Everyone who has owned a dog has experienced their share of their doggo’s suffering from tummy aches.

Sometimes, reasonable judgment is obvious but other times the effect has no cause. Often than not, this usually indicates that the dog has inflammatory bowel disease.

Let’s delve into the diagnosis, symptoms, causes, and treatments for your dog.

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS) in Dogs?

Dr. Dawn M. Spangler, assistant professor at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine, states that IBS occurs when there is an inflammation around the lining of the intestines. This brings about subsequent symptoms like weight loss, nausea (vomit), and diarrhea.

Although not all dogs are not as prone as other breeds, such as French Bulldogs, Boxers, and German Shepherds, Dr. Spangler states that it is common in mixed-breeds.

What symptoms should you watch out for?

Symptoms of IBS are different depending on the region of the affected intestine, as stated by Dr. Hyunmin Kim of ASPCA Community Medicine.

For example, if the large intestine is targeted, the dog will show signs of constant pooping, which can be bloody. Other signs include vomit, flatulence, and abdomen pain.

“It’s a different case for the small intestine,” she says. “IBS leads to weight loss, lethargy, shedding, and weakened coating. IBS usually means that the body isn’t able to absorb proper nutrients and is why dogs usually lose weight fast, “ she added.

What causes IBS in dogs?

Dr. Spangler states that inflammatory bowel disease is caused by numerous reasons, from infection to genetics.

Unfortunately, she says that IBS is not preventable but can usually be controlled when it is diagnosed and given the proper treatment by a professional veteran.

Basically, the dog’s immune system sends out inflammatory cells to the intestine and stomach to anything that is seen as a threat such as allergens, parasites, and bacteria. Prolonging the infection makes the immune system continually produce these cells which often damages the lining of the intestinal tract over time.

Diagnosing Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs

“Diagnosis starts with an intestinal biopsy using an abdominal exploratory or an endoscope.” Dr. Spangler stated. He says that to get full results, the dog needs to be put to numerous monitoring activities, such as a blood test, radiographs on the abdomen, and ultrasound, to screen out potential causes.

Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs

Through anti-inflammatory medicine, diet restrictions, and antibiotics, treatment varies from dog to dog. This focuses on immune suppression or even in dire situations, immunosuppressants. Most professional veterinarians will suggest a diet of hydrolyzed peptides or novel proteins.

Dr. Houchen explains that novel proteins are single proteins that the dog has not yet been exposed to, while hydrolyzed peptides are easily-digestible to avoid an immune response. Most successful treatments are often treated with dietary changes, if not, immune-suppressing drugs.

Dr. Kim says that mild cases of IBS are good in terms of prognosis. However, they often imitate other life-threatening problems. It is important to take your dog to veterinary care anytime issues of symptoms above persists.


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