Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Dogs and Cats

A dog that looks a little sad

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD is a condition that can affect both dogs and cats, though prevalence might differ in both species. IBD is characterised by chronic inflammation of Gastrointestinal tract which can in lead to various digestive symptoms and discomfort for the affected animals.

Why Does IBD in Pets Happen?

In most instances, an exact underlying cause cannot be identified; however, possible causes include parasitic or bacterial infection or adverse reaction to a specific protein in the diet.

The diagnosis of IBD presumes when all other possible causes of inflammation are ruled out.

a dog suffering from inflammatory bowel disease
A cat with irritable bowels going into a litter box

What are the Clinical Symptoms of IBD in Pets?

The typical symptoms of IBD include:

  • Intermittent Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain

In more severe cases symptoms may include:

  • Blood in stools
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss

How do you Diagnosis IBD in Cats & Dogs?

To diagnose IBD in dogs and cats, Veterinarians typically perform a thorough physical examination and evaluate the patient’s medical history. They may also conduct several tests, including blood work, faecal analysis and imaging such as ultrasound. These tests help rule out other possible causes of gastrointestinal symptoms.

However the definitive diagnosis of IBD is often achieved through a biopsy of the intestinal tissue, which is usually obtained via endoscopy or exploratory surgery.

How do you treat IBD in Cats & Dogs?

Once diagnosed, the primary goal for treatment is to manage and control the inflammation of gastrointestinal tract, and alleviate the symptoms.

  1. Dietary management: Switching to a highly digestible, hypoallergenic diet or a novel protein diet can help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms.
  2. Medications: Vets may prescribe medications like corticosteroids, immunosuppressants or antibiotics to manage inflammation and control the immune response.
  3. Probiotics and supplements: Probiotics can help restore a healthy gut flora balance and supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, may help reduce inflammation.
  4. Symptomatic treatment: Additional medications can be used to manage vomiting or diarrhoea as needed.
A dog wrapped up in toilet paper

It is essential to work closely with your vet to develop an individualised treatment plan for your pet as the severity and response to treatment can vary between cases. Regular follow up visits are crucial to ensure the pet’s well being and adjust the treatment as necessary.

If you’re concerned about the health of your favourite pet or would like to book a consultation, book an appointment today.

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