Monday, March 2, 2015

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Dogs

Inflammatory bowel disease [IBD] is a condition in which the
digestive tract is chronically infiltrated by inflammatory cells, some that invade the wall of the stomach and intestine.  Symptoms include vomiting, chronic diarrhea and weight loss.
Some breeds are more prone to IBD than others.

Although it's unknown how many dogs suffer from IBD, an unpublished study by Morris Animal Foundation that surveyed a thousand blind guide dog handlers who had worked with numerous dogs over several decades identified the most common health issues in current and previous guide dogs. The study found that 5% of working guides suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Researchers know that significantly lower bacterial diversity as well as distinct microbial communities are observed in dogs with IBD. Dr. Jan Suchodolski, a veterinarian researcher in biomedical sciences at Texas A & M University was part of research team that conducted a study with dogs suffering from IBD. They wanted to know if traditional treatments - steroids and special diets - create (directly or indirectly) a more robust microbial community.

After treatment, sick dogs felt a lot better.  However, there was no change in their gut microbiota. It could be that microorganisms are compromised by the condition; they do not trigger it.  Researchers also suspect that biological environmental stresses are involved in ways not yet understood.  

The researchers said, "In conclusion, this study demonstrates intestinal dysbiosis and altered serum metabolite profiles in dogs with IBD. But medical therapy doesn't seem to affect the intestinal dysbiosis."

It remains a conundrum and more study is being conducted. When it's published, I'll summarize the results here.


  1. My guy has problems with his system and I am always throwing out food since he is sensitive to certain ones. I do give him some yogurt once in a while and that seems to help. With all the new foods and treats out there, it is hard to decide what is best. He is also an aggressive chewer, so still trying to find something that is good for him without breaking any teeth.


  2. MY girls seem to have reasonably healthy digestive systems, their little poo-poos are always well formed and only the occasional loose situation occurs.....I am very careful about what they eat, I don't use commercial foods, except for a few 'Science-diet' biscuits (gum care), but I find that chicken necks work just as well. The larger beef neck bones are no longer on the menu, as one of my Schipps was a bit too enthusiastic and ended up with a few loose teeth and had to have them removed. I cook up a 3kg meat/vege loaf about once a month, freeze portions, for their dinner, raw or cooked meat/chicken for breakfast, a couple of small chicken necks for lunch, try to keep things as natural for them as possible.....
    I think some commercial treats/foods have a lot to do with upsetting the natural order of things....on the odd occasion when a neighbour we visited gave them a treat, they always ended up with diarrohea, so definitely no rubbish for my girls.....

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