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Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease aka Feline IBD


Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease aka Feline IBD

Bubba Before IBD Treatment

Franny Syufy

What is Feline IBD?:

Feline Irritable Bowel Disease (disorder, or syndrome) are terms that describe a group of gastrointestinal disorders which display as inflammation of the lining (mucosa) of the digestive tract. Feline IBD can occur in the large intestine (colitis), the small intestine (enteritis), or the stomach (gastritis).

What are the Symptoms of Feline IBD?:

The most common symptoms of Feline IBD are chronic vomiting and diarrhea, symptoms which can be present in a number of other conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, chronic renal failure, or pancreatitis. In some cases, inappetance, accompanied by weight loss, may occur. These symptoms are also common in other conditions.

Since older cats may be afflicted with one or more of these conditions, it is important for the cat's owner to investigate continuing symptoms, rather than to assume they are caused by the existing disease.

How is Feline IBD Diagnosed?:

  • Rule out Other Conditions
    with blood tests, x-rays, radiographs, ultrasound, and/or stool examination.
  • Palpation of the Abdomen
    Although not definitive, sometimes the bowel inflammation can actually be felt as thickness of the bowel, as was the case with one of my cats.
  • X-Ray
    To confirm the diagnosis.
  • Fibreoptic Endoscopy
    A small biopsy sample can be obtained through this method, which is performed under general anesthesia.

How is Feline IBD Treated?:

  • Medical Therapy
    A combination of drugs may be used, including corticosteroids (such as prednisone) to relieve the bowel inflammation, an anti-emitic (our cat gets Reglan) to control vomiting, and in some occasions, antibiotics.
  • Diet
    Since Feline IBD reflects some cats' inability to tolerate certain foods, dietary changes play a large part in control of the disease.
Veterinarians will often start with an limited ingredient diet containing protein and carbohydrate sources the cat has not eaten before, such as rabbit, venison, or even kangaroo meat. Commercial limited ingredient diet products are available at many veterinary clinics, as well as online. Compare Prices

Finally, many caregivers of IBD cats swear by the benefits of a raw diet in controlling IBD. The Yahoo IBD mail list provides tons of information on this topic.


Disclaimer: As with all medically-related articles, I must inform you that I am not a veterinarian. This article is not intended to be a definitive answer to any questions you might have about Feline IBD, but is meant to give you a starting place to do your own research so you can make an informed decision, should it ever become necessary. I suggest you start with the more detailed articles referenced above, as well as those in the "Suggested Reading" sidebar.

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