Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to the condition which occurs when cells involved in inflammation and immune response are called into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This infiltration thickens the bowel lining and interferes with absorption and motility (the ability of the bowel to contract and move food). With abnormal ability to contract and abnormal ability to absorb, the bowel’s function is disrupted. Chronic vomiting results if the infiltration is in the stomach or higher areas of the small intestine. A watery diarrhoea with weight loss results if the infiltration is in the lower small intestine. A mucous diarrhoea with fresh blood (colitis) results if the infiltration occurs in the large intestine.
A biopsy will differentiate IBD from other conditions such as pancreatic enzyme insufficiency and intestinal cancer.
Treatment of IBD is with a special diet and/or anti-inflammatory therapy. Some animals are able to eventually discontinue treatment or only require treatment during flare-ups. Others require some medication at all times.
As stated, dietary manipulation may also be helpful in the management of IBD. Fat restriction is important, as fat prolongs the time food spends in the stomach. The next step is to use a protein source with which your pet is inexperienced. Such diets are typically based on duck, venison or rabbit proteins. Insoluble fibres are also helpful. They increase faecal bulk, which stimulates more normal motility of the intestine.
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