Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders that involve infiltration of the gastrointestinal tract by inflammatory cells (white blood cells). IBD can affect both the upper (stomach and small intestine) and lower (colon) gastrointestinal tracts.
IBD is the most common cause of chronic (persistent) vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The cause of IBD is currently unknown.
The most common form of IBD is usually seen in middle aged to older animals; however, there are some forms of IBD that are seen in young dogs, often less than 5 years old. Breeds that may be at an increased risk for development of IBD include the German shepherd
, boxer, shar-pei soft coated wheaton terrier and Rottweiler.
IBD can cause a range of clinical signs from mild gastrointestinal illness to debilitating disease. What to Watch For Vomiting
Lack of appetite or increased appetite
Noisy gut sounds
Blood or mucus in the stools
Straining to defecate
History and physical exam
Complete blood count (CBC)
Fecal tests for parasites, protozoa and bacteria
Trypsin-like immunoreactivity (test of pancreatic function)
Tests for bacterial overgrowth in the intestine
Corticosteroids for anti-inflammatory effects and to suppress the immune system
Sulfasalazine for anti-inflammatory effects in the colon
Other immunosuppressive (suppress the immune system) drugs
Home Care and Prevention
Give all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian. Careful adherence to dietary recommendations is crucial. Feed only the prescribed diet. Do not feed table scraps or other foods, including natural chew toys (rawhides).
Observe for inappropriate response to treatment or worsening of clinical signs at home. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea, continued weight loss, lack of appetite and lethargy should prompt a call to your veterinarian.
There are no measures that can be taken with respect to preventing the development of IBD. Prevention of relapses after initial treatment may require long-term to life-long therapy.