Inflammatory Bowel Disease in dogs and cats encompasses a spectrum of diseases that result in chronic inflammation of the stomach, small intestine and large intestine that does not resolve on it’s own.
Symptoms: Inflammatory Bowel Disease can affect dogs and cats of all ages and of all breeds. Affected animals may experience vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss or loss of appetite. Pets that vomit may vomit primarily food or bile or both. Pets with diarrhea can have stools ranging from watery
stools, to loose stools with blood or mucous.
Causes: The cause of IBD is unknown but it is felt to be due to an excessive immune response to dietary or environmental factors. Many pets will respond to dietary changes while others require life long medication.
Diagnosis: Inflammatory Bowel Disease is diagnosed by a biopsy of the stomach or intestine. Affected
dogs and cats are initially evaluated with a blood test, radiographs and stool examination for parasites to eliminate other treatable causes of vomiting and diarrhea. The majority of patients with suspected
IBD have symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea that have been uncontrolled with changes in diet and symptomatic therapy. The safest method of diagnosis of IBD is by endoscopic biopsy of the stomach and intestines with evaluation of the samples by a veterinary pathologist.
Why Is A Biopsy Necessary?
A biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and eliminate other conditions that have similar symptoms.
How Is IBD Treated?
There are two primary approaches to treating IBD based on the assumption that the intestine has an excessive inflammatory response to some stimuli (food, virus, bacteria, etc.).
Many patients will respond to a “hypoallergenic diet” that consists of a novel protein and carbohydrate without additives. Approximately 50% of patients can be controlled by diet.
IBD symptoms are caused by the excessive immune response within the stomach or intestine. While some animals with IBD can be controlled with dietary manipulation alone, most require medication such as corticosteroids to induce remission. The medications that are commonly used include corticosteroids (Prednisone), Flagyl Imuran, and Cyclosporine. Many patients can be weaned off of medication within 6 months while others need medication for the remainder of their lives.
Goal Of Therapy
The ultimate goal of treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a resolution of the symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss with the least amount of medication possible.