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Addiction Foods offers many nutritional solutions for pets with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  We carefully select ingredients that have low-allergenic properties, as described below. After your veterinarian has diagnosed your dog or cat with IBD, you’ll be working closely with them as you find the best way to manage the disease in your individual pet. Feel free to print this article and take it with you when you meet with the vet to talk about the possible dietary changes you’ll be making.

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a term that actually refers to several diseases that cause chronic intestinal problems. The lining of the intestines becomes inflamed due to an overactive immune system and overgrowth of intestinal bacteria, which causes the body to no longer properly digest foods and absorb nutrients.

There are still a lot of unknowns with IBD, but we do know that it is an autoimmune disorder and some forms of IBD may be genetic.

What are symptoms of IBD?

The most common symptoms in cats and dogs are chronic vomiting, watery stool, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, weight loss, depression, loss of appetite, blood or mucous in the feces, and difficulty with bowel movements. Some cats start defecating outside their litter boxes, a common response when cats have digestive upsets.

How is IBD diagnosed?

Most veterinarians diagnose IBD after ruling out other causes for a pet’s symptoms. This usually includes an extensive physical exam along with blood, urine, and stool tests. Doctors might also do radiographs, ultrasounds, or biopsies.

What causes IBD?

Scientists don’t know the exact cause of IBD and they suspect there are several factors involved. Some people suspect that IBD isn’t truly a disease, but is just a catchall diagnosis used for a handful of intestinal conditions with similar symptoms.

The most likely culprits are diet, parasites, bacteria, genetics, and adverse drug reactions.

How does diet affect IBD?

When you’re told that your pet has IBD, trying a different diet is the best way to manage the disease and alleviate symptoms. Clearly management and treatment of IBD are critical so that dogs and cats are able to properly digest foods and absorb nutrients. Following the dietary guidelines below is often all that people need to do to manage IBD in their dog or cat.

Veterinarians usually initially suggest doing “diet trials” with hypoallergenic foods as the first step in addressing IBD. Eliminating foods with common allergens –such as chicken, beef, and lamb – and feeding novel or uncommon food sources is often the only change necessary.

Foods that are “low residue”, meaning they are easily digestible and nutrients are easily absorbed, are also prescribed. All of the foods we make are low residue.

Increasing soluble fiber and reducing insoluble fibers is another useful dietary change. Feeding canned or raw food is the best way to eliminate the majority of insoluble plant fibers. Many grains contribute to IBD symptoms.

Reducing fat intake is also frequently recommended for animals with IBD. Dogs and cats do need some fat in their diets, but too much fat interacts with bacteria in the intestine.

Increasing moisture content in the diet or finding ways to enhance water absorption is also useful. Switching to canned or raw food diets is the best way to increase moisture in your pet’s diet.

Many holistic veterinarians also recommend adding prebiotic or probiotic digestive enzymes to help restore and maintain healthy intestinal flora.

Addiction Foods provides excellent options for pets with IBD. We pioneered the development and formulation of hypoallergenic pet foods, and our foods currently have the widest range of novel protein sources, including Brushtail, Kangaroo, Venison, Eel and King Salmon. We are committed to using low-fat meats such as Kangaroo, Venison, Rabbit, Buffalo, Chicken, and Turkey. Our Meaty Bites Treats are also low in fat. Addiction Foods are grain-free and include soluble fiber sources: potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. Plus, several of our formulas include probiotics: Viva La Venison CatViva La Venison DogLe Lamb DogSalmon Bleu Puppy, and Viva La Venison Puppy.

How else is IBD managed and treated?

Veterinarians sometimes prescribe medication to help reduce inflammation, suppress the immune system, and reduce an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria. Many medications have side effects or secondary conditions, so animal animals taking these drugs need to be closely monitored.

There are many advantages when IBD is managed by making dietary changes alone. It saves lots of money in the long term by not paying for medication and also by not having to treat and manage side effects or secondary conditions of pharmaceutical treatments.

For more information / Sources

Bissett, Sally A. “Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Review of Diagnosis and Management”. North Carolina State University- College of Veterinary Medicine. May 1 2012.

“Frequently Asked Questions about Inflammatory Bowel Disease”. Mar Vista Animal Medical Center. April 27 2012. August 21 2009.

“Inflammatory Bowel Disease”. American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Cornell Feline Health Center. May 5 2012. Nov 15 2006. 

“Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Dogs and Cats”. Holistic Pet, Inc. April 27 2012.

“Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Dogs and Cats”. Vetstreet. April 27 2012. Dec 8 2011.

“Inflammatory Bowel Disease Health Center”. WebMD. May 5 2012.

Mazen, Alsahli and Richard J. Farrell. “Opportunistic Infections in Inflammatory Bowel Disease”. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. May 5 2012. Oct 14 2005. 

Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health: The Complete Pet Health Resource for Your Dog, Cat, Horse or Other Pets – In Everyday Language. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck & Co., Inc., 2007.

Robinson, Narda G. “Natural Aids for Treating IBD”. Veterinary Practice News. May 5 2012.

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