Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that not only affects us as humans but also affects our dogs. Like us, our dogs can experience significant discomfort with this condition. Understanding the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease is important to ensure your dog’s well-being.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss IBD in-depth as well as what you can do to help your dog manage the condition. We’ll even talk about a natural remedy that could help your dog feel better!
What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease Exactly?
Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the intestines to become swollen and irritated. IBD can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract, but it usually affects the colon and small intestine.
The most common types of IBD are:
- Chronic colitis: Inflammation of the colon that causes intermittent bouts of diarrhea. Chronic colitis can be caused by microscopic colitis and lymphocytic-plasmacytic gastroenteritis (also known as lymphoplasmacytic enterocolitis).
- Acute colitis: A sudden onset of diarrhea with or without vomiting and/or fever associated with bacteria such as Clostridium difficile or Salmonella species; this is usually seen in older dogs. Acute colitis can also be seen in puppies due to infection with E. coli or rotavirus.
What Causes IBD in Dogs?
The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs is unknown, but researchers have determined that genetics plays a large role. Certain breeds, such as German Shepherds and Miniature Schnauzers, are more likely to develop the condition than others. Some dogs may also experience episodes of colitis when they get older or after they've been sick with other illnesses like canine parvovirus.
If your dog has inflammatory bowel disease, it's likely that he'll have other health issues such as kidney failure or liver disease. You should always see your vet if you're concerned about your dog's health because many of these symptoms can indicate other problems as well.
Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs
The symptoms of IBD in dogs can vary depending on the area of the gastrointestinal tract affected and the severity of the inflammation.
Some of the most common signs of IBD in dogs include:
- Chronic diarrhea: One of the most noticeable symptoms of IBD in dogs is frequent, loose, and watery stools. The diarrhea may be accompanied by blood or mucus and can persist for weeks or months.
- Weight loss: Despite having a healthy appetite, dogs with IBD often struggle to maintain their weight due to poor nutrient absorption.
- Vomiting: Dogs with IBD, especially those with inflammation in the stomach or upper small intestine, may experience frequent vomiting.
- Abdominal pain: Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can cause discomfort and pain, leading to hunched posture, sensitivity to touch, and vocalization.
- Decreased appetite: Some dogs with IBD may have a reduced appetite due to the pain and discomfort associated with the condition.
- Lethargy: Dogs with IBD often exhibit reduced energy levels and a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
Treatment for IBD in Dogs
Treating IBD in dogs involves a combination of dietary modifications, medications, and lifestyle changes aimed at reducing inflammation, managing symptoms, and improving the overall quality of life for your pet.
It is essential to work closely with your veterinarian to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your dog's specific needs.
Some of the most common treatment options for IBD in dogs include:
One of the cornerstones of IBD treatment is altering your dog's diet. Many dogs with IBD benefit from a hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diet, which helps to identify and eliminate potential food allergens that may be contributing to the inflammation.
It is crucial to transition your dog to the new diet gradually, under the supervision of your veterinarian. Some dogs may also benefit from a high-fiber diet or the addition of specific supplements, such as probiotics like Daily Dog, to help support gut health and promote a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria.
Saccharomyces boulardii, FullBucket’s probiotic of choice found in Daily Dog, has been shown to help improve inflammatory bowel disease in dogs by activating multiple anti-inflammatory pathways in the gut.
Depending on the severity of your dog's IBD and the degree of inflammation, your veterinarian may prescribe medications to help manage the condition. Common medications for IBD in dogs include:
- Corticosteroids: These powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, such as prednisone, are often used to help reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. They are typically prescribed in high doses initially, then gradually tapered down as the dog's condition improves.
- Immunosuppressive drugs: In some cases, dogs with IBD may require additional medications to help suppress the overactive immune response. Drugs such as azathioprine, cyclosporine, or mycophenolate mofetil may be prescribed alongside corticosteroids or used as an alternative for dogs that do not respond well to corticosteroid treatment.
- Antibiotics: If bacterial overgrowth is identified as a contributing factor to your dog's IBD, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, such as metronidazole or tylosin, to help restore a healthy balance of gut bacteria.
- Anti-diarrheal medications: In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe medications to help manage diarrhea and improve your dog's comfort.
Ensuring your dog has a low-stress environment and regular exercise can help support their overall health and well-being. Stress reduction techniques, such as providing a quiet and comfortable space for your dog to relax, using puzzle toys or interactive feeders to provide mental stimulation, and maintaining a consistent routine, can all help to alleviate stress and improve your dog's quality of life.
Regular Veterinary Monitoring
Dogs with IBD require ongoing veterinary care and monitoring to ensure their condition is well-managed and to adjust treatment plans as needed. Regular check-ups and communication with your veterinarian are essential for effectively managing your dog's IBD and maintaining their overall health.
Alternative and Complementary Therapies
Some dog owners choose to explore alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, or homeopathy, to help manage IBD symptoms in conjunction with conventional treatments.
Now this is the exciting natural treatment you have been waiting for! Bioclay, like FullBucket BioClay Plus, can help your dog with IBD by aiding the body in removing toxins and pathogens.
FullBucket’s product also contains prebiotics to support microflora in the gut, probiotics to improve your dog’s digestive processes, and enzymes to aid in the absorption of nutrients.
Take Action Now
By making the necessary dietary, medical, and lifestyle adjustments, you can help alleviate your dog's discomfort and improve their overall well-being.
Add in FullBucket BioClay Plus today to help restore your dog’s GI tract as they recover from IBD.