IBD in Dogs
Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs, or canine IBD, is an affliction that hits a dog’s small and large intestines and stomach where its gastrointestinal lining is perpetually attacked by inflammatory cells or white blood cells; thus, remarkably altering its normal course of movement. Such attack eventually renders the intestines impotent in the processing of food and elimination of wastes.
Canine IBD comes in varied types, depending on the particular area of the gastrointestinal lining where the white blood cells attack.
Nevertheless, all of these types are manageable albeit rarely curable. The disease usually occur in dogs that are 8 years old or over, although the likelihood of younger ones contracting it is not ruled out; and based on the cases of affliction, canine IBD tends to attack particular breeds, such as the Basenj, German Shepherd, Chinese Shar-Pei, and the soft-coated Wheaten Terrier.
To this date, veterinarians are yet to pinpoint specific clinical causes of inflammatory bowel disease. There is even speculation that it might not be a disease at all, but only a body’s typical reaction to certain health conditions caused by different factors that may include genetics, diet or nutrition, food allergies, intestinal infections, parasites, and abnormalities of the dog’s immune system.
Symptoms of canine IBD such as constant, or intermittent vomiting, diarrhoea, and weight loss are the most common evidence of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. Intermittence may occur over weeks or even years. In more serious or advanced cases, dogs may lose appetite and shy away from food, anorexic, develop fever and flatulence, and get depressed. These evidences, however, vary according to the area where inflammation invades; and its pace of occurrence can be gradual, or quick, as the disease becomes serious. Attacks in the stomach or the upper part of the intestines, usually result in the loss of appetite and chronic vomiting, which, most often, contain undigested or moderately digested food, brownish liquid, or tinge of blood.
On the other hand, an inflammation that attacks the colon, or colitis, usually results in the dog having diarrhoea. The infected dog often experiences very frequent defecation with mucus or some blood in the stool. However, dogs with colitis remain active, and do not lose their appetite.
There is no known cure for inflammatory bowel disease in dogs yet. It has also been observed that although these symptoms may positively respond to antibiotics or modifications in diet, the disease usually come again. Nevertheless, pet owners are advised to be patient and attentive to each prescribed diet alteration and anti-inflammatory medication to enable them to identify which ones work well for their pets. In other words, treating inflammatory bowel disease in dogs is a sort of trial-and-error exercise. Usually, veterinarians advise an initial food trial of hypoallergenic diets of protein and carbohydrate sources that the dog has not tried in the past.
According to studies, a number of dogs have eventually adapted well to particular medications and diet, so much so that their antibiotics were administered only during bad episodes. Medications for IBD in dogs is usually composed of corticosteroids, metronidazole, antacid, anti-nausea, and anti-diarrhoea therapy. Studies also suggest that feeding of omega-3 fatty acids used in humans may also lessen infection in the gastrointestinal lining.