Inflammatory Bowel Disease is poorly understood. Its true nature is still a subject of debate among veterinarians. It’s not clear whether IBD is an actual disease or the body’s defensive reaction to other health issues. While Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Golden Retrievers is not as common as in some other dog breeds it can still occur.
IBD And IBS
People often confuse Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s important to notice the difference between these two conditions. While the symptoms are similar, IBD and IBS are different conditions. IBD is caused by physiological abnormality while IBS is caused by psychological stress.
What Causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Golden Retrievers?
Many factors can contribute to the development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Golden Retrievers. Whatever the cause, the outcome is always the same. Inflammatory cells invade the lining of the intestines and provoke immune system response. Inflammation that occurs prevents normal functioning of the digestive system resulting in decreased ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.
In most cases, it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of IBD, but there are few known causes:
- Parasitic or bacterial infection (E. Coli, Giardia, Salmonella)
- Food Allergies
- Abnormal Immune System
Symptoms Of IBD?
Two main symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Golden Retrievers are vomiting and diarrhea. If the inflammation occurred in the stomach your Golden will experience chronic vomiting. On the other hand, if the inflammation occurred in the intestines, chronic diarrhea will occur.
It is important to notice that both stomach and intestines can be affected by the inflammation in which case the dog will experience both vomiting and diarrhea.
Because of decreased ability to digest food and absorb necessary nutrients some dogs may develop voracious appetite in an attempt to compensate for these deficiencies.
Some other symptoms of IBD in dogs are:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Diagnosis Of IBD In Golden Retrievers?
The only way to conclusively diagnose IBD is through a tissue biopsy. Since obtaining these samples is only possible through a surgical procedure, the vet will first rule out any other possible condition that might be causing the dog’s symptoms.
There are some other tests we can perform to pinpoint the cause of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
- Measurement of B12 vitamin in the blood
Deficiency of B12 vitamin in the blood can indicate there is a decrease in the ability to absorb nutrients which further indicates possible IBD.
- Fecal tests
These tests are used to look for the presence of worms and other parasites inside the dog’s digestive system.
- Ultrasound or X-ray imaging of the intestines
Can We Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease Be ?
Let’s make this clear straight away, there is no cure for IBD. On the other hand, Inflammatory Bowel Disease can be treated and controlled through medications and diet.
Your vet will prescribe certain diet modifications and medications you will need to follow and apply to ease and remove symptoms of IBD.
Every dog is different and you will need to go through quite an extensive trial-and-error process to find a perfect combination for your Golden Retriever. It’s important that you have patience and follow the vet’s instructions throughout this process.
Most Golden Retrievers diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease will be on certain diets and medications for the rest of their life. Most dogs do extremely well for many years, in some cases, it may be possible to decrease the dosage of medications or even to stop the therapy.
There are also some severe cases of IBD that will eventually progress to intestinal cancer.
While there is no cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Golden Retrievers you will be able to ease the symptoms. Yes, it’s a long and demanding process, but it’s for the benefit of your Golden. So, be patient and persistent, follow your vet’s instructions regarding diet change and medications.