What is lower
bowel inflammatory disease ?
Lower bowel inflammatory disease (LBID), sometimes referred to as colitis, describes a group of conditions in which the large bowel (colon) becomes chronically-inflamed and thickened preventing it from functioning normally. Although there are many causes it is most frequently the consequence of a dietary allergy, in other words the bowel becomes sensitised to some types of food.
What are the symptoms of LBID?
Symptoms of lower bowel inflammatory disease are very variable and may include any of the following :
variable stool consistency,
mucus and blood in the stools,
alternating diarrhoea & constipation,
frequent and difficult attempts to defaecate,
pain during defaecation,
What changes should be made to the diet ?
Dietary management by excluding the ‘allergen’ (the part of the diet that the dog is sensitised to) is the most important, and usually also the most effective, means of treating LBID. Important allergens include beef-derived proteins and some cereal-based foods. The aim is therefore to select a hypoallergenic diet which the bowel has not been ‘exposed to’ and this usually means selecting non-beef, non-cereal food sources.
Home-prepared diets : you may wish to prepare your own hypoallergenic diet for your dog in which case you should choose from the following protein and carbohydrate sources.
Protein : fish, chicken, mutton.
Carbohydrate : rice, potato, pasta.
Commercial diets : diets prepared commercially usually provide a more practical solution for most owners since they require no preparation, always use the same constituents, are readily available and contain all essential minerals and vitamins etc. Although there are many ‘prescription’ diets available through veterinarians they tend to be expensive for long term use. There are however, many commercial diets available through pet suppliers which are perfectly suitable for the LBID patient. These should be marked ‘hypoallergenic’ and some will also be‘gluten-free’.
points should be stressed :
There is no single diet which will be suitable for all
dogs since the allergen varies from one patient to the next.
Be prepared to
investigate more than one diet before deciding on the most suitable for your
Any additional food source negates the whole point of the
Be strict with the
diet and DON’T add in treats or left-overs from the table.
It may take several days or, in severe cases, even
several weeks before you will see a satisfactory response to the dietary
DON’T give up
and DON’T keep changing the diet if there is no improvement after the first
couple of days !
In some cases it may be necessary to use medication to support the diet change. Drugs which are used to treat LBID include ‘Salazopyrin’, prednisolone or cyclosporin. In most cases it is normally possible to gradually withdraw the medication once the symptoms resolve but in a small number of cases the patient may need long term, or even permanent, medication.