Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Pets


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     Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs and Cats 

IBD; inflammatory bowel disease; chronic vomiting and diarrhea

Feline inflammatory bowel disease and canine inflammatory bowel disease

There is especially in cats a disease that causes long term recurrent vomiting and diarrhea. Many know this as IBD or inflammatory bowel disease. Similar types of diseases occur in dogs, but they have different names, but pretty much the same causes.

Like the skin, the bowels have only so many ways to react to any particular disease so IBD can be diagnosed wrongly. To truly name it inflammatory bowel disease, all other causes of vomiting and diarrhea need to be ruled out through testing first. Even if a biopsy of the guts (intestines) are done, the cells found there can indicate multiple different diseases, ranging from easily handled parasites to difficult cancer.

Inflammatory cells in the intestines can be there due to the above mentioned causes, food allergies or intolerances, or any other cause of bowel irritation.

Tests for parasites and blood tests to rule out some of these should be done. Some diseases can be tougher to diagnose. Food allergy blood tests exist but are still questioned as far as their validity. The standard is to do a low allergy food trial for 6 to 8 weeks minimum. This can be tricky in a finicky pet which most cats and some dogs are.

Certainly biopsies may be indicated especially if one suspects a cancerous cause as only a biopsy can find such abnormal cells. Unfortunately there are cancers where the cells look okay, there are just way too many of them and they don't behave in a prosurvival manner.

So what if there is this hard to determine thing called IBD? Diet certainly may play a part in the treatment of it. I once went to a lecture on this disease and the lecturer told a story of trying to explain IBD to veterinarians in Europe and they all looked at him with a blank stare. None of them had seen or heard of it. There, all cats go outside, even if just part of the time. So, that poses the question of what do they get outside that indoor only cats don't? Or is there some genetic difference to cats there? Certainly, we do not feed our cats what they would eat if they were out in the wild.

Don't take this to mean you should let your 100% indoor cat outside. There are many other perils outside for them to face.

One veterinary diets company tested a blenderized mouse diet and the cats went crazy for it and did very well, but the company didn't think there was any way people would buy the product. Recently another did the same with blenderized rabbit but found it was deficient in Taurine, a vital nutrient for heart and eye health in cats. One would think a cat in the wild would eat a variety anyhow.

So, back to treatment. Diet, digestive enzymes, probiotics have all been shown to help some. At times if the symptoms are too severe, immune suppressive medications such as cortisones or even cancer type drugs have to be used.

I suspect there is a great deal we have to learn about this whole senario yet.

Wishing you and your pets great health.

Recommended product: A great digestive aid for cats and dogs is RX Zyme for Pets.

Unitl next time,

Dr. Jan


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