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IBD: Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs

Our Central Illinois vets often see dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). While there's no cure for the condition, IBD can be managed in many cases. Today, we examine the prognosis for dogs with IBD.

What is IBD in Dogs?

IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic internal condition that can impact your dog's gastrointestinal (GI) tract, including the intestines and stomach. 

If your pup has iBD, their ability to absorb nutrients and pass waste normally through their system will be impaired. This inability to properly process food can lead to numerous uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms including fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, constipation, vomiting and diarrhea. 

How can IBD in dogs be treated?

There is no cure for OBD in dogs, but your veterinarian can prescribe dietary modifications and medications that might help to control your pooch's condition. 

Pet owners should be aware that treatment for IBD is often a process of trial and error. Because it's a tricky condition to diagnose and treat, it may take time to find the most appropriate combination of diet and medications to manage your pet's symptoms. 

Once you and your vet have started to manage the condition effectively, many dogs are able to stop taking medicine every day and might only need it during symptom flare-ups. 

Here are some treatments that may be used to control inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. 


Bacterial infections and parasites can often lead to inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. In these cases, fecal exams can sometimes miss detecting issues in your dog's GI tract. However, deworming may be an effective way to reduce your dog's IBD symptoms. 


Symptoms of IBD in dogs can be effectively controlled by nurturing and maintaining the microbiome in your dog's GI tract (the billions of bacteria that are found in the intestines).

Supplements such as prebiotic fibers or postbiotic end products, combined with good nutrition, can improve your dog's microbiome.

Prescription diets are often helpful in treating IBD in dogs. Each and every dog is different and these diets can take a number of different forms depending on your pet's symptoms and what is causing your dog's inflammatory bowel disease. Some of the formulas available to help treat dogs with IBD include:

  • Novel proteins (avoiding typical chicken and beef formulations)
  • Foods that are more easily digestible
  • High fiber
  • Hydrolyzed protein formulas (protein that has been broken down into small components is less likely to cause adverse food reactions in some dogs)

B12 Injections

B12 is an essential vitamin for dogs and people. If your dog's GI tract isn't absorbing nutrients as it should, your pooch could suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 injections can help to keep your canine companion feeling happy and energetic. 


Although, many dogs can be successfully treated through diet alone, in more severe cases medications may be required. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed by veterinarians to help treat IBD in dogs. Antibiotics may help to reduce inflammation and restore the normal balance of the microbiome in your dog's GI tract. Steroids may also prove helpful in fighting inflammation in some dogs.

IBD in Dogs Prognosis

 It’s important to have your dog's IBD diagnosed, managed and closely monitored as soon - and as much - as possible in order to achieve the best treatment outcomes.

If your canine companion is diagnosed with IBD the trick will be to stick with the trial and error phase of treatment until the right combination of treatments has been established. If your pet's IBD can be managed successfully the prognosis is good.

By keeping your dog on the modified diet that works best for them, over time you may be able to reduce your pup's medications, and possibly even stop daily medications with the supervision of your vet. 

Some dogs will do well for a number of years on the same diet and medication treatment, however, other dogs require changes to their treatment every few months. Unfortunately, some dogs do not respond to treatment at all.

Diagnosis is essential when it comes to your dog's symptoms of IBD since severe forms of the condition can result in intestinal cancer. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog suffering from symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease? Contact us today to book an examination for your pooch. Our Central Illinois vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating a range of internal medicine conditions, including IBD in dogs.

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