Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs

Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs
  • Save

Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs is not a disease but rather a syndrome. A particular reaction to chronic intestinal tract irritation triggers the syndrome.

- Advertisement -

Many dogs with inflammatory bowel disease have a history of vomiting or diarrhea, intermittent or chronic, and may have a poor appetite.

A dog may lose weight during periods of vomiting or diarrhea, but otherwise, it is normal.

Table of Contents

What Causes inflammatory bowel disease?

There is no clear explanation of the cause of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs.

In fact, veterinarians are not optimistic that inflammatory bowel disease is even medically a disease-it may be the protective reaction of the body to other conditions.

Any number of variables, including genetics, food allergies, parasites, bacteria, or an impaired immune system, can contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs.

The exact underlying cause of inflammatory bowel disease in an individual animal may sometimes be difficult to determine, so a veterinarian can base potential care on how a pet responds to various treatments.

Whatever the cause, the result is that inflammatory cells invade the lining of the intestine. In the intestinal tract, an allergic-type reaction then occurs. The capacity to digest and absorb nutrients interferes with this inflammation.

An exact underlying cause can not be established in most instances; however, probable causes include

  • Parasitic or bacterial infection (e.g., E. coli, Salmonella, or Giardia)
  • Reaction to a particular protein in their diet

What Are the General Symptoms of Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs

Any part of the digestive gastrointestinal (GI) tract may be implicated in inflammatory bowel disease in dogs, but the stomach and/or intestines are most frequently affected. Your dog will suffer chronic vomiting if it affects the stomach.

- Advertisement -

If it affects the intestines, there may be chronic diarrhea. Both elements of the digestive tract are involved in certain dogs, so both vomiting and diarrhea occur. Weight loss and reduced appetite are expected if the syndrome lasts for more than a couple of months.

However, in addition to their failure to digest and consume what they are consuming, some dogs grow a voracious appetite. If the inflammation affects a dog’s stomach and/or upper intestine, chronic vomiting is a common symptom.

Inflammation of the colon may be due to long-term diarrhea that may involve blood or mucus. Clinical symptoms can come and go, and the whole gastrointestinal tract is often affected. A dog can also lose its appetite, melancholy, fever, or weight loss.

How is inflammatory bowel disease in dogs diagnosed?

Initial inflammatory bowel disease in dogs diagnosis begins with fecal tests, blood testing, and either X-ray or ultrasound imaging of the intestines.

Based on tissue biopsies, the particular form of inflammatory bowel disease is conclusively diagnosed. A surgical procedure that involves general anesthesia is to collect these samples.

Your veterinarian can prescribe either an endoscopic procedure or complete abdominal exploratory surgery, depending on the inflammatory bowel disease’s suspected position.

Suppose it is suspected that the small intestine or upper large intestine is involved. In that case, exploratory surgery may be needed for the operation, mostly because these areas are not accessible to the endoscope.

It is normal to take samples from all the layers of the affected organ’s wall in this situation. If the disease mostly affects the stomach or colon, tissue samples may be collected using an endoscope.

A tiny biopsy tool can be used to take small samples of the infected organ’s lining or mucosa when an endoscope is used.

For diagnosis, the tissue biopsies will be sent to a veterinary pathologist. A descriptive diagnosis of the syndrome is provided by the pathologist, based on the key form of inflammatory cells present in the biopsy.

- Advertisement -

Some test that should be carried out are:

  • Measurement of folate in the blood – This will demonstrate whether the normal bacterial population in the GI tract have an imbalance.
  • Measurement of the level of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) in the blood – This will demonstrate if there are a reduced nutrient absorption potential and a need for supplementation.
  • Fecal tests – these tests look for infectious organisms.

Is inflammatory bowel disease in dogs treatable?

There is no cure for inflammatory bowel disease in dogs-it can only be managed by your veterinarian’s prescription diet changes and medications.

Not all dogs respond to the same medicine or food, so a series of medications and/or diets might be required to find the correct combination that works for each animal, typically involves quite a bit of trial-and-error.

During this process, it is crucial to be vigilant and work closely with your veterinarian to make any required adjustments in the routine of care.

The good news is that certain dogs will gradually avoid taking medication every day and will only need it during bad episodes.

Diet

Special diets can be used as a clinical trial, depending on the test results and on which portion of the bowel tends to be involved. Hypoallergenic foods, low residue diets, or high fiber diets are included in these diets.

It can take eight to twelve weeks for a positive response to be seen in certain instances. Unfortunately, a real food test means feeding the test diet exclusively for six to twelve weeks.

Your veterinarian will recommend that you eat a true elimination diet in certain situations, in which a home-prepared diet is eaten containing only one protein and one carbohydrate. No treats or other foods may be offered at all in all food trials.

Medication

Depending on the individual situation, the medicine may or may not be given initially. Antibiotics can be recommended for their anti-inflammatory effect on the GI tract, such as metronidazole (brand name Flagyl®).

They can also help to restore the balance in the GI tract of the normal bacteria found. It is also possible to prescribe probiotic supplements. These are beneficial bacteria that help to restore the GI tract’s normal function.

- Advertisement -

As it is not always known about probiotics and supplements’ consistency and efficacy, it is always recommended to ask your veterinarian before offering something of this nature to your dog.

Anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids (prednisone) are often needed in certain patients to manage clinical symptoms. Still, they are used with caution because if biopsies have not already been taken, they have the potential for side effects or to mask the diagnosis of the disease.

Deworming

Broad-spectrum deworming is recommended as fecal tests are not always representative of the parasites in the GI tract.

B12

Supplementation with B12 (cobalamin) can be considered as most dogs with inflammatory bowel disease are unable to absorb this important vitamin. This is given by injection under the skin.

What is the prognosis?

With a confirmed diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs, the prognosis is usually good. Many dogs stay with this condition for life until the required drugs or diet is decided, although it may be possible to decrease the dosage of the drug over time.

A dog will occasionally be able to avoid drug therapy. For several years, most dogs do well, while some need changes in care every few months. Sadly, a few dogs will fail to respond to medication.

Eventually, certain extreme cases of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs can move towards intestinal cancer. This finding is well known in humans, and it has also been shown to occur in dogs in recent years.

When a dog’s stomach and/or intestine is home to an extremely high inflammatory cell number, inflammatory bowel disease in dogs occurs. These cells induce changes in the digestive tract lining, which hinder normal food absorption and passage.

It is important to remember that inflammatory bowel disease in dogs is not the same as irritable bowel syndrome, which is triggered by psychological stress rather than a neurological abnormality. However, some of the symptoms can be similar.

When Is It Time to See the Vet?

Please see your veterinarian if your dog has chronic diarrhea or vomiting or experiences weight loss, loss of appetite, or unusual lethargy.

- Advertisement -

Which Dogs Are Prone to inflammatory bowel disease?

Although any dog may have inflammatory bowel disease, Basenjis, soft-coated wheaten terriers, shar-peis, and German shepherds are breeds that seem particularly susceptible.

When a dog’s stomach and/or intestine is home to an extremely high inflammatory cell number, inflammatory bowel disease in dogs occurs. These cells induce changes in the digestive tract lining, which hinder normal food absorption and passage.

It is important to remember that inflammatory bowel disease in dogs is not the same as irritable bowel syndrome, triggered by psychological stress rather than a neurological abnormality. However, some of the symptoms can be similar.

References;

Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs
  • Save

2 Shares
Share via
Copy link