Are you looking to learn more about what exactly Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is in cats? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Cat inflammatory bowel disease is not really a single disease. Instead, it’s a condition made up of a number of gastrointestinal disorders. Basically, if your cat has IBD, it means they have all kinds of chronic tummy trouble.
Causes of IBD in Cats
The exact cause of IBD is unknown, but some suspected causes are genetic factors, hypersensitivity to bacteria, and immunology factors. In any case of IBD, the intestines become inflamed and aren’t able to function properly.
Symptoms of IBD in Cats
There is a variance in symptoms of IBD in felines since many different parts of the digestive system may be affected. If your cat has IBD, they may experience some combination of the following:
- Weight loss
- Changes in appetite, which can mean eating much more or much less
- Bloody stool
- Rumbling and gurgling abdominal sounds
Cats with IBD likely also suffer from abdominal pain, but unfortunately, they have no way of communicating to us that they’re experiencing this symptom.
An innovative collar created by PetPace can help with this problem. The collar allows you and your veterinarian to monitor your pet’s vital signs, activity level, calories burned, changes in position, and more.
Certain postures and positions signal pain in pets, and knowing whether or not your furry family member is in pain can assist in diagnosing many medical conditions.
Diagnosing IBD in Cats
To diagnose IBD in your cat, your veterinarian will likely perform a variety of diagnostic tests. Because symptoms of IBD are common for many other diseases and food allergies, the diagnostic testing can be extensive. Your veterinarian will probably also ask about your cat’s medical history and the frequency and severity of their symptoms to aid in diagnosis.
A veterinarian will normally examine the intestines for a definitive diagnoses of inflammatory bowel disease if all other illnesses that present the same symptoms as IBD are ruled out with testing. Examinations may include X-rays, ultrasounds, an endoscopy, or a biopsy of intestinal tissue samples.
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance can help cover the costs of diagnostic testing and treatment for IBD, as well as the costs of many other veterinary services. In fact, we recently reimbursed over $5,000 on a claim for IBD-related veterinary care! View ASPCA Pet Health Insurance coverage options.
Treating IBD in Cats
IBD cannot be cured, but it can be managed pretty well in cats with dietary changes or medication, or a combination of both.
Sensitivity to food antigens can contribute to intestinal inflammation. Your veterinarian might recommend special foods without any potentially aggravating ingredients to help control your cat’s IBD, which can include both commercial food and home-cooked recipes.
Prebiotics and probiotics may also help ease your kitty’s tummy trouble. These substances promote the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract. They’re available at pet stores and online in the form of supplements. Please discuss with your veterinarian before starting your cat on any supplemental regimen.
Since it can take several weeks to start noticing symptomatic relief in your cat, you’ll want to adhere strictly to the dietary changes – that means no treats or table scraps! Eliminating all other food but the special dietary food will make it more apparent whether or not the changes are helping.
Corticosteroids are commonly prescribed for cats suffering from IBD. These steroids have strong anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties, and they cause few side effects. They’re most commonly given to felines by mouth.
Getting cats to swallow pills can be tough. Here are pill-giving tips if your feline family member turns their nose up at medication:
Some cats will easily swallow a pill that’s mixed into their food. The smell and taste of the food can mask some of the icky medicine flavor and trick the cat into gobbling the pill up.
If you mix a steroid pill into your cat’s special dietary food, make sure to check their food dish after they’ve finished eating to see that the medication was ingested.
If your cat isn’t impressed enough by their regular food to willingly swallow a pill with it, ask your veterinarian about recipes you can try at home that also fit your cat’s special dietary needs. Something new and different in your cat’s food dish could outweigh their distaste for the medication.
Place the Pill in Their Mouth
If your cat is too cunning to take a pill with food, you can always try putting it right in their mouth and coaxing them to swallow. This can be a more challenging strategy and requires patience and calmness. Cats are sensitive to emotions, like nervousness, and can become agitated in an uncomfortable situation.
Here’s how to go about helping your cat swallow a pill:
- Coax your cat into a closed off room or space in your home.
- Swaddle them in a towel with their head protruding for safer and easier handling.
- Using your thumb and middle finger, gently open your cat’s jaw.
- Place the pill on your cat’s tongue and close their mouth.
- Lovingly stroke your cat’s throat to encourage them to swallow the pill. Speaking softly to them can help too.
Neither option worked? Try these extra ideas!
Afterward, watch to see if your cat licks their lips. This is a sign that they’ve swallowed the pill. Be sure to give them plenty of water to help it dissolve. Some medications increase thirst, so making sure your cat drinks plenty of water can also be beneficial for this reason.
If getting your cat to swallow their pill still proves too difficult, notify your veterinarian. They may choose to inject the corticosteroids instead.