Our Rainbow City vets at Central Valley Animal Hospital often treat dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and while there is no cure for this condition, in many cases IBD can be managed successfully. Read on to learn more.
What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in dogs?
IBD or inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic condition that can affect your pup's gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) including the stomach and intestines.
IBD impairs your pup's ability to absorb nutrients and pass waste normally from their system. This inability to process food properly can result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, lethargy, fever and decreased appetite.
What is the treatment for IBD in dogs?
There is no cure for IBD in dogs, but your vet can prescribe medications and dietary modifications that can help to manage your dog's condition and relieve symptoms.
Nonetheless, it's important for dog owners to be aware that IBD treatment is often a process of trial and error. It is a tricky condition to diagnose and treat, as such it can take time to find the right combination of medications and diet to address your pet's symptoms.
Once the condition is being managed well, many dogs are able to stop taking medicine daily and may need it only when symptoms flare-up. Below are some of the treatments most commonly used to control inflammatory bowel disease in dogs.
Parasites and bacterial infections can often lead to IBD in dogs, and fecal exams can sometimes miss the presence of these issues in your dog's GI tract. Deworming may be an effective way to reduce your dog's IBD symptoms.
The symptoms of IBD can often be effectively managed by nurturing and maintaining the microbiome in your dog's GI Tract (the billions of bacteria that live in the intestines). Your dog's microbiome can be improved through supplements such as prebiotic fibers or postbiotic end products and good nutrition.
Prescription diets are often helpful in treating inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. Every dog is unique and these diets can take a number of different forms depending on your pet's symptoms and what is causing your dog's IBD. Some of the formulas available to help treat dogs with IBD include:
- Novel proteins (avoiding food with typical proteins such as chicken and beef)
- Foods that are more easily digestible
- High-fiber foods
- Hydrolyzed protein formulas (protein that has been broken down into small components that are less likely to cause an adverse food reaction in some dogs)
B12 is an essential vitamin for both dogs and people. If your dog's GI tract isn't absorbing nutrients as it should, your pup could suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 injections can help to keep your furry friend feeling energetic and healthy.
Although, many dogs can be successfully treated through diet alone, in more severe cases medications may be necessary. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed by vets to help treat IBD in dogs. Antibiotics may help to reduce inflammation and restore the normal balance of the microbiome in your dog's GI tract. Steroids can also prove helpful in fighting inflammation in some dogs.
How long do dogs live with IBD?
An accurate diagnosis is the first step in managing your dog's IBD. Following a diagnosis it will be necessary to adhere closely to dietary guidelines and closely monitor your pup's progress.
If your pooch is diagnosed with IBD the trick will be to stick with the trial and error phase of treatment until the right combination of foods and meds has been established. If your pet's IBD can be managed successfully the prognosis is good.
By keeping your dog on the modified diet that works best for them, over time you may be able to reduce your pet's medications, and possibly even stop daily medications with the supervision of your vet.
Some dogs will do well for a number of years on the same diet and medication, however, other dogs require changes to their treatment every few months. Unfortunately, in some cases dogs do not respond to treatment at all.
Diagnosis is essential when it comes to your dog's symptoms of IBD since severe forms of the condition can result in intestinal cancer.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.