IBD(Inflammatory Bowel Disease) in cats is not a disease; instead, it is a syndrome that is most common in middle-aged cats. This is a condition in which your cat suffers from irritation and chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract. There are different causes of IBD in cats. This is a severe disease, and you have to be careful about it.
IBD can affect the gastrointestinal tract in different parts. To take proper care of your cat, you need to have a thorough understanding of this disease.
This article focuses on what IBD is and how you can differentiate between IBD and IBS. Moreover, different causes of this disease, its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment have also been explained in this article. Reading this article thoroughly will help you to take care of your cat better.
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What Will I Learn?
- 1 IBD In Cats (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
- 2 Difference Between IBD and IBS
- 3 5 Major Causes Of IBD In Cats
- 4 Signs And Symptoms Of IBD
- 5 3 Diagnostic Procedures For IBD In Cats
- 6 4 Treatment Methods Of IBD In Cats
- 7 Is it Possible to Treat IBD in Cats?
- 8 Is IBD Contagious to Humans?
- 9 IBD In Cats – Prognosis
- 10 Conclusion
IBD In Cats (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
IBD stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and it is related to the gastrointestinal cat. Your cat may suffer from long term stomach irritation or in intestines. Diseases because of IBD have been named according to the location where IBD affects. For example, if IBD has affected the small organs of your cat, the disease is called enteritis.
If IBD had affected colon, it is called colitis. If your cat has IBD, she will have a problem with the healthy digestion of food. This occurs when walls of intestines are infiltrated due to inflammatory cells. It also affects the functions of the intestine.
Due to the attack of inflammatory cells, the walls of the gastrointestinal tract thicken. As a result, a cat will not be able to move food along the tract and to absorb nutrients. Cats are usually susceptible to IBD between the ages of 5 to 12 years.
Difference Between IBD and IBS
Some people think that IBS is related to humans only. But it’s not true. Our feline friends can also suffer from it. You may think that IBD or IBS are the same, but they are different. IBD is considered an autoimmune disease, which means that it is related to antibodies. It is different from IBS in many ways.
In cats, stress colitis is often referred to as IBS. Different autoimmune issues and inflammation in the gut can be the reason for IBD in your cat. On the other hand, the main reason for IBS is stress. It can cause spastic colon and diarrhea in your cat.
Both conditions have different kinds of treatments, as well. IBS is usually treated by stress management, whereas medication or nutritional therapy are the solutions for IBD.
5 Major Causes Of IBD In Cats
IBD in cats can be caused because of several different factors. The exact causes of IBD in feline are still unknown. But experts have listed some of the factors that they think can be the cause of IBD in cats. The following are some of the reasons for IBD:
- Dietary proteins.
- Bacteria living in intestines.
- Environmental factors.
- Genetic factors.
- Cat’s immune system.
It is tough to identify a single cause of IBD in cats. Sometimes it can be due to food allergies, parasites, and overgrowth of bacteria. It can also be due to chronic infections, intolerance of diet, and autoimmune problems. IBD is characterized by different types of inflammatory infiltrates. It generally means to have a large number of inflammatory cells.
Signs And Symptoms Of IBD
As explained earlier, IBD can cause three different diseases:
- Gastritis (affecting stomach)
- Enteritis (affecting intestines)
- Colitis (affecting colons)
Or there can be any combination of these three diseases. Signs and symptoms of IBD vary according to the location where IBD has affected. These also depend on the severity of the disease. Some of the common signs that you can generally notice in your cat are:
Although it is not very common, you may notice an increase in appetite in your cat. This condition is generally attributed to malnutrition and less absorption of nutrients.
Chronic and intermittent vomiting is the very first sign of IBD that you will notice in your cat. However, most of the cat owners do not take it seriously, and so they don’t consult the vet. This is because, for them, vomiting is a normal and common occurrence in cats.
Sometimes, you may notice that your cat is not using her litter box for defecating. This is because; a cat may feel difficulty in defecating in the litter box because of soft stool. This is also an indication that your cat may be suffering from IBD.
3 Diagnostic Procedures For IBD In Cats
There are several ways in which IBD can be diagnosed in your cat. It usually depends upon the signs and symptoms that your cat shows. For example, if you notice weight loss or signs of gastrointestinal problems in your cat, there are reasons for it. It can be due to toxin or ingestion of plants, a bacterial infection, or because of medical reaction.
1. Laboratory Test:
The very first step that a vet takes is to carry out some laboratory tests to diagnose IBD in your cat. Several diagnostics are done to identify the disease. For example, a vet may conduct blood work or a fecal parasite exam. He may also carry out tests such as Feline Leukemia Virus Test or FIV Test.
2. Intestinal Biopsy:
Intestinal biopsy is the most effective way to diagnose IBD in cats. It identifies if there are any inflammatory cells present in the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. The presence of inflammatory cells is a sign of IBS. A vet can obtain intestinal biopsy through endoscopy, and for this, your cat has to be anesthetized.
3. Exploratory Surgeries:
Vets also prefer exploratory surgeries because they allow them to have a thorough examination of the gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, they can also have a complete analysis of all abdominal organs.
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4 Treatment Methods Of IBD In Cats
IBD is a disease that cannot be cured; instead, you have to manage it. Treatment is done to minimize the symptoms and also to maintain the quality of life. Different therapies are depending upon the cause. Some of these can be done through diet, while others can be done through medication.
In some cases, the underlying cause of the disease cannot be found, so the condition is called idiopathic. In this situation, the vet will usually treat your cat with medications to minimize the symptoms and signs. Moreover, these are also given in so that the inflammatory reaction can be suppressed.
One of the most common medications that are given initially is corticosteroids. If corticosteroid is not successful and doesn’t work for your cat, then the vet will use some other medicines. Cats are somewhat resistant to these, and you can give them a small dose to see the reaction.
Moreover, IBD in cats requires long term treatment, so you have to be patient. After some time, the vet can stop giving corticosteroids to see if there are still symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting. If there are still some signs, you will have to continue the medication.
Antibiotics are also given to cats, especially tylosin and metronidazole. These antibiotics are beneficial in reducing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. These are also effective in reducing bacterial and protozoa populations.
2. Treatment with Diet:
In some conditions, a change of diet also proves very useful if your cat has IBD. This can be done in two ways by using commercial food or a high fiber diet. Industrial food has a protein source that will be new for your cat. However, if it does not prove fruitful, you can switch to a high-fiber diet.
Treatment with diet can continue for 6 to 23 weeks, and you may have to give her home-cooked food. A home-cooked meal will only have one protein or carbohydrate, as recommended by the vet. During all this time you cannot change her diet and also you cannot give her any treat.
3. Deworm Your Cat:
Parasites are the reason for gastrointestinal tract inflammation. In some cases, fecal tests carried out by the vet is not helpful. They cannot always identify the presence of any parasite. In this condition, deworming your cat will help you to reduce the risk of these parasites.
4. Fecal Microbiota Transplants:
This is also known as stool transplantation. It’s a procedure in which a healthy donor’s stool is placed in the intestine of a cat having IBD. This kind of treatment is required when the number of healthy bacteria decreases in the intestine. This decrease in the number of bacteria causes diarrhea and other problem in cats.
Stool transplantation helps in maintaining the balance of healthy bacteria in the intestine. In this way, diarrhea and other problems can be treated.
Is it Possible to Treat IBD in Cats?
Managing this disease is more critical than its cure. However, it’s a long process, so you need to be patient. There are different treatments available for IBD, as explained above. You can treat it through diet or by using certain antibiotics. Identifying the cause of IBD in cats is essential, but it is difficult as well. So, if the vet does not know the cause of IBD in cats, then the treatment may become difficult.
There is no confirmed treatment, and you do not know what will work best for your cat. There are some ways only in which you can control the infection or symptoms.
Is IBD Contagious to Humans?
IBD is also known as Ulcerative Colitis, and it’s a group of diseases that are related to the gastrointestinal tract. IBD is not contagious for humans; however, some causes of it can be infectious. For example, bacteria and viruses cause inflammation in the intestines, which can prove contagious.
Similar to the case of our feline friends, there is no proper cure or treatment of ulcerative colitis. You can
IBD In Cats – Prognosis
It is essential to control IBD for a comfortable and healthy life of your cat. You need to properly manage this disease because the symptoms will come and go. Keeping a complete check is essential, and your cat can be treated through medications or diet. A vet can also have a comprehensive analysis to maintain long term medications if needed.
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IBD is a situation that is related to the gastrointestinal tract of your cat. It’s a combination of different diseases basically and needs proper treatment as well. Managing this disease is more important than a cure because there is no adequate treatment for it.
Taking care of your cat’s health is essential, and for this, you need to have a complete understanding. There are some of the possible causes, signs, and symptoms, and some treatments of IBD that can be done.