So, you have been worried that your cat has outlived his nine lives because of constant vomiting and diarrhea. A visit to the vet and you are hit with the sad news that your cat is suffering from IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), and you wonder what to do to ease the pain. There are many options, natural or otherwise, to help your cat bounce back to health, but before we enlighten you on the tips to ease IBD in your cat, maybe first knowing the causes will help prevent the infections. Let’s start with the causes before moving on to the sad instance where IBD can cause you to put down your beloved pet.
Causes of IBD
According to Vet Depot, IBD is caused by too many inflammatory cells in the small or large intestines. The cells could be lymphocytes, neutrophils, plasmocytes, or other kinds of immune cells, and once they are in the gut, the intestines fail to function properly. The cells cause inflammation, and depending on where the cells are located, the symptoms vary. If the small intestines are infected, vomiting may or not occur, accompanied by diarrhea. In contrast, if the inflammatory cells are in the large intestines, diarrhea will be accompanied by blood or mucus. A stomach inflammation will lead to vomiting. However, the main symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, increased flatulence, and increased gut noises. In some cases, cats can have increased appetite because they cannot absorb the food they are eating hence have the constant hunger feeling. Still, according to VCA Hospitals, the cause of IBD is usually unknown, but the possible leading causes include bacterial infections, parasitic infections, or allergic reactions.
Easing IBD Symptoms Naturally
Since you cannot ease IBD until you are sure it is ailing your cat, it is essential to get a diagnosis. According to Cornell, IBD diagnosis requires extensive tests because most of the symptoms are associated with other infections. The tests include X-rays, abdominal ultrasounds, fecal examinations, and blood work. Also, a hypoallergenic test to rule out allergic food reactions should be done. Sometimes biopsies will be carried out to rule out liver or pancreatic diseases, but the risks will have to be measured to avoid putting the patient in unnecessary danger. You do not have to subject him to discomfort once the results are in and your feline tests positive for IBD. Veterinary Practice News suggests a few natural ways to treat IBD in cats, among which are herbs and supplements. Probiotics are beneficial to the gut; therefore, foods rich in good bacteria are essential to restore your cat to health. However, it is important to note that probiotics are only helpful if the bacteria in them are live and in high concentration. Most foods rich in probiotics are dry, and you can confirm if they have good bacteria by checking the ingredients for names such as Bacillus coagulans. Raw meat diet is also recommended to improve the fecal consistency while plantains reduce mucosal tissue damage. Additionally, acupuncture could help in reducing inflammation.
Other Options for Treating IBD
You do not have to learn how to do acupuncture or go shopping for raw meat and probiotics because your vet can still provide the feline with the treatment needed. Deworming is usually the first option since parasitical infection could lead to IBD. Your vet could also prescribe corticosteroids. Of course, the mention of steroids will alarm any pet owner, but unlike in humans, where such drugs can cause severe side effects, felines are resistant. Corticosteroids are usually top of the list when treating IBD, and vets will only advise another drug if there is no positive response. Regardless of how resistant they are to drugs, your cat should not be on the corticosteroids for the rest of their lives. According to Anniemiz, as soon as the cats start feeling better, they should be taken off the drug. Still, remember that it can take a while before the IBD symptoms disappear; hence it is vital to keep a close watch for any improvement. Feeding the cat with the recommended diet is crucial to fasten the healing process, but even if after stopping the treatment, the symptoms return, there is no harm in resuming the therapy. As you weigh the pros and cons of injection versus oral drugs, note that once an injection is administered and the cat has a negative response, getting rid of the drug from the bloodstream is impossible. Whether oral or not, the vet will start the drug administration at a higher dose and gradually taper off to smaller ones as symptoms are observed.
When Euthanizing is the Only Option
Although Sharon Lakes published that IBD has no cure and cats can live comfortably for many years, sometimes that is not the eventuality. Sometimes the IBD progresses to intestinal lymphoma, a type of cancer. Cats with this type of cancer survive for four weeks since diagnosis is made. Even when treated with prednisone, their life expectancy is estimated at between 60 and 90 days. However, the mortality rate for cats with IBD is 90%, and those who relapse and require further treatment could become so ill that euthanasia becomes the only option. No pet owner wants to see their beloved animals suffering. The best you can do when it gets to this point is imagine the poor quality of life a cat will have to undergo under the constant vomiting and diarrhea. The good news is that IBD can be controlled so long as the affected cats are maintained under a strict diet and medical therapy. In case of any relapse, it is critical to report to the vet at once so that immediate action can be taken and long-term medication can be given. That said, once your cat contracts IBD, close observation becomes the order of the day to avoid euthanasia.