Inflammatory bowel disease in cats is a condition that causes the bowel to become chronically inflamed. It is often abbreviated to IBD.
The inflammation caused by IBD can have different names depending on which area of the gastrointestinal tract is affected. It is called colitis when the large intestine is affected, gastritis when the stomach is affected, and enteritis when the small intestine is affected.
If you see the signs of IBD in your cat, then you have to see a vet for a correct diagnosis and treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of inflammatory bowel disease in cats.
Inflammatory bowel disease symptoms in cats
The main symptom of inflammatory bowel disease in cats is weight loss.
In addition to weight loss, a cat with IBD may also experience the following symptoms:
- Eat either more or less than usual
In general, a cat with IBD can also become more withdrawn and lethargic.
Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats
The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease in cats is not well understood.
Studies seem to suggest that a cat’s diet, immune system, and bacteria in a cat’s gut can all play a role and that IBD could develop as a result of the interaction of these factors.
Studies also show that IBD is more likely to affect older or adult cats; although no races are considered more at risk for developing the disease.
Treatments for inflammatory bowel disease in cats
When it comes to treating inflammatory bowel disease, your veterinarian will first try to diagnose your cat by ruling out certain other common conditions. This process is known as elimination diagnosis.
Some other problems that veterinarians want to rule out include:
- Gastrointestinal parasites
- Viral infections
- Food allergies or intolerances
Laboratory blood tests can help your veterinarian rule out these conditions. After that, your vet may suggest an ultrasound or even a biopsy to find out what’s going on with the colon.
Your veterinarian may prescribe corticosteroids, but veterinarians often consider changing a cat’s diet to be the best way to treat IBD. Your veterinarian can help you plan changes to your cat’s diet based on your pet’s specific needs, rather than a fixed diet or food brand.
Has your cat ever had IBD? Has your vet advised you to change your cat’s diet? Let us know in the comments section below!