Feline Inflamatory Bowel Disease

"Feline inflamatory bowel disease is a term used to describe inflammation in the digestive system. The goal of treatment is to calm and normalize the digestive system by with-holding food, gradually changing the diet and possibly adding natural or homeopathic supplements to the diet."

Feline Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition in which the stomach and/or intestine becomes chronically inflamed. IBD is sometimes called irritable bowel disease. The cause is not known; genetics, nutrition, infections, and immune system abnormalities may all play a part.

The disease goes by many different names depending on the location of the inflammation in the digestive tract:

Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Enterocolitis: describes inflammation of the cells
Enterocolitis: Inflammation in the large and small intestine
Enteritis: Small intestine inflammation
Colitis: Large intestine inflammation

Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms

Feline inflamatory bowel disease symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. There may be mucous and/or blood in the stool. Symptoms depend on where the inflammation lies - if the stomach is inflamed, vomiting usually results, while diarrhea results from an inflamed colon. Symptoms may come and go. If symptoms are severe, cats may become depressed, stop eating, and lose weight.

Feline Inflamatory Bowel Disease Diagnosis

Based on your cat’s symptoms, your vet may suspect inflammatory bowel disease. The only way to diagnose IBD for certain is with a biopsy, a test that involves taking a sample of the intestinal wall and examining it under a microscope. Your vet may decide to do this test at some point, but first he or she will want to rule out other problems.

He or she will start by doing some blood tests. If your cat has IBD, her blood tests will probably come back normal. If the inflammation of the intestines is severe, the neighboring liver and pancreas may also become inflamed, resulting in increased liver enzymes and amylase (produced by the pancreas). If vomiting has been severe, electrolytes may be out of balance.

Your vet may also do an x-ray. Your cat’s intestines may appear thicker than normal and there may appear to be more gas than normal in the digestive tract, but the vet can’t diagnose IBD from an x-ray.

Your vet will also want to examine a stool sample for intestinal parasites. When all of these tests come back normal, your vet may decide to do a biopsy, or may go ahead and diagnosis IBD without doing the biopsy.

Lastly, your veterinarian will try and rule out other causes such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

Feline Inflamatory Bowel Disease Treatment

Anti-inflammatory medications are used to reduce the inflammation. Anti-motility and anti-spasmodic medications are prescribed to stop diarrhea.

Inflammatory bowel disease symptoms can often be managed by diet. A low-fat, high fiber diet is helpful. Cats should also eat a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates. There are commercial diets designed for cats with feline inflammatory bowel disease, but you can also feed your cat a homemade diet if you prefer such as boiled chicken and rice. Talk to your vet about the best food for your cat.

There are homeopathic/natural remedies available that could be of help with the symptoms of IBD. Products such as RunnyPoo Relief is a a natural remedy containing herbal and homeopathic ingredients which are carefully selected to maintain digestive balance, firm stools and healthy bowel functioning.

Kaopectate can also be an effective way to help your cat overcome diarrhea and also provide a calming effect. Use one teaspoon for every 10 pounds that your cat weighs. Put the medication in a turkey baster and then squirt it to the back of the lounge. Do this 2x to 3x per day. Do not use pepto-bismol for cats as it tends to upset a cat's digestive system.


Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Nash, Holly DVM

The Frustrations of IBD
Snider, Lexiann

Cornell Feline Veterinary Center


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