Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a chronic condition that affects the function of stomach and or intestines. Abnormally large numbers of blood cells invade the bowel which interferes with digestion and absorption of food. The intestines are unable to absorb nutrients from the diet; therefore the food eaten is not able to be utilized by the body. When these cells invade the stomach and initial part of the intestine, vomiting is the main sign. Loose stool and diarrhea are the predominant signs when these cells invade the lower small intestine. Involvement of the colon results in a mucous diarrhea often flecked with bright red blood. Any or the entire intestinal tract from the stomach and small intestine to the colon may be involved. IBD is the leading cause of chronic vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss in cats and dogs. Middle aged and older cats are most prone.
* Chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea
* Weight loss
The underlying cause of this disease is not known. Immune system defects, food allergies and stress have been incriminated but have not been confirmed. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) has been associated with certain cases. The significance of FIP in this disease is not presently known.
WHAT YOU AND VET CAN DO
* All routine laboratory tests to check for other causes of chronic vomiting and diarrhea are usually negative.
* Blood tests for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency virus are also negative.
* A biopsy which is a microscopic examination of tissue samples taken from the stomach and/or intestines, confirms the diagnosis.
There is no specific cure since the cause is unknown. Treatment usually involves using a combination of allergy free, (hypoallergenic) diets and medication geared to decrease inflammation in the bowel.
Dietary Fat is restricted because it promotes nausea. Fiber adds bulk to the stool and also supports normal intestinal function (motility) which promotes normal stool formation. Oat bran is a good source of fiber, as is plain pumpkin filling.
With strict dietary management, signs usually begin to resolve within the first three weeks of therapy.
The protein source used in these allergy free diets with the best results is usually lamb or venison.
NOTE: Occasionally therapy fails because IBD progresses to a type of cancer called lymphosarcoma in cats and dogs.
Medication used to reduce the inflammation in the intestines usually include: Flagyl, Prednisone, Cyclosporine and Azathioprine. These are given in a variety of combinations by veterinarians depending on which part of the bowel is affected.
Slippery Elm: an herb that adds bulk to the stool which helps resolve diarrhea
* Chamomile an herb that decreases bowel inflammation and acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants reduce oxidative damage.
* Probiotics and Fructo- Oligosaccharides rebalance intestinal bacteria necessary for digestion in the colon. These are fruit sugars.
* L-Glutamine promotes healing of intestines and is an essential nutrient for dogs and cats. It is available at health food stores. It can be given as a 2% oral solution.
* Antioxidant Vitamins: A,C,E
* Omega 3 fatty acids – ¼ tsp Salmon oil added to meals is a good source