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Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Pets

by Dr Jeannie Thomason

Both irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are often associated with leaky gut syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder of intestinal function. The condition occurs in the small intestine, colon, or both. It can be characterized by abdominal discomfort, pain, bloating, mucus in the stools, and irregular bowel habits. IBS is typically a gut motility problem, either constipation or diarrhea, or an alteration between these two extremes. It may also involve low-grade inflammation that is not detected in evaluations, but plagues the patient (termed sub-clinical inflammation).

What causes inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome? It is suspected it occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks tissues in the digestive tract. Food allergies, feeding grains or un-necessary carbohydrates, problems with the pancreas may play a role in causing it as well. Stress and in cats,sometimes hair balls, which irritate the intestines, may be involved.

I have personally seen many perfectly healthy puppies and/or dogs vaccinated one day and developing chronic digestive problems including IBD and IBS up to a month post vaccination if not sooner.

The conventional therapy for inflammatory bowel disease is to give medications to stop the symptoms: steroids to suppress the immune system and sometimes antibiotics to control bacteria in the gut. Keep in mind that these simply supress the symptoms they do not cure the dis-ease!

There is a natural/holistic approach to the elimination of inflammatory bowel disease or inflammatory bowel syndrome by strengthening the body's organs, especially the digestive and regulatory organs like the pancreas and liver, and by helping the immune system work the way it is supposed to.

The Signs of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Your pet is vomiting alot
Your dog or cat has chronic diarrhea
There is blood in his stools
Your pet is losing weight, has diarrhea, and/or is vomiting

Change of Diet
Proper nutrition/diet is the foundation, the corner stone of health. If you are still feeding your beloved pet a meal from a bag or can/processed food, then your dog (or cat)it is not getting the nurtition it needs to thrive and be healthy. Read HERE about what is in pet food and how it is processed. Processed or over cooked foods are actually not what our carnivorous pets are designed to eat!

Give Digestive Enzymes

I tend to believe (along with other veterinary naturopaths and holistic veterinarians) that inflammatory bowel disease also tends to occurs when the pancreas is working harder than it should to produce enzymes. Giving your dog or cat digestive enzymes made for pets allows the pancreas to work far more efficiently. Two excellent products are Enzymes Pro +, which contains all natural (no synthetics) digestive enzymes and powerful probiotics; or Fastrack Microbial Powder (which also contains both probiotics and digestive enzymes).

Control Bacteria with Probiotics

The normal acid balance in the intestines can change when the pancreas is overactive, allowing harmful bacteria to flourish. This, in turn, can cause painful inflammation. Giving your pet a probiotic (two great ones combined with digestive enzymes above)will help replenish the supply of beneficial bacteria and get the intestines back into balance.

Dietary Peptides
Bioactive peptides act locally on the gut lining as healing factors and may increase protein synthesis. Natural sources of peptides are bovine colostrum and hydrolyzed white fish.

Switch to Purified or Spring Water

Municipal water supplies often contain chlorine and floride, which can kill helpful bacteria in the intestines. Giving your pet filtered or bottled water, which doesn't contain chlorine or other chemicals, will help these friendly bacteria in the intestines to thrive.
NOTE: Do not use distilled water on a regular basis at it leaches essential minerals from the body. It is best not give it to your pet at all unless you are doing a supervised detox with your pet.

Strengthen the Liver

The liver produces large amounts of metabolic enzymes. You can help it work more efficiently by giving your pet milk thistle. Milk thistle may help the liver to generate new cells.

Give Glutamine Supplements

Inflammatory bowel disease can damage cells in the intestine, causing scarring. Supplements containing glutamine can help rebuild the intestinal lining so that it functions better. It is recommended giving pets with inflammatory bowel disease.
Please consult with an animal nutritionist, veterinary naturopath or holistic veterinarian for proper dosages.

Absorb Toxins with Clay

Harmful bacteria in the intestines, including bacteria that come from eating rotten food or undigetsed processed foods, give off toxins that irritate the gut. You may be able to absorb these toxins and stop the vomiting and diarrhea by giving your pets bentonite or montmorillonite clays. The clays can absorb up to 2,000 times their weight in toxins.

Bovine Colostrum
Colostrum may actually help heal the intestinal tract and keep it healthy.

Fish Oil
Fish oil,(specifically wild salmon oil) which contains the vital omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid EPA, can help break the inflammatory cycle in colitis as it does in rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Some studies have been done that indicate supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can help with intestinal inflammation. Fish oil is the best source of these and has been found beneficial in human patients with IBD.

Improve Digestion with Homeopathy

There are homeopathic remedies that can be very effective at stopping both diarrhea and vomiting. Please seek a consultation with a veterinay homeopath.

Essential Oils

Pure, grade A theraputic Essential Oils such as peppermint and lavender (or the blend by Young Living called Di-Gize) applied to your dogs feet or rubbed into your hands and then massaged into the dogs back and abdomen are very relaxing and will curb vomiting in many cases.

*CAUTION, Dr Jeannie only recommends Young Living Essential Oils for thier purity. Never apply essential oils directly to an animals skin unless you are using 100% pure theraputic oils such as Young Living Essential Oils. Also, it may be best to not put oils on your cat at all but to cold air diffuse them instead.

Boost Immunity with Herbs

Echinacea has been shown to strengthen the immune system by increasing the number of specialized cells called T-lymphocytes. Another herb, goldenseal, is a natural antibiotic that helps control harmful bacteria in the gut, giving mucous membranes a chance to heal. Cordyceps mushroom is a highly valued medicinal mushroom in both Classical Chinese Medicine and modern clinical practice. Cordyceps mushroom also increases levels of natural-antioxidants and enhances the immune system.

Soothe your Pet's intestinal tract with Slippery Elm and/or Aloe Vera

Long-term intestinal problems are often helped by giving pets Slippery Elm tincture. It is best to give slippery elm about 20 minutes before meals and again at bedtime. It is best to use tinctures that are alcohol-free because alcohol may be harmful for cats.
You may also use dry, powdered slippery elm and sprinkle it on your pet's food.

Aloe Vera
Animal findings suggest continuing research interest in maintenance of normal healthy stomach lining, digestion, general cell growth, and support of normal healthy cell proliferation, blood sugar levels, the immune system, and even longevity. The internal use of Aloe Vera is well documented. Major universities and research groups have published volumes of reports regarding internal applications.

Complete healing of IBS and IBD IS possible and acheived when using a natural "whole dog" approach.

Copyright 2006 - 2009 The Whole Dog, Whole Dog News Blog, Whole Dog Forums, Dr Jeannie Thomason, All rights reserved.

No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author/Publisher. This article is intended to be educational. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a veterinarian or other qualified canine health professional. Dr Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason, The Whole Dog, Whole Dog News, does not assume any legal responsibility.