What is it?
• Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is caused by an infiltration of inflammatory cells into the walls of a cat’s gastrointestinal tract.
• The symptoms of IBD can also vary depending on the area of the digestive tract that is affected by the disease.
• Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, and poor appetite.
• Some cats experience gas, bloating, and perhaps even constipation.
What causes it?
• IBD occurs when immune response cells are called to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
• Chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract can occur as a result of a specific disease, such as parasitic, bacterial infection or food allergy.
• However, the cause of IBD in many cases is considered to be “idiopathic,” or unknown.
What tests are needed?
• Routine laboratory tests
• Fecal examination for parasites
• Specialized test of intestinal function
• Abdominal x-ray / ultrasound
• Biopsy of intestinal tract and microscopic evaluation of tissue
How is it treated?
• The first treatment pet owners should try is a change in the animal's diet.
• The treatment of IBD usually involves a combination of change in diet and the use of various medications.
• Your veterinarian may recommend a hypoallergenic diet.
• It may take several weeks or longer for cats to improve after diet change and/or antibiotics.
What follow-up care is needed?
• Follow up exams and laboratory testing will likely be needed to monitor responses to treatment.
• If no improvement is seen in 6 weeks with change in diet and steroids, the dosage of steroids may be increased.
• After symptoms cease it may be possible to slowly wean the animal off the medication with advice from your veterinarian.
• For most cats, the prognosis is good and they respond well to prescription drugs and medication.