Canine inflammatory bowel disease actually refers to various disorders that cause problems of the gastrointestinal tract. These disorders include colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, enteritis, spastic bowel syndrome, among a few others.
All of these conditions produce similar signs. Anytime these symptoms occur over an extended period of time, it’s referred to as inflammatory bowel disease. Either the upper or lower part of the gastrointestinal tract can be affected. The upper part includes the small intestine and stomach, while the lower tract refers to the colon.
As with the condition that affects humans, the cause of canine inflammatory bowel disease isn’t known. However, it commonly affects animals as they get older. Certain breeds also have an increased risk such as Rottweilers Boxers, and German Shepherds.
Inflammatory disease in dogs causes common signs such as vomiting and diarrhea. This can occur mildly or severely. Other common signs include lethargy, weight loss, loss of appetite, or increased appetite. The abdominal region will also be very uncomfortable. Blood or mucus may also be passed in the stool, and dogs commonly have a hard time passing stool.
In order to diagnose canine inflammatory bowel disease, the vet will have to conduct a physical exam and take a thorough medical history. Parasites and bacterial infections can cause these symptoms, so they will need to be ruled out. Testing the urine and stool is important. Other methods used to make a diagnosis include abdominal ultrasounds, food trials, and x-rays. A biopsy of the intestinal wall may also be taken.
There are a range of treatment options for canine inflammatory bowel disease. Some dogs have to take antibiotics to get rid of a bacterial infection. Medications are also used to decrease inflammation of the intestinal tract. Some dogs will have to take immunosuppressive drugs like corticosteroids in order to get relief.
Medications can also slow down function of the intestines or even help protect the lining from getting inflamed. Food trials are aimed at determining specific foods that may be causing canine inflammatory bowel disease. This condition can’t really be treated, as all of these treatment options help to manage it.