Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in cats is a disorder that results from sections of the gastrointestinal tract having inflammatory cells. With time, the inflammation results in the intestines becoming less effective at absorbing nutrients.
The result of this is your cat suffers from vomiting, weight loss, or diarrhea. The early signs of IBD tend to be very subtle, which means that the condition can go undiagnosed for months or even years when the cat develops more severe symptoms.
It is important to realize that there are several types of IBD with different types characterized by the part of the gastrointestinal tract affected and the cell causing the inflammation. There are some causes of gastrointestinal inflammation that cannot be described as “real IBD” and you need to consult your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis of IBD.
How cats develop IBD
Most people do not understand the cause of IBD and it can be attributed to diet, genetics, intestinal infection and also some abnormalities in the cat’s immune system. The intestine processes large food amounts as well as bacterial particles known as antigens. The cat’s body can identify the antigens as “foreign”, which can cause an abnormal allergic reaction. The result of this situation is that the intestine lining is invaded by inflammatory cells and the inflammation affects the ability to absorb and digest nutrients. Common antigens include preservatives and proteins from food, parasites, and viruses.
The symptoms of IBD
Some signs to look out for include occasional vomiting and diarrhea that your cat may experience over weeks or months. The symptoms tend to progress slowly but they can be sudden and severe during the advanced stages of the condition. Most cats experience a combination of IDB symptoms as they involve the colon, small intestine, and stomach. Note that if your cat is frequently vomiting hairballs, it is not normal. While hair is not digestible, it should be able to pass completely through the intestinal tract. If your cat is vomiting hairballs frequently, it can be an indication of inflammation.
How IBD is diagnosed
Vomiting and diarrhea in cats can be due to different conditions; this means that diagnosing IBD can be difficult. Eliminating the other possibilities is necessary before coming up with an accurate diagnosis. To diagnose the condition, various tests including a chemistry panel, a blood count, urinalysis, culture and fecal examination as well as chest and abdomen x-rays. In some cases, an abdominal ultrasound is necessary to screen for any metabolic disorders, intestinal parasites, cancer, dietary allergies, and fungal, bacterial or viral infections.
Treating cat IBD
In most cases, cats that have IBD require medication as well as dietary management as a way to get rid of the symptoms. To come up with the best management plan, you need to visit a veterinary clinic in Briarcliff Manor, New York where you can get the best advice. If dietary management causes an improvement in the cat’s health, the cause of IBD is an adverse reaction to particular food. Highly digestible diets help cats with IBD that get all the nutrients while reducing diarrhea.