What is IBD in cats?
IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) is a condition in cats which is characterized by chronic inflammation in the lining of the stomach and/or intestinal tract, leading to an inability to properly digest food and absorb nutrients.
What causes IBD in cats?
Inflammatory bowel disease may occur in cats due to an abnormal interaction between the immune system, bacterial populations in the cat's intestines, diet, and other environmental factors.
What are signs of cat IBD that I should watch for?
Inflammatory bowel disease in cat's can be a challenging to diagnose since many symptoms of IBD can be related to other conditions. If your cat is suffering from IBD you may notice symptoms that vary in frequency and intensity such as diarrhea, blood in stool, lethargy, gas, gurgling tummy, weight loss, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Can IBD in cats be treated?
In many cases feline IBD can be successfully managed through a combination of dietary changes, supplements, b12 injections, medications, and in some cases therapies such as acupuncture, or fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT).
Important Note: Once your cat's IBD is being managed, symptoms may unexpectedly return and require adjustments to medications or diet. If your cat experiences a relapse contact your vet right away to book an examination for your kitty.
- If your cat's IBD is being caused by an allergy, a hypoallergenic diet may help to reduce symptoms. Your vet may recommend feeding your cat a food made up of proteins or carbohydrates that your cat has never eaten before, such as venison, rabbit or duck. In other cases, a low-fat, easily digestible, high-fiber foods may be recommended.
- As well as dietary changes, medications may be required to calm symptoms, Metronidazole has antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and antiprotozoal properties which may help. Corticosteroids, potent anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressing agents, may be recommended if diet changes or metronidazole prove ineffective.
Other Therapies for Cats with IBD
- Prebiotics and probiotics may help to correct the balance of essential good bacteria in your cat's GI tract.
- Adding Fiber such as psyllium to your cat's food may recommended if they are suffering from inflammatory colitis.
- Folate or vitamin B12 can help if your pet is deficient in these due to the poor nutrient absorption associated with inflammatory bowel disease in cats.
- A fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is a method of providing cat's with IBD with a range of healthy gut bacteria from a donor patient.
What is the life expectancy for cats with IBD?
For many cat's with inflammatory bowel disease the prognosis is good. Although there is no cure for IBD in cats, symptoms can often be managed, allowing your cat to live comfortably for many years.
That said, if your cat is not responding to the treatments above your vet may recommend further diagnostic testing to see if there is an underlying disease causing the symptoms.
Unfortunately, in some cases inflammatory bowel disease can progress to become a form of intestinal cancer called intestinal lymphoma.
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.
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