Concerned pet owners frequently visit our Monterey Park clinic when their dogs exhibit signs of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Though there is no cure for the condition, in many cases, we can work to manage it successfully. Today, we check in on the prognosis for dogs with IBD.
What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
This chronic condition can impact your dog's gastrointestinal (GI) tract, including the intestines and stomach. IBD can impair your pup's ability to process nutrients and pass waste normally. This inability to properly digest their food can lead to many uncomfortable and unpleasant physical symptoms, including weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, constipation, and fever.
How is IBD in dogs treated?
Although there's no cure for IBD in dogs, your vet may be able to prescribe diet changes and medications to help manage the condition. It's critical to take time to discover the right combination of diet and medications to address your furry best friend's symptoms.
Since you and your vet identify the suitable approach and can effectively handle the symptoms, many dogs might no longer need daily medications. They might only need it when their symptom worsens.
Here are some common treatments often used to manage inflammatory bowel disease in dogs:
Your dog's intestines are home to billions of tiny bacteria called microbiome. These little guys play a big role in your dog's health. If you take good care of them by giving your dog prebiotic fiber supplements or postbiotic end products, symptoms may improve. Good nutrition will be important to your pup's long-term prognosis.
Prescription diets can often be helpful as well. Remember that each dog is different, and these diets can come in several different forms depending on your pet's issues and the underlying cause of the IBD. Different formulas available that can help treat dogs with IBD include:
- Foods that are high in fiber
- Easily digestible foods
- Hydrolyzed protein formulas (protein that's been broken down into small components, which are less likely to cause an adverse food reaction in some dogs)
- Novel proteins (avoid typical beef and chicken formulations)
If a parasite or bacterial infection is causing your dog's IBD, deworming may be an effective way to reduce your dog's IBD symptoms (fecal exams can sometimes miss these infections in your dog's GI tract).
B12 is an essential vitamin for dogs. If your pup'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 energetic and happy.
Many dogs can be successfully treated through diet alone. However, in more severe cases, medications may be required. Vets commonly prescribe antibiotics to help treat IBD in dogs. Antibiotics may help to reduce inflammation and restore the normal balance of microbiome in your dog's GI tract. In some cases, steroids may also prove helpful in fighting inflammation.
What is the life expectancy for dogs with IBD?
To ensure the best treatment outcomes for your dogs with IBD, diagnosing, managing, and monitoring their condition as quickly and consistently as possible is crucial.
If your dog is diagnosed with IBD, the trick will be to stick with the trial-and-error phase of treatment until just the right combination of treatments has been established. The prognosis is good if your pet's IBD can be managed successfully.
By maintaining a modified diet that suits your dog's needs, you may eventually be able to reduce their medication and, in some cases, even discontinue daily medication with your vet's supervision.
Many dogs will do well for a number of years on the same diet and medication treatment, whereas others may require changes to their treatment every few months. Sadly, some dogs do not respond to treatment.
Diagnosing IBD in your dog is essential, as severe forms of the condition can progress to intestinal cancer if left untreated.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.