In detail

IBD in dogs: treat chronic inflammation of the intestine

Chronic intestinal inflammation or IBD in dogs is accompanied by bloody diarrhea, pain and cramps. Although the disease is not curable, it can be treated with a special diet and possibly medication to such an extent that the sick four-legged friend can live with it for many years to come. Learn more about the bowel disease here. A dog with IBD needs lifelong support from the vet - Shutterstock / Dora Zett

A comparable chronic inflammation of the intestine is known in humans as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, in dogs the IBD is usually mentioned. The abbreviation comes from the English and stands for "Inflammatory Bowel Disease" ("Inflammatory Bowel Disease"). There are various forms of intestinal inflammation and the causes are not yet fully known. The only thing that is certain is that the immune system of the intestinal mucosa overreacts to food and treats it like an "enemy", so to speak.

What is IBD in dogs?

Dog IBD is a type of autoimmune disease that occurs in episodes. During these relapses, slimy, often bloody diarrhea occurs. Painful abdominal cramps torture the animal and vomiting and weight loss can occur. Chronic intestinal inflammation can affect the colon or small intestine.

If the colon is particularly diseased, IBD is particularly noticeable through frequent droppings, febrile diarrhea and increasing nervousness in the dog. The amount of faeces is rather small in each case and can also be of a firm consistency like goat faeces between the diarrhea, but is always covered with mucus. Later, only bloody mucus is sometimes excreted during a diarrhea. If the small intestine is affected, the dogs have to vomit more often and often eat grass, but the amount and consistency of the faeces is mostly normal.

Chronic intestinal inflammation can also spread to other organs. For example, dogs with IBD run the risk of also developing pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas - both in the acute and in the chronic form. The intestinal disease becomes particularly dangerous if the dog gets a high fever during an acute push. In this emergency, go immediately to the vet or to a veterinary clinic!

Possible causes of intestinal inflammation

Several factors appear to coincide when an IBD develops. For example, some dogs are more susceptible to chronic bowel inflammation than others due to their genetic makeup. Shar-Pei, Boxer and the German Shepherd are particularly endangered. Improper colonization of the intestine with intestinal bacteria also seems to play a role, as does hypersensitivity to the intolerance of certain ingredients in dog food. In addition, frightened, fearful dogs are affected more often than their balanced counterparts - so obviously a psychological component like stress is another trigger.

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IBD in dogs: difficult diagnosis

The diagnosis of chronic intestinal inflammation is very complicated because it can only be made using the elimination procedure. This means that all other possible causes of the diarrhea and other IBD symptoms must be ruled out until no other explanation can be considered. For example, worms and other parasites can also cause the symptoms; however, they need a completely different form of treatment than chronic bowel inflammation.

Treat chronic bowel inflammation for life

At the beginning, the veterinarian treats the acute symptoms so that the relapse subsides as quickly as possible and your dog is better. Antipyretics and anti-inflammatories such as cortisone can be used here, as can antibiotics and acid inhibitors. Depending on the severity of the IBD, the symptoms improve rather through antibiotics or through cortisone, but sometimes only through a change in feed if the intestinal inflammation was triggered by a feed intolerance or a feed allergy.

But even if the acute symptoms are relieved by medication, the sick dog's diet has to change permanently. You should definitely discuss this with your veterinarian so that he supports you in designing the special IBD diet. It may help to switch to barefooting if your four-legged friend can no longer tolerate processed feed.

It is also important to relieve the sick dog mentally. Avoid stress and give your pet security and confidence. In addition to conventional veterinary treatment, a veterinary practitioner can also help you. He can recommend other stress-reducing treatment options from the field of naturopathy, for example acupuncture for dogs or homeopathy. In this way, the flare-ups are limited and your four-legged friend can live a largely comfortable life for many years to come.