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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Dogs

By: Dr. Erika de Papp

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Optimal treatment for your pet involves a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve.

  • Administer all prescribed medications as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are having problems treating your pet.

  • Strict adherence to a new diet is imperative to successful dietary therapy. The prescribed diet should be the only food that your pet eats. This means that all treats (unless made of the same formulation as the new diet), table scraps and natural chew toys or flavored toys must be eliminated. It is important to notify your veterinarian if your pet is not adjusting to the new diet and is not eating appropriate quantities. Problems with palatability may require changing the diet or even formulating a special home-cooked diet in certain cases.

  • IBS can be a frustrating disorder because of its chronic and intermittent nature. Flare-ups should be expected. It is important to try to determine if recurrence of signs coincides with any specific activities or changes in your pet's environment. All possible stressors should be minimized as much as possible.

  • IBS is not a life threatening disorder and will not shorten your pet's life expectancy. Careful observations and coordinated care with your veterinarian will allow you to determine the proper therapy for your pet and hopefully minimize flare-ups.

  • Once a full work-up has been completed, the need for follow-up care will depend on how your pet is doing at home. If signs are becoming more frequent or worsening, repeat diagnostics may be necessary.

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