an xray needs to be taken to verify that it still is seated within the stomach.  It is possible that the tube may enter the trachea if regurgitated.  Feeding must be stopped IMMIDIATELY to avoid pushing food into the lungs.  Simply stop the feeding, remove the syringe from the port, and wait for your Pet to stop vomiting.  Take your Patient to CVSEC at this time.


6. It is VERY important that you flush the tube with water after you are done feeding or giving medications.  There must always be a column of water in the tube to try to prevent clogging.  We usually recommend flushing the 5ml of lukewarm water.


TUBE CARE
1. Please monitor the nostril where the tube exits daily.  It should ideally have no redness, discharge, swelling, or pain.  If mild discharge (like your Pet has a runny nose) is seen, this can be gently cleaned with a tissue or cotton ball dipped in a little warm water. Please call the Hospital if you notice these signs.  Local infections around the tube can happen, and are usually easily treated if caught early.


2. Clean the tube site daily.  Please clean the site with a hypoallergenic, non-scented baby wipe, or a cotton ball or tissue dipped in warm water once a day (or you may use a clean wash cloth that is damp).  Dry the site well after cleaning.


3. If the tube is plugged / clogged:
a. The food that you are feeding may be too thick (not enough water) or there may be a chunk of food.  If medications were given, it may have been a piece that was not ground down to a powder.


b. Take an empty syringe and aspirate backwards on the tube, then place a syringe of water on the tube, and flush forcefully.  If this unclogs the tube, flush at least 15 ml of water through the tube to clear any obstruction.


c. If this does not clear the clog, take an empty syringe, aspirate back to clear the tube, and then attach a syringe with a carbonated beverage (Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, etc).  Inject the carbonated beverage into the tube, leave it for 5 minutes, and then try to flush water through the tube forcefully, again.


d. If the tube is still clogged, please call us or your Veterinarian for assistance.


WHEN TO CALL THE HOSPITAL
1. If the tube comes out of the body (mouth or nose).
2. If the tube site is red, painful, swollen, or has discharge.
3. If the tube is clogged, and you are unable to unclog it after the above directions.
4. If your Pet vomits or acts painful in the abdomen.