What You Need To Know About Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Dogs
Painful and dangerous, Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a serious condition that can affect dogs. Know the signs and symptoms – it could save your dog’s life.
Not only is inflammatory bowel disease a condition that can affect humans, but it can actually affect dogs as well. Dogs with this condition may develop nutritional deficiencies and, if the problem isn’t treated, they could become very sick. To protect your dog from this horrible condition, take the time to learn about its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Also referred to as IBS, inflammatory bowel disease or syndrome is a condition in which portions of the dog’s digestive tract become inflamed. When the digestive tract becomes inflamed, it becomes less efficient at absorbing nutrients – this can result in vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, and signs of poor growth. There are several different types of IBS but the overall cause has not yet been identified. Researchers believe that diet, genetics, and intestinal infections all play a role in the development of IBS and that common antigens like preservatives, parasites, and foreign objects can exacerbate the condition. These antigens may be responsible for causing the initial inflammation but often in cases of IBS the inflammation continues even after the antigen is gone.
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Symptoms of IBS in Dogs
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to diagnose IBS in dogs because the symptoms may not be persistent. In many cases, dogs with IBS exhibit occasional diarrhea and vomiting over a period of weeks, months or years. Initially, these symptoms could be a response to a change in diet or to the administration of antibiotics, but the symptoms eventually return after the initial cause is no longer a factor. Other symptoms of IBS may include weight loss, lethargy, fatigue, straining to defecate, and bloody stool. In many cases, dogs with IBS do not appear to be sick. Diagnosis of IBS typically involves a chemistry panel, blood count, fecal exam, urinalysis, and x-rays or ultrasound.
Treatment Options for IBS
The most common treatment for IBS in dogs involves a combination of dietary changes and medication. Dogs with IBS should be fed easily digestible foods to minimize diarrhea and to maximize nutrient absorption – fiber supplementation may also be recommended. Medication options for IBS may include corticosteroids, antibiotics, and other anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases the dog may be given antacids, anti-nausea, or anti-diarrheal medications as well. Unfortunately, IBS cannot be cured but it can be managed for the long term using a combination of dietary changes and medications.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from IBS it is essential that you seek veterinary attention. Without treatment, your dog could develop severe nutritional deficiencies that could impact his health and wellness.