Inflammatory Bowel Disease causes, treatment and remedies for your dog and cat provided by certified Master Herbalist Philip Reich. Philip specializes in medical herbalism for animals and diseases like Inflammatory Bowel Disease. We approach this condition in a holistic manner with the main priority being the health and safety of your animal. For this reason our Holistic Natural Inflammatory Bowel Disease Protocol focuses on organic, whole foods that provide your animal's body with the nutrition and supplementation it needs for healing and repair.
We have had tremendous success when using a high-quality whole food diet, whole food vitamin supplements and organic herbal remedies when treating numerous different health challenges like Inflammatory Bowel Disease and believe our success is much greater than is often attained using pharmaceutical drugs and synthetic vitamin supplements recommended elsewhere.
We deal with problems like Inflammatory Bowel Disease frequently with numerous clients from all over the country. Our experience with issues like this has helped us become one of the few places people can go for answers to help solve tough issues with their dogs and cats. We have helped hundreds of animals just like yours - it is what we do! See what others have to say about us by reading some of The Pet Health and Nutrition Center Testimonials. Feel free to contact us by email if you have any questions or just use our toll free number 888-683-3339 during normal business hours. We provide free telephone consultations and are here to help!
I. What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a general term for a group of chronic inflammatory disorders that share many common features. IBD may be referred to as Crohn's Disease or Colitis both of which have similar causes and symptoms. The primary difference is that with Crohn's disease the inflammation occurs primarily in the ileum (the last portion of the small intestine) and with Colitis the inflammation is limited primarily to the lining of the colon (large intestine).
Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease include bouts of diarrhea (perhaps bloody), pain in the lower abdomen, loss of appetite, weight loss, general malaise and fever.
II. Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
There are a number of possible causes of your dog or cat's Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The more common causes are listed below.
Studies have produced several factors that lead many to believe there is a genetic component to Inflammatory Bowel Disease and in a relatively high percentage of cases multiple family members can share this condition.
The majority of processed pet foods contain highly refined and low-fiber ingredients like corn, potatoes and various flours. These often poor quality ingredients have been shown to facilitate the condition of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in our dogs and cats. Very often ingredients such as tomato pomace or beet pulp are added to pet foods as a source of fiber, however, being by-products (or waste products) of the human food industry, they generally make poor additions to pet foods. In the wild our canines and felines would consume fur, providing ample fiber, and bone, providing bulk, to create normal stools and prevent diarrhea. Ingredients such as ground bone are found in commercially available raw foods and help to create healthy stools and naturally express anal glands.
Additionally, processed pet foods contain so many often low-quality ingredients along with flavors, colors and other synthetic ingredients that it can be quite hard to tell which ingredient(s) may be contributing to your dog or cat’s Inflammatory Bowel issues. For example, chelated proteinate minerals found in most pet foods are marketed as being more easily absorbed. Unfortunately, Nature’s Logic, a natural pet food manufacturer, being able to review ingredient data from companies that produce proteinate minerals for the pet product industry discovered some interesting information. First off, all the trace mineral salts used to make metal proteinates (like copper proteinate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, calcium proteinate, etc) are synthetic substances. In addition, without exception, all the proteinates they reviewed used hydrolyzed soy as the protein molecule. The hydrolyzation process also converts protein to MSG. So, in virtually every commercially available canned and kibble pet food you have synthetic substances, soy and MSG. Considering soy products and MSG are often at the top of the list of substances that can cause inflammation and allergic reactions, do you think it is possible that these commercial pet foods could be contributing to your pet’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other health issues? Of course they could!
Poorly digested food is a common problem in our dogs and cats and often contributes to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This occurs because larger food particles are not broken down properly into their smaller constituents that allow for normal absorption through the digestive tract and healthy elimination. Instead, these larger food particles can contribute to damage and disease in the digestive tract resulting in immune system disturbances and related inflammation. The body’s reaction to these undigested, inflammatory particles is to eliminate them from the body as quickly as possible resulting in diarrhea.
There are various species of bacteria and viruses that are suspected to be potential causes of IBD. Many of these have been identified in people, such as rotavirus and Epstein-Barr virus, but similar organisms may be responsible for IBD symptoms in our dogs and cats as well.
Drugs / Supplements
Certain drugs can cause symptoms similar to Inflammatory Bowel Disease for a number of different reasons. One reason is the body’s desire to remove offending substances from your animal’s body as quickly as possible. This results in digestive waste being moving through the digestive tract more quickly with less time spent in the colon where healthy stool is formed. Another reason is the altering of the balance of digestive flora. This certainly is the case with antibiotics that destroy colonies of beneficial organisms allowing the overgrowth of invasive, opportunistic organisms like Candida albicans. These unwelcome organisms often secrete toxins and interfere with proper digestion. If your dog or cat’s elimination behavior changes soon after the addition of a new medication there is a very good possibility that the drug is contributing to the diarrhea or other symptoms. If you aren’t sure you can do an online search to check for the side effects of the medication you are using.
Another condition that could be confused with Inflammatory Bowel Disease is called osmotic diarrhea. This occurs when certain substances cause excess water to be retained or drawn into the bowels based on the principles of osmosis. Excessive sugar (as with lactose intolerance - a milk sugar) or salt intake can cause osmotic diarrhea as can the use of too much water-soluble molecules, like magnesium or vitamin C, that result in increased fluid retention in the bowel.
III. Standard Veterinary Medicine Approach
Your veterinarian will examine your dog for underlying illnesses and assess for dehydration. He or she may take a stool sample to check for the presence of internal parasites, as well as conduct blood tests to identify a possible cause of your pet's symptoms. Other diagnostic tests might include radiographs, ultrasound, cultures, endoscopy and biopsy. The diagnostic tests performed will depend on how long the symptoms have been going on and the severity of your pet's condition. Treatment recommendations will be determined by the results of x-rays or other diagnostic tests that determine if any abnormalities are present in the GI tract.
In our experience it is most common for a veterinarian to prescribe an antibiotic, like Flagyl (metronidazole), even when the cause of the diarrhea or other symptoms is unknown. Overusing antibiotics in this way is dangerous and leads to imbalances in your dog or cat that can lead to lifelong disabilities as well as the possibility of stronger, antibiotic resistant bacteria strains in the future. Your vet may also prescribe a steroid medication in an effort to reduce inflammation within the digestive tract. This may be necessary for some very short term needs but if the symptoms are not life threatening then other more natural approaches will be more suitable with less undesirable side effects.
Bring your dog or cat to the vet if severe diarrhea continues for more than a day, or if you observe lethargy, vomiting, fever, dark-colored or bloody stools, straining to defecate, decreased appetite or unexplained weight loss. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice your puppy has diarrhea, as it can be an important indicator of serious diseases in young dogs.
IV. Holistic Natural Protocol Goal
The goal of our Natural Inflammatory Bowel Disease Protocol is to help reduce the inflammation in your pet's digestive tract, to provide nutrients that help to repair the cells lining the digestive tract and to improve digestion and rebalance the beneficial flora that line the digestive tract. At the same time in a holistic fashion, we want to remove any contributing factors whether these are in your pet's diet, environment or occur during veterinary visits. Since we do not necessarily know the root cause(s) of the imbalance in your particular animal, we do know from our research and experience what are the primary culprits. We don’t recommend pharmaceutical drugs that can have damaging short and long-term side effects (unless as a last resort when the comfort of your animal is the primary consideration) but instead nutrients from real food, healthy natural supplements and other supportive care that can provide your animal with what their body needs to heal.
Whether the food be herbs or supplements such as antioxidants, enzymes or probiotics, these natural substances provide the body with powerful nutrition and thus the increased ability to rebalance and heal itself. You will notice from our product selection that we focus on natural, organic, whole foods, not isolated synthetic vitamins and minerals found on most other websites. At The Pet Health and Nutrition Center we focus on true healing, not gimmicks, and we have hundreds of loyal clients that build our business primarily on word of mouth to prove it!
V. Our Holistic Natural Inflammatory Bowel Disease Protocol
From our experience there is no single miracle cure for a particular disease state. That is why we use a variety of supplements that all have different effects on the body to produce resolution of the imbalance and true healing - not just short term relief or suppression of symptoms. We want your dog or cat to get better - really better! The important thing here is that the supplements and remedies that you use contain TRULY all-natural, whole food nutrients that require little energy by the body to utilize, provide a big nutritional punch and have no scary side-effects! This is especially true when dealing with sometimes hard to alleviate conditions like Irritable Bowel Disease.
Core Recommendations Suggested products are included in the Core Inflammatory Bowel Package found below.
Our "Core Recommendations" form the backbone of our Natural Inflammatory Bowel Disease Protocol. They consist of supplement recommendations that we feel are the most important to provide to your animal companion for this condition. They are displayed as a package and individually at the bottom of this page along with other helpful products from which you may make additional selections. Pet foods can be purchased at your finer, local pet stores. As always, we are here to help and you may contact us by phone or email if you need more individualized attention.
Core Recommendation #1 - Diarrhea Relief Formula
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is caused by inflammation in the digestive tract that results in diarrhea and other uncomfortable symptoms. Our Diarrhea Relief contains organic herbs known for their anti-inflammatory benefits as well as soluble fibers and a special bacteria that provide benefits such as:
Core Recommendation #2 - Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics
One of the possible causes of your dog or cat's Inflammatory Bowel Disease relates to the poor digestion of their meals. When molecules like proteins are incompletely broken down into their smallest size (amino acids) they can often cause inflammation in the digestive tract and throughout the body. The enzymes in this formula will help to quickly and completely break down your pet's meals. The probiotics and whole food prebiotics will help to restore a healthier balance of beneficial flora to the digestive tract as well as a stronger mucosal lining.
Core Recommendation #3 - Repair and Strengthen
This formula contains a cold-processed whey protein isolate rich in glutamine, colostrum with anti-inflammatory proline-rich polypeptides and healing growth factors that help to repair damaged tissue along with organic Aloe vera that provides soothing, anti-inflammatory and healing benefits. All these nutrients are important to the growth and maintenance of intestinal cells and can greatly benefit dogs and cats with inflammatory bowel issues.
Other Helpful Recommendations
Whole Food Nutrition
With a condition like Inflammatory Bowel Disease your dog or cat needs the highest value nutrition possible to provide the body with what it needs for maintenance and repair. Because of this we highly recommend a raw food diet. Raw food is how carnivores, like canines and felines, have evolved to eat and they do best on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. This is, unfortunately, the opposite of how most pets are fed since the majority of commercial diets are low protein with 50% or more carbohydrates.
Kibble diets are harder for an animal to digest and most contain many highly processed ingredients that contribute to inflammatory conditions in the digestive tract and this is the last thing your dog or cat needs at this point. Poor digestion is related to Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other inflammatory conditions like diarrhea, arthritis and allergies. In addition, because commercial pet foods contain so many different ingredients that are typically poor quality, it can be difficult to determine which ingredient may be contributing to your pet's condition.
If a raw food diet is not your cup of tea, the next best thing would be a cooked, whole food diet (please educate yourself properly before you attempt this!). There are now many quality premixes to choose from to which you can add your own raw or cooked meat. If you must go the kibble route, Orijen Adult Dog or Cat Food is our favorite kibble pet food that does not use highly processed ingredients like grains or white potato and is low in carbohydrates. For more information and some product recommendations read our article How to Feed Your Dog or How to Feed Your Cat that can be found in our Education section.
This special product was formulated with natural and organic whole foods to supplement an animal's nutritional needs. Combined with a high-quality diet it provides enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, glandular support, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients needed to support the body's daily maintenance and repair needs for healthy aging. Because this product contains our digestive enzyme and probiotic formula it can be used as an alternative to the Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics in our Core Recommendation #2 above.
Did you know…
Much, if not all, of the ascorbic acid we see today is a synthetic form, 80% of which is manufactured in China. In addition, ascorbic acid makes up only a small percentage of the entire natural vitamin C complex! Studies have shown 500mg of synthetic vitamin C has actually promoted free radical damage to DNA, whereas natural vitamin C present in foods acts as a protective antioxidant!
Many animals we work with are having problems with insufficient stomach acid (hypochloridia). Feeding a kibble diet raises the alkalinity of your pet's stomach resulting in incomplete digestion, but dogs and cats can have problems properly digesting other foods as well. This contributes to many inflammatory issues in the body such as diarrhea, irritable bowel issues, arthritis and allergies. Our Probiotic Digestive Tonic is rich in lactic acid and thriving colonies of live and active bacteria cultures and our Herbal Digestive Tonic contains organic herbal bitters tinctured in organic apple cider vinegar that helps to acidify the gut and stimulate gastric, intestinal and gall bladder (bile) secretions to supercharge digestion.
When your dog or cat is suffering with an imbalance there will be an increase in free radical production that can further damage tissue and cause premature aging and possibly other disease. We want to provide your animal with high quality antioxidants to neutralize these free radicals along with other nutrients to aid the body's healing and rebuilding processes. This special blend of microalge is able to travel through the digestive tract and provide nutrients on a cellular level without the need for digestion. In addition, nutrients from the microalgae are able to cross the blood brain barrier and the retinal barrier for amazing effects on the brain and eyes as well as the entire body.
If you feel that your dog or cat has come into contact with a microorganism that is causing the diarrhea, either because you recently went for a hike or to the dog park, then a treatment with an antimicrobial would be of benefit. Our formula contains organic herbs that help to stimulate the immune system while providing antimicrobial activity effective against bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi. This formula makes a great alternative to broad spectrum antibiotics that destroy beneficial organisms throughout the entire body causing imbalances that can last the lifetime of your dog or cat leading to chronic conditions like diarrhea.
This is a great remedy to have on hand for those times your dog or cat gets an upset tummy. The organic herbs in this formula work wonderfully to relieve gas, indigestion and nausea that can make your pet feel awful. This can be given daily before or after meals or kept in the fridge to use as needed.
Are the chelated proteinate minerals added to my pet food I use better than a non-chelated form of a mineral? Retrieved from http://www.natureslogic.com/bl_faq/are-the-chelated-proteinate-minerals/
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Bowie had suffered for some time with symptoms of stomach upset that were diagnosed as inflammation of the digestive tract. We tried various veterinary care even going so far as to subject our dog to invasive exploratory surgery. Please know how deeply grateful we still are for everything you both did to help Bowie. We would not have been able to get through that episode (recovery from the surgery) without your guidance, remedies and overall unconditional love for what you both stand for.
Thank you again for everything, Lia, Michael, Bowie and Sammie.