EmerAid Omnivore and the EmerAid Critical Care System: Hand and Gavage Feeding


EmerAid is the first semi-elemental diet designed for critically ill and/or cachexic exotic animals. EmerAid products are truly designed to meet the metabolic needs of critically ill and debilitated exotic animal patients.



Produced by Dr. M. Scott Echols and narrated by Dr. Susan Orosz.


EmerAid Nutritional Care System

The EmerAid Nutritional Care System is divided into three formulations to meet different dietary requirements: Carnivore, Herbivore, and Omnivore. All three are powdered products that may be kept on the shelf until used. Once opened, store Emeraid in the refrigerator. Mix EmerAid with water immediately before use.

EmerAid products may be used either singly or in combination. Each formulation is designed to reduce the energy of assimilation while providing energy sources in an appropriate form. Vitamin and mineral levels are formulated to meet metabolic demands. With cachexia and debilitation, there is an increased demand for glutamine and arginine. All three formulations have increased levels of these critically important amino acids.


EmerAid Omnivore

EmerAid Intensive Care Omnivore contains dipeptides and tripeptides as well as isoaminoacids to reduce the energy of assimilation while providing protein in a normal range. This product is composed of easily digested fats that are slightly higher than normal (9.5%) and are used as a concentrated source of energy. Additionally, Emeraid IC Omnivore contains normal levels of vitamins and minerals but is low in fiber (0.5%) so these components are concentrated to provide the nutrients missing in debilitation.

EmerAid Intensive Care Omnivore can be hand fed or gavage fed to companion birds like parrots and songbirds and to omnivorous rodents like rats and mice. EmerAid IC Omnivore may be fed in combination with EmerAid IC Herbivore, to species like gerbils, hamsters, and the African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris). Combinations of EmerAid IC Omnivore with EmerAid IC Carnivore can be used to meet the dietary requirements of these species. See our EmerAid Feeding Guidelines for complete information on these specialty combinations.


Clinical use of EmerAid Omnivore

To mix the EmerAid formulations, follow the label instructions on the package. Mix with warm water. If a small-gauge feeding needle is used, such as an 18–gauge tube for parakeets and the passerines like canaries, draw the diet up into the syringe with the feeding needle attached to the syringe to avoid plugging.

Small rodents like rats and mice typically accept syringe feedings well. Use the syringe and slowly provide food in the corner of the mouth, taking care to monitor consumption.

Syringe feeding rat

Young psittacine birds or parrots may also accept hand feeding. Adult psittacines that are ill may revert back to a baby behavior and will allow hand feeding, especially by their owners. You can instruct their owners how to hand feed. For birds, mix the formula with warm water and draw it up into small syringes. For most small birds, you can use 1 ml syringes. Use 3 ml syringes for larger birds. Place the syringes in a cup with warm water at 105-107°F (41-42°C) so that the diet does not cool as you feed.

Put the bird on a table or your lap and gently press on each side of the commissure of the beak to get the bird to bob its head. When the bird bobs its head, it closes the glottis.

Hand feeding a macaw

Intensive care nutrition

The EmerAid products are designed for debilitation while baby bird hand feeding formulas are not. The EmerAid formulations provide easily assimilated proteins with increased levels of the amino acids glutamine and arginine, so important in addressing cachexia.

To cite this page:

Orosz SE. Emeraid Omnivore and the Emeraid Critical Care System: Hand and gavage feeding. December 9, 2010. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/emeraid-omnivore-and-the-emeraid-critical-care-system-hand-and-gavage-feeding/