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The purpose of this study was to investigate clinical and metabolic effects of combined parenteral and oral nutrition compared with parenteral nutrition in young dogs with haemorrhagic gastroenteritis in a prospective clinical study. Dogs with acute gastroenteritis received either parenteral nutrition (group PN, n = 9) or combined parenteral and early enteral nutrition (group EN, n = 10). Infusions were compounded from amino acids, lipids, glucose and electrolyte/glucose solutions [149 g/l glucose, 20 g/l triglycerides, 40 g/l amino acids and 4009 kJ metabolizable energy/l (957 kcal ME/l)], and supplemented with potassium, phosphate and trace elements. Group EN received additionally a hydrolysed diet (74 kJ/kg BW(0.75) on day 2 and 148 kJ/kg BW(0.75) on days 3 and 4). Glucose, triglycerides, protein, albumin, fibrinogen, urea, creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, glutamate dehydrogenase and glutamate pyruvate transaminase were measured before and during the infusions, haematological traits only before the infusions. Statistics included two-factorial anova and subsequent t-test or Wilcoxon test (P < 0.05). All dogs of group EN survived compared with seven of nine patients in group PN. Most dogs in the EN group vomited within half an hour after introduction of oral feeding on day 2 but tolerance for food increased on days 3 and 4. The general health status and faecal and blood parameters of the surviving dogs were similar (P > 0.05) between the groups. In all dogs leucocytes increased during the treatment period, haematocrit and haemoglobin levels declined. Infusions increased blood glucose and triglycerides (P < 0.05); however, no adverse signs were observed. Early enteral nutrition was possible after a short period of adaptation, however, vomiting can be a severe problem. The evaluation of clinical benefits of early enteral nutrition in young dogs with haemorrhagic gastroenteritis requires further investigations.