What Causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD is a collective term. It is a general name for diseases that cause inflammation of one type or another, in the bowel. If this condition is allowed to continue over time, for long enough, it can cause many other very serious health problems for your dog.

Not the least of which are nutritional deficiencies because inflammation stands in the way of normal absorption and processing of vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients from the food.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is also known by these names...

    Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome or IBS

    Irritable Bowel Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Leaky Gut, Leaky Gut Syndrome

    Colitis and Crohn's Disease

    Enteritis, Gastritis

The type of IBD your dog is experiencing is determined by what type of white blood cell penetrates the intestine.

There are four main types:

    - lymphocytes

    - plasmacytes

    - eosinophils

    - neutrophils

Here is a link to Wikipedia which gives a great explanation and ( don't worry, not too complicated ) diagram of white blood cells and what they do.

Take a look at the ' Main Targets " part of the graph. It's fascinating.

What is Leaky Gut?

Inflammation will weaken the cells of the Gastro-Intestinal Tract. This makes the intestinal wall weak and permeable, meaning that things can get through it. This allows digested proteins, pathogens and allergens to find their way into your dog's bloodstream. This is not good.

Thus, the name Leaky Gut Syndrome. These foreign invaders are literally ' leaking ' into your dogs bloodstream because the inflammation is causing the strong and tightly fitting cell walls to become weak, and separate.

OK...what causes the inflammation that causes this nasty leaky gut in the first place ?

    - dog parasites

    - drugs such as antibiotics and steroids

    - Poor quality food

Dog Parasites

This can be a common cause of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in dogs, but it is very often overlooked.

Why would it be overlooked at the vet's office, you might ask?

Well, there are many different types of parasites, so if the specific type has not been identified, it may not be totally killed by the mostly, broad spectrum dewormers and anti-parasitic/anti-bacterial/anti-protozoan meds.

Two extremely difficult parasites to detect and eliminate are Giardia and Coccidia.

Parasites irritate and inflame the bowel, cause intermittent soft stools, diarrhea, blood in the stool, vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite and dehydration. It stands to reason that if these little critters are thriving...they are thriving at the expense of your beloved dog.

Antibiotics and Steroids


These drugs kill the good bacteria along with the bad bacteria. When all the bacteria in your dog's gut has been killed, it can regrow in a way that is unbalanced, setting the stage for a condition of a systemic overabundance of the yeast fungus, better known as Candida.

This problem can be overcome by repopulating the gut with probiotics.

Catabolic Steroids

These extremely powerful drugs are typically used to suppress the immune system in the treatment of inflammation. In my opinion they are being used and over prescribed to our pets. They can be very dangerous.

Prednisone especially, is commonly used to suppress the symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Problem is, the root cause of the inflammation goes untreated and so healing does not occur.

Your dog's body naturally produces its own steroids. They are produced by the adrenal glands and are called...

    - mineralcorticoids

    - glucocorticoids

Poor Quality Dog Food and Food Intolerance

What does this mean?

In the wild, animals would be eating a variety of food, all the time. That's the way Mother Nature intended it to be. Today rabbit...tomorrow duck, the next day deer...and so on. A virtual buffet of choices.

So why do we feed the same old dog food, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. It even sounds boring, but worse, it can cause a sensitivity to the food.

Hypersensitivity causes inflammation. Chronic low grade inflammation leads to Inflammatory Bowel Disease eventually. In fact, anything that is causing your dog to have soft loose stools or diarrhea, can cause other problems such as the situation when a dogs anal glands become infected or impacted.

Even if you are feeding a really good raw, species specific diet, this can happen if you don't change the protein source ( beef, chicken etc ).

Poor quality dog food, containing unnecessary and low grade carbohydrates can set up a condition of sensitivity leading to food intolerance also. Your dog is a carnivore. His body is designed to digest meat, not grains.

It's easy to feed appropriately and avoid this problem.

Feeding a more natural diet is the answer to eliminating gastrointestinal inflammation.

Testing for Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Your vet can do a biopsy on a piece of bowel tissue. However, why would you want to do this? It is surgery, and so must be done under anesthesia. This can be risky and expensive.

Your vet can take a blood sample to determine how well your dog is absorbing two B vitamins:

    1 - Folate - is a B vitamin that must be broken down in the small intestine. If this is not happening properly, testing will show low levels of folate meaning that your dog is having a hard time absorbing nutrients due to inflammation.

    If folate levels are high, it means that a bacteria needed for the absorption and utilization of some B vitamins is growing out of control creating a situation known as Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth.

    2 - Cobalamin is another B vitamin. If levels are low it means that the digestion process is compromised and not working properly. This can also effect the Pancreas creating a disorder called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency.

So, bottom line is...Inflammatory Bowel Disease in dogs, is serious. If the Digestive System is not working optimally, good health is compromised.

Blood tests are easier and certainly a whole lot less expensive than the surgery option.

If you suspect that, or have found out that your dog is suffering from Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease, now is your opportunity to step up to the plate. Help restore health in the small intestine.

Do this in a gentler more natural way.

Miniature Pinscher Meet Olive.

Olive is a cute as a button, 4 year old Minature Pinscher ( Min Pin ) who was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

In June 2011 Aleksandra ( Olive's nonfurry Mom ) contacted my friend and business associate Andrea Partee of Three Little Pitties asking for help.

Andrea asked for my assistance and now I am happy to report that Olive is on the road to recovery. The secret is good raw dog food ( easy to digest ) and a few targeted supplements that have the power to restore normal digestive function and repair the mucosal lining of the gut.

Here is an email I received from Aleksandra just the other day. Olive recently celebrated her 4th Birthday.

Received on Mon, Sept 12, 2011

Cnine Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Hi Sandra!

Olive and I have been really great. Her poops are completely firm and normal, and very small. No tummy sounds, less scratching and her teeth are miraculously cleaner than they used to be when she ate kibble. She recently turned 4 (approximately), so I threw her a little party. Since she couldn't have anything from a dog bakery, I made her a tiny raw turkey tartare with egg and shredded carrots. She also got a new sweater. How cute is she?!

Thanks so much for checking on her.


Now that Olive is feeling better, she is pursuing a career in the Wellness and Physical Fitness industry.

Click here to see Olive in the weight room.

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