Animal Update: Inflammatory Bowel Disease

(KCBS) – KCBS’ Jeff Bell talks to Dr. Jack Aldridge, Director of Veterinary Services at The San Francisco SPCA about this disease in pets.

Inflammatory bowel disease, or “IBD,” is a condition in which inflammatory cells penetrate the stomach or intestines causing them to be overly sensitive.

It’s actually one of the most common causes of chronic vomiting and diarrhea in cats and dogs.

Symptoms will vary depending on what part of the GI tract is affected, but generally vomiting is the result from an inflammation of the upper GI tract and stomach and diarrhea and frequent bowel movements are common with colon inflammation.

Exact causes are unknown.  Genetics, infectious agents or malfunctioning immune systems could all be factors.

IBD is treatable, but it must first be identified as the culprit.  A confirmed diagnosis could involve fecal analysis, blood tests, radiographs, ultrasounds and often a biopsy of the GI tract.  And then we work up the treatment ladder, from dietary trials, to antimicrobials, and then drugs such as corticosteroids or other drugs which suppress the overactive inflammatory reaction.   It can be difficult to cure IBD, but it usually can be controlled with diligent veterinary treatment and a careful guardian.

Animal Update airs on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM on Sundays at 1:35 p.m., 3:35 p.m., and 9:21 p.m.   

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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