Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment

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The inflammatory bowel disease or IBD in dogs It consists of a chronic inflammatory process that can affect different sections of the canine intestine, and occurs due to an accumulation of inflammatory cells in the intestinal mucosa (lymphocytes, plasma cells, eosinophils and macrophages). Because of this, different types of IBD can occur, depending on the type of cellular predominance.

In all types, the common clinical sign is chronic diarrhea. The definitive diagnosis is achieved with histopathology and treatment should consist of dietary and pharmacological therapy. If you want to know more, keep reading this AnimalWised article to learn about this digestive pathology that can affect our dogs, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment..

You may also be interested in: Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats - Symptoms and Treatment Index
  1. What is inflammatory bowel disease in dogs?
  2. Types of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs
  3. Symptoms of IBD in Dogs
  4. Diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs
  5. Canine IBD treatment

What is inflammatory bowel disease in dogs?

Canine inflammatory bowel disease or IBD (Inflamatory Bowel Disease), consists of a chronic enteropathy characterized by enteritis or inflammation of the intestine due to infiltration of inflammatory cells (lymphocytes, plasma cells, eosinophils, macrophages or combinations of these) in the mucosa of the dog's intestine.

Causes of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs

The origin is uncertain, but the existence of a exacerbated response to a series of antigens, as they are:

  • Bacteria of the intestinal microflora.
  • Food allergens from the diet.
  • Components of the digestive system itself in contact with the mucosa of the intestine.

This exaggerated response of the local immune system of the dog gut may be caused by a impaired intestinal permeability, which leads to an increase in the exposure of existing antigens. For its part, the inflammatory infiltrate that is formed causes a lesion in the mucosa that causes greater absorption of antigens and pro-inflammatory substances that chronify the process.

The intestinal microbiota can suffer alterations due to the changes in absorption and intestinal peristalsis caused by the disease.

Types of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs

Depending on which cell type predominates in the inflammatory infiltrate of the lamina propria of the intestinal mucosa, the following types of enteritis are distinguished:

  • Lymphoplasmacytic enteritis: infiltrate in the intestinal lamina propria of lymphocytes and plasma cells. This type of IBD is the most commonly diagnosed in dogs. Basenji, German Shepherd and Shar Pei breeds are more predisposed.
  • Eosinophilic enteritis: Eosinophil infiltrate in the intestinal mucosa. It is more common in the Rottweiler.
  • Granulomatous enteritis: infiltrate of granulomatous epithelial cell formations. The predominant cell type is macrophages.

Sometimes the colon can be affected, distinguishing four types of colitis:

  • Lymphoplasmacytic colitis: infiltrate of lymphocytes and plasma cells in the mucosa of the colon.
  • Eosinophilic colitis: Eosinophil infiltrate in the colon mucosa.
  • Granulomatous colitis: infiltrate of granulomatous epithelial cell formations in the colon.
  • Ulcerative-histiocytic colitis: especially common in boxers, it is characterized by a decrease in the caliber of the lumen of the large intestine, with a very thickened, irregular, eroded, congestive mucosa and with areas of active bleeding.

The intestinal lymphagiectasia, characterized by edema and dilation of the lymphatic vessels, it can enter the IBD complex as many of these processes are frequently associated with this pathology.

Symptoms of IBD in Dogs

Dogs with inflammatory bowel disease have in common the symptoms of chronic diarrhea, unlike cats with IBD, which more frequently show vomiting and weight loss. In addition to chronic diarrhea, dogs with inflammatory enteritis or colitis may show:

  • Weightloss.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Nutrient malabsorption.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Bilious vomiting.
  • Bulky stools in enteritis.
  • Bloody or mucous stools in colitis.
  • Intestinal rumbling.
  • Flatulence.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Anemia.
  • Peripheral ascites or edema if protein-loss enteropathy has developed.

Diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs

The first thing in the diagnosis of IBD is to rule out other differential diagnoses that may cause similar symptoms before performing a test. intestinal biopsy for its pathological study, which is the definitive diagnosis of this disease.

For this, in addition to a good medical history and physical examination, they should be performed the following tests:

  • A blood analysis and biochemistry.
  • Bone scan.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Stool analysis.
  • Stool culture.

If these diseases are ruled out, the diagnosis should be verified by taking biopsies. These biopsies consist of obtaining a fragment of the dog's intestine for further study. Biopsies must be obtained by endoscopy or laparotomy (exploratory surgery). Depending on the predominant cell type or types in the histopathology, the type of inflammatory bowel disease that the dog suffers will be diagnosed.

Canine IBD treatment

The treatment of IBD is never curative, but it can be done control symptoms of the animal, even though the inflammation continues to persist.

Treatment will depend on the severity of the inflammatory bowel disease and the presence of hypocobalaminemia (low vitamin B12), thus differentiating into four indices of clinical activity with specific treatment to the criterion:

Treatment of canine IBD with low clinical activity index

Histopathology shows no abnormalities, so IBD is questionable. Also, the albumin concentration is normal. In these cases, empirical treatment should include:

  • Fenbendazole (50 mg / kg for 5 days): for possible control of Giardia and other internal parasites.
  • Hypoallergenic diet with hydrolyzed or novel protein: if signs subside, it indicates that it is a diet-responsive enteropathy or food hypersensitivity, not an IBD.
  • Antibiotics: like tylosin or metronidazole. If there is a good response, it is an enteropathy that responds to antibiotics.

Treatment of canine IBD with a mild-moderate clinical activity index

There are alterations indicative of IBD on histopathology, but the albumin concentration is greater than 2 g / l. The treatment in this case will be:

  • Fenbendazole (50 mg / kg for 5 days): for possible control of Giardia and other internal parasites.
  • Hypoallergenic diet with hydrolyzed or novel protein: for a minimum of two weeks.
  • Antibiotics: like tylosin or metronidazole for two weeks. If there is a good response, for a month.
  • Glucocorticoids at immunosuppressive doses: prednisone (2 mg / kg / 24 h) for 2-4 weeks until the symptoms improve, subsequently reducing the dose gradually to the minimum effective.

If the answer is not correct, they should be add other immunosuppressants, as they are:

  • Azathioprine (2 mg / kg / 24 h for 5 days and then 2 mg / kg every 2 days).
  • Cyclosporine (5 mg / kg / 24 h).

Treatment of canine IBD with moderate-severe clinical activity index

The changes in histology are quite advanced and the albumin concentration is less than 2 g / l. Treatment for severe IBD is as follows:

  • Fenbendazole (50 mg / kg for 5 days): for possible control of Giardia and other internal parasites.
  • Hypoallergenic diet with hydrolyzed protein.
  • Antibiotics: like tylosin or metronidazole for two weeks. If there is a good response, for a month.
  • Glucocorticoids at immunosuppressive doses: if not effective, other immunosuppressants (azathioprine (2 mg / kg / 24 h for 5 days and then 2 mg / kg every 2 days) or cyclosporine (5 mg / kg / 24 h). or low intestinal absorption is suspected, it can be tried with injectable corticosteroids.
  • Antithrombotics: if they have developed protein-loss enteropathy, the addition of antithrombotics such as aspirin or clopidrogel should be considered, because these dogs have a higher risk of developing thromboembolic disease due to the loss of antithrombin at the intestinal level.
  • Cobalamin: administer cobalamin (vitamin B12) once a week for a month, and then once a month for 3 months. Afterwards, repeat the measurement to see if it is necessary to continue the supplementation or not.

In dogs with histiocytic ulcerative colitis, the use of enrofloxacin for long periods is the indicated treatment, since this disease is associated with strains of Escherichia coli that invade deep layers of the large intestine.

This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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