Feline IBD, also known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, can cause not only severe diarrhea in your cat, but severe vomiting as well.
This can lead to a very rapid dehydration in your cat, and if it is not treated, could very quickly threaten your pet’s life.
Cats of all ages are subject to this disease but it most often affects middle aged or older cats.
This is a condition in your cat that may never be cured, but it can be controlled.
Feline IBD is also a very frustrating disease simply because there may be so many different causes and treating it involves a lot of trial and error.
However, there are several natural remedies that can help with this inflammation until the correct cause can be found.
This is a condition in your cat where the stomach or the intestine is chronically attacked by inflammatory cells. In some cases in may be both.
These cells are associated with inflammation and may be caused by an infection or in some cases, an injury.
There may be four different inflammatory cells that may be causing this condition and all of them will have to be tested to find the actual cause.
The first set of cells include lymphocytes and plasmacytes, which are the cells that have the responsibly of protecting your cats immune system.
It will be extremely important to have these tested very carefully, as they accumulate only in the gastrointestinal tract if the actual result is Feline IBD.
However, if they spread to the liver, they can cause hepatitis and if spread to the pancreas, they cause pancreatitis.
Eosinophils are the second set of cells that may be producing the inflammation. If these cells are infected, the inflammation is usually more severe.
This is a type of white blood cells that are most commonly associated with allergic reactions or with parasitism.
If infected, they are especially dangerous as they circulate in the blood and can infiltrate your cat’s tissues.
The next set of cells are called neutrophils and these cells hold the responsibility for destroying the attacks from bacteria and well as cleaning up any damaged tissues.
Because of their role in fighting bacteria, they will have to be tested for and ruled out in finding the correct treatment.
The final type of cell is a fibrous scar like tissue that will occur as a result of chronic inflammation. However, this is very rare in cats.
It will be very important to determine which type of cell is actually attacking your cat’s intestine to properly identify the type of bowel disease that your cat has.
However, what makes feline IBD so frustrating is that the actual cause is unknown. It can be caused by hereditary issues, infections, or some type of weakness in your pet’s immune system.
But in the majority of cases it is your cat’s diet.
The symptoms of Feline IBD will almost always be diarrhea and vomiting.
However, it will vary depending in which part of the gastrointestinal tract has been affected by these invading cells.
If the upper portion of the tract has been infected, vomiting will be the major symptom.
If the colon area has been infected, it will be diarrhea. The symptoms will also cause your cat to defecate much more frequently but each time they defecate the stool becomes smaller.
Stools may be loose and there may also be mucous or even blood found in the discharge.
Adding to the frustration with Feline IBD is the fact that these symptoms may be on and off occurrences, but if severe, it will become chronic.
Once this happens, your pet may stop eating and drinking which causes them to dehydrate much quicker.
One of the telling signs that your cat may have this disease is if they suddenly stop using their litter box, and this is usually a sign of depression and they have given up.
Diagnosing Feline IBD
Feline IBD is quite difficult to diagnose as several potential cause will have to be ruled out first.
In doing this, your veterinarian will take complete blood cell counts, run serum biochemistries, test serum levels, and also test for feline leukemia as well as immunodeficiency virus.
They will also take urine samples, as well as test with ultrasound.
However, the most complete test will be a mucosal biopsy where small pieces of the intestine are actually examined once removed.
Treatments for Feline IBD will involve both medications and diet changes. Food trial is usually the first treatment and it will not be easy as it can take several months to test.
You will need to feed your cat both a protein and a carbohydrate food source that they have never eaten.
This could include turkey burger, venison, duck, potatoes, or rice. During this testing, they can have nothing else including treats of any kind.
If this does not work effectively, a high fiber diet may be tested if the colon area is where the infection is found. If it is the small intestine that is affected, you will want to use a low fiber diet.
Low fat diets and diets low in gluten have also been very successful if nothing else works. Fatty acids from fish oil have also proved to work in difficult cases.
Medications that will be used will include corticosteroids as they have both anti-inflammatory as well as immune suppressive properties.
They also help to stimulate the appetite as well as enhancing sodium and water absorption which will be critical with your cat with this disease. Corticosteroids have very few side effects on cats.
There may also be several types of antibiotics that can be used.
However, there are also several natural forms of treatments that you can give your cat to help with this disease.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid which naturally fuels intestinal cells as well as maintaining the integrity of mucosal cells.
This natural supplement also helps to stimulate and well as enhances the existing mucosal functions.
Slippery Elm is another natural supplement that provides a soothing protection for the mucus membranes of the intestinal tract. DGL, which is a licorice extract, is also extremely effective.
It helps to increase the flow of blood to the intestines which helps the healing process; and as a result reduces the muscle spasms that are associated with this disease.
Feline IBD will rarely be cured, but in most cases it can be controlled so your cat can live a much more comfortable life.
Relapses can and will occur if you deviate your cats diet once it has been controlled.
Exercising your cat regularly will also help your cat to relieve both muscle tension as well as joint pain that is often associated with this disease.
But the major battle is fought with the diet and supplements.