At Pet Doctor, our vets often treat dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and while there is no cure for this condition, in many cases IBD can be managed successfully. Here we look at the prognosis for dogs suffering from IBD.
IBD in Dogs
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that can affect your dog's gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) including the stomach and intestines.
IBD impairs your dog's ability to absorb nutrients and pass waste normally from its system. This inability to process food properly can result in some uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite.
Treatment for IBD in Dogs
There is no cure for IBD in dogs however, your veterinarian can prescribe medications and dietary modifications that may help to control your dog's condition.
That said, pet parents need to be aware that IBD treatment is often a process of trial and error. It is a tricky condition to diagnose and treat, and as such, it can take time to find the right combination of medications and diet to address your pet's symptoms.
Once the condition is effectively managed, many dogs can stop taking medicine daily and may need it only when symptoms flare up. Below are some of the treatments most commonly used to control inflammatory bowel disease in dogs.
Parasites and bacterial infections can often lead to inflammatory bowel disease in dogs, and fecal exams can sometimes miss the presence of these issues in your dog's GI tract. Deworming may be an effective way to reduce your dog's IBD symptoms.
Symptoms of IBD in dogs can often be effectively managed by nurturing and maintaining the microbiome in your dog's GI Tract (the billions of bacteria that live in the intestines). Your dog's microbiome can be improved through supplements such as prebiotic fibers or postbiotic end products and good nutrition.
Prescription diets are often helpful in treating IBD in dogs. Every dog is different and these diets can take several different forms depending on your pet's symptoms and what is causing your dog's inflammatory bowel disease. Some of the formulas available to help treat dogs with IBD include:
- Novel proteins (avoiding typical chicken and beef formulations)
- Foods that are more easily digestible
- High fiber
- Hydrolyzed protein formulas (a protein that has been broken down into small components is less likely to cause adverse food reactions in some dogs)
B12 is an essential vitamin for dogs and people. If your dog's GI tract isn't absorbing nutrients as it should, your dog could suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 injections can help to keep your canine companion feeling happy and energetic.
Many dogs can be successfully treated through diet alone, but in more severe cases medications will likely be required. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to help treat IBD in dogs. Antibiotics can help to reduce inflammation and restore the normal balance of the microbiome in your dog's GI tract. In some dogs, steroids can also prove helpful in fighting inflammation.
IBD in Dogs Prognosis
It’s important to have your dog's IBD diagnosed, managed, and closely monitored as soon - and as much - as possible to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes.
If your dog is diagnosed with IBD the trick will be to stick with the trial-and-error phase of treatment until the right combination of treatments has been established. If your pet's IBD can be managed successfully the prognosis is good.
By keeping your canine companion on the modified diet that works best for them, over time you may be able to reduce your dog's medications, and possibly even stop daily medications with the supervision of your veterinarian.
Some dogs will do well for several years on the same diet and medication program, however, other dogs require changes to their treatment every few months. Sadly, some dogs do not respond to treatment at all.
Diagnosis is essential when it comes to your dog's symptoms of IBD since severe forms of the condition can result in intestinal cancer.
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.