What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Pets?
Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestine. In IBD, cells associated with inflammation like eosinophils, lymphocytes, neutrophils and plasmacytes invade the intestinal or stomach wall of pets. These four types of inflammation cells each cause one of four varieties of IBD.
Inflammation is a natural response to injury and a sign of a functional immune system, but in this case the inflammation is itself the problem. Left untreated, IBD is painful and can cause other more serious health problems in your pet.
What Causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
The exact cause behind the activities of these cells is unknown, but we do know that there are many factors at work. Genes, infections, abnormalities in the immune system and nutrition all play a role in IBD.
What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?
The Most Common Symptoms Present in Animals With IBD Include:
- nausea & vomiting
- diarrhea, loose stools
- more frequent defecation
- smaller stools despite frequent defecation
- blood or mucous in stool
- lack of appetite
- weight loss
- listlessness and depression
Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs and Cats
Treatment for IBD in dogs as well as cat IBD treatment most commonly focuses on a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. Specifically a change in diet is often recommended for pets suffering from IBD.
What is the Prognosis for Pets with Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Unfortunately, although treatment for IBD in dogs and cats is available, there is no cure for the malady. Day to day management of IBD includes the right diet, the elimination of other diseases and health problems, close monitoring both by the pet owner and the pet’s veterinarian, and the right medication at long-term maintenance dosages. Sometimes even with great treatment, mild or even severe signs may recur.
See our Breed Guide for more specifics on your pet.