IBD in cats: feline inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease in cats is a gastrointestinal pathology of unknown origin. Sometimes it is accompanied by inflammation of the pancreas and/or liver. It is very important to make a correct diagnosis so as not to confuse it with other diseases and apply the appropriate treatment.

Inflammatory bowel disease in cats or IBD in cats is a chronic inflammatory disease of the small intestine. It usually affects middle-aged cats (6-7 years) and older. What happens with this pathology is that inflammatory cells infiltrate the mucous layer of the intestine.

The causes of IBD in cats are not clear, but several hypotheses can be deduced:

  • An abnormal interaction between the immune system and intestinal flora.
  • Autoimmune alteration against the intestinal epithelium itself.
  • Response to bacterial, parasitic, or dietary antigens in the gut.
  • Failure in the permeability of the intestinal mucosa that causes greater exposure to these antigens.

Although it is a more common disease in middle-aged cats, there is no specific age at which it can occur. No differences have been recorded by sex, but it has been seen to occur more often in Siamese, Persian and Himalayan cats.

Symptoms of IBD in cats

The symptoms are similar to those of intestinal lymphoma.

  • Weight loss.
  • Vomiting.
  • Abnormal appetite.
  • Blood or mucus in the stool.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • General weakness.
  • Lethargy.
  • Dehydration.
  • Bad coat.

It is very important to go quickly to the veterinarian to diagnose the disease and not confuse the symptoms with those of lymphoma.

Diagnosis of IBD in cats

The veterinarian will conduct a blood test and take a stool sample to look for intestinal parasites. It is also common to resort to abdominal ultrasound, which usually shows a thickened small intestine. Biopsy is another technique used for diagnosis. It is done by endoscopy or, preferably, exploratory laparotomy.

The tests carried out aim to rule out other possible pathologies. The definitive diagnosis and differential with lymphoma will be obtained with the histopathological analysis of the samples obtained by endoscopy biopsy or laparotomy.

Treatment of IBD in cats

Inflammatory bowel disease in cats has treatment, but it must be adjusted to the evolution of the animal. It is shown that cats with this disease who switch to a hypoallergenic diet usually notice improvements. This is because it decreases the substrate for bacteria to grow, increases intestinal absorption and reduces osmotic potential.

As for medications, if a low amount of vitamin B12 is demonstrated, it should be supplemented to doses of 250 micrograms subcutaneously once a week for 6 weeks. Typically, veterinarians usually prescribe antibiotics for 2 weeks. On the other hand, corticosteroids such as prednisolone are used at immunosuppressive doses.

This article is purely informative and is based on generalizations, so we always recommend from Hogarmania to go to the veterinarian for a correct diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

IBD in cats: life expectancy

The first thing to clarify is that this disease is treated but not cured. The treatment aims to provide the cat with the best quality of life and, although symptoms are not eradicated, many cats respond well to dietary and medical treatment.

Food for cats with IBD

In any case, it will be the veterinarian who indicates which is the best food for cats with IBD depending on your particular case.

Frequently Asked Questions About Health in Cats

How do I know if my cat has an intestinal disease?

There are several symptoms that can be a sign of a digestive problem in your feline:

  • Regurgitation or vomiting with hairballs.
  • Bad breath.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Reluctance to eat or have trouble eating.
  • Weight loss or abdominal pain.

How to improve the intestinal flora of a cat?

The best way to maintain gut flora is with the help of natural probiotics. In the case of cats, choose one specifically designed for them.

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By Lee Chun Hei