Chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in dogs

Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a syndrome that affects the dog’s digestive system, in whole or in part. Linked to the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the intestinal wall that causes chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract, these diseases cause repeated disorders in dogs, in particular diarrhea and / or chronic vomiting.

What Causes IBD in Dogs? What are the symptoms observed in this case? How to treat this type of pathology? Let’s take a look at this case.

What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

There are several chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBD, in dogs. It is actually a syndrome caused by a chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract, itself caused by an infiltration of inflammatory cells in the intestinal wall that colonize more or less extensively. The entire digestive system of the dog can be affected or only a part of it, from the stomach to the colon.

Chronic inflammation alters the animal’s digestion and absorption of nutrients. If the dog affected by this syndrome may have appetite disorders, he often suffers from frequent vomiting and / or diarrhea. You should know that dogs can be affected at any age.

What causes IBD?

It is still difficult today to clearly identify the cause of inflammatory bowel disease. However, experts seem to hold certain hypotheses:

  • an allergic reaction after ingesting a food allergen;
  • a reaction that occurs after a bacterial infection or a parasitic infection;
  • a certain genetic predisposition.

What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

When an animal suffers from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), it has disorders of the digestive system. But identifying the syndrome can be difficult, as many other illnesses or disorders can cause these types of symptoms.

However, in the case of IBD, the animal may experience the following symptoms:

  • frequent and repeated vomiting;
  • chronic diarrhea, which may be stained with blood or mucus;
  • a loss or decrease in appetite or a sudden increase in appetite, linked to the animal’s inability to absorb nutrients from its diet;
  • weight loss;
  • a drop in activity;
  • a drier, duller coat;
  • the death of the animal.

What is the diagnosis in case of chronic inflammatory bowel disease?

If you notice one or more of these clinical signs in your pet, it is important to consult your veterinarian immediately. The doctor will then perform certain scans to diagnose the condition.

These are the tests that can be done when your veterinarian suspects a case of IBD:

  • fecal examinations;
  • blood tests;
  • measures of folate and vitamin B12;
  • an x-ray of the intestines;
  • an intestinal ultrasound;
  • a tissue biopsy of the dog’s intestines as part of a surgical procedure.

What is the treatment for chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

Unfortunately, inflammatory bowel disease cannot be prevented or cured. On the other hand, there are solutions to limit the symptoms of the disease.

Dietary measures are the first solutions implemented in case of IBD. Your veterinarian may suggest implementing a hypoallergenic diet, a high-fiber diet, or a low-waste diet. In case of food intolerance or allergy, a elimination diet can be implemented in order to exclude the allergen from the diet for at least 6 to 8 weeks to observe the results.

At the same time, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, corticosteroids, or immunomodulators. In case of bacterial or parasitic infection, dewormers can be offered as well as vitamin B12 supplements.

The challenge is to find the solution, in the form of diet and / or pharmacological treatments that suit the animal. Once this is in place and adapted, well-being is fast in the dog. If it is not possible to cure the disease, the animals continue treatment for life and manage to lead an almost normal life.

An industrial hypoallergenic diet is preferable to a home-made solution, because there is no risk of imbalance. Proteins are more often involved, but avoiding foods is especially complex, as they require a very strict rebalancing in parallel to compensate for nutrient deficiencies.

For some dogs, it is possible to return to a normal diet, but in most cases the specific diet is maintained for life.

Finally, it should be noted that the animal should be monitored for life and undergo regular veterinary check-ups, including blood tests.

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