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IRRITABLE BOWEL DISEASE

Irritable Bowel Disease
by Darleen Rudnick,
Pet Nutritionist

Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders in pets. It is a term that describes a chronic inflammation disorder of the small and/or large intestine.

When suffering from IBD, the bodyís normal rhythmic contractions of the digestive tract become irregular and uncoordinated. This interferes with the normal movement of food and waste material, and leads to the accumulation of mucus and toxins in the intestine. This accumulated material sets up a partial obstruction of the digestive tract, trapping gas and stool, which in turn causes bloating, distention, and constipation.

In general, the cause of most cases is unknown, but contributing factors that have been identified are poor eating habits, stress, food allergies, overuse of antibiotics, bacterial and viral infections and parasites. A blockage should not be ruled out as many times pets will chew and swallow toys, socks, and other objects.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Disease

  • Constipation. During episodes of constipation, stools may be hard, small, pebble-like, and difficult to eliminate.
  • Diarrhea. The diarrhea is usually in small volumes, but frequent. The morning bowel movement may be normal, but followed by successively loose bowel movements throughout the day. In some cases, constipation and diarrhea alternate.
  • Abdominal pain. Pain can vary in severity from mild to severe.
  • Mucus in the stool.
  • Nausea, sometimes vomiting.
  • Flatulence (gas)
  • Bloating.
  • Anorexia.
  • Intolerances to certain foods.
Because IBD is triggered by many factors, it is important to have a thorough examine done by a veterinarian. If you decide to seek natural methods, Purely Pets recommends a consultation with our on-staff nutritionist.

A consultation will include a personalized diet and holistic program suggestions, all custom-tailored to your pet's personal needs. This is particularly imperative with pets suffering from IBD.

The nutritional program and other recommendations outlined in this article are designed for pets that have been diagnosed with IBD, but does not apply to every pet.

Treatment of Irritable Bowel Disease

Feed What is Right for Your Pet
The most important thing to remember when choosing a food for your IBD pet is to choose a food that is right for YOUR pet, not what other people think is right. Raw diets are great, and home cooking is wonderful, but if your pet does not do well on it, donít feel guilty.

Some pets suffering from IBD do very well on a BARF (raw) diet, others do well on a home cooked diet and others only do well on dry or canned food. Every case is different, so it is a matter of experimenting and sticking to what works best. There IS NOT one diet that works for every IBD pet.

However, when choosing a dry food avoid synthetic preservatives such as butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate, propylene glycol and ethoxyquin. Avoid animal fats (found in many pet foods), high fat treats, processed foods, spicy foods, sugar and diary products. These foods may aggravate an IBD problem.

Eating the wrong combination of foods can trigger symptoms. For example, when proteins and grains are eaten together, the grains start to ferment and cause gas. Also, as the combination slows the process down, proteins start to putrefy and cause toxins to be released into the system. Therefore, you may need to eliminate grains.

In many cases, feeding a very simple diet helps. Diets that seem to be beneficial are chicken and one vegetable, or ground meat and one vegetable. Some pets only do well when brown or white rice is added to the diet. In other cases a dry food containing beet pulp is beneficial because it hardens the stool.

Structure Meal Times
Feed small, frequent meals instead of one large one. Offer all food at room temperature for best digestion.

Recommended feeding schedule:
Breakfast: High quality pet food, raw or homemade food.
Lunch: High quality pet food, raw or homemade food.
Midday: Light Snack.
Dinner: High quality pet food, raw or homemade food.
Before bed: Light snack.

Use Bottled Water
Toxic metals such as lead, copper, mercury, and aluminum are often found in drinking water and some pets are very sensitive to these metals.

Rule out a Parasite Infestation

A parasite infestation is a very common problem with dogs and cats. Symptoms of an infestation are -- vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, inability to absorb nutrients, bad breath, skin problems, chronic ear infections, yeast infections, foul odor to the stool, and many other minor and major ailments.

GIARDIA does cause Irritable Bowel Disease!
Giardia is a gastrointestinal infection caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia lamblia. This is a common parasite causing gastrointestinal illness. It is found in the stools of many animals, including rodents, dogs, cats, cattle, and wild animals.
A Giardia infection can be acquired when your pet ingests food or water that has been contaminated with the parasite. It then multiplies in the small intestine. The infection can also be spread person-to-person when hands, which are contaminated with an infected person's stool, are brought in contact with the mouth. Swallowing as few as ten parasites can cause the infection.

Symptoms of Giardia are diarrhea, foul, greasy stools, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, weakness, and weight loss. These symptoms are very similar to IBD symptoms so it is essential that your pet be tested for this parasite. This test is normally not done by your veterinarian, so you need to request it. This simple and inexpensive test can save you hundreds of dollars and invasive testing.

Giardia is usually diagnosed through a laboratory examination of a stool sample. Your veterinarian will forward the stool sample to a laboratory that will use a microscope to look for the parasite. Several stool samples need to be examined to detect the parasite.

If your pet is diagnosed with Giardia, always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before meals, before preparing food, after having a bowel movement, after changing diapers, and after playing with your pet.

Eliminate Toxins in the House, Yard and on your Pet

Because IBD can be triggered by stress, it is important to put as little stress on the body as possible by avoiding toxins that may deplete the immune system
Avoid the following:
  • Carpet powders.
  • Air fresheners.
  • Plastic bowls - All plastics release some undetectable fumes, especially when heated. This out-gassing means the fumes can pass into the foods that are served or stored in the bowl or container. Stainless steel or glass bowls are recommended.
  • Cheap ceramic bowls - Cause the same problem as described above.
  • Fumes from all bathroom cleaners.
  • Fumes from bleach.
  • Fumes from dusting products.
  • Toxic flea products - If the product states "Hazardous To Humans And Domestic Animals", it is hazardous to your pet.
  • Toxic shampoos.
  • Toxic flea collars.
  • Paint fumes.
  • Paint chips from lead based paint.
  • Rawhides - Many are dipped in a solution of salt and bleach
  • Cheap painted pet toys
  • Red food dye.
  • Ethoxyquin.

Supplement
Purely Pets does not recommend discontinuing traditional medications cold turkey or discontinuing them at all. This is YOUR decision based on how the following program works. We highly recommend you work closely with your veterinarian.

Although medications can be very effective, some may cause side effects that can eventually lead to other symptoms. Many pet owners are now looking into other methods of treating IBD. A more natural approach is outlined below.

Supplement Recommendations:
Giardia & Parasitic Cleanse
Provides an excellent compound containing bitter principles which activate digestive secretions. Can be used safely to clean out the colon, when parasites are suspected as a trigger.

Digest Zymez
Since IBD can be triggered by an inadequate amount of digestive enzymes, adding them to your petís diet cannot be stressed enough. A lack of enzymes can lead to decreased energy, excessive gas, allergies, poor skin condition, loose stool, consumption of their own stool, foul breath and/or body odor. Without digestive enzymes even the most nutritious foods will not be of any use to the body.

Digest Zymez are capsulated enzymes which can be fed orally or opened and mixed directly into the food. This product reduces intestinal gas and cramping and is very helpful with Irritable Bowel Disease.

Yucca Intensive
Yucca is a natural steroidal supplement containing steroid saponins which are nature's most powerful anti-inflammatory agents. This product reduces pain without gastric side effects and is effective for arthritis, bone and joint problems, soft tissue swelling and digestive and bowel problems.

Mega Pet Daily
This is our most outstanding multiple nutritional supplement. Higher potency, easy to feed gel cap provides daily support of important vitamins and minerals, including the A's, B's, Selenium, Chromium, Zinc, and Choline, all the vital nutrients for optimum immunity and health.

Exercise Your Pet Daily

Exercise increases the efficiency of the immune system and helps with muscle development, digestion and overall health. A well-conditioned body will work and perform better and increase the ability to carry blood and oxygen to muscles. Exercising burns fat and increases your petís metabolism.

Be sure your pet gets at least an hour of exercise everyday. However, age, health and weather should be taken into consideration when exercising. Do NOT over exercise older pets, or pets suffering from hypoglycemia, epilepsy, heart problems, during bouts of diarrhea, etc. Pets suffer from exhaustion just as humans do.

Conclusion and Tips for Treating Irritable Bowel Disease
  1. Feed what is right for your pet.
  2. During bouts of diarrhea, Pedialyte and baby food may help. Plain yogurt replenishes the intestinal tract with friendly bacteria and does help in some cases. Rice can be helpful for bouts of diarrhea, but this is not true in all cases.
  3. Large breeds that eat off the floor from a bowl are forced to gulp down their food and this may cause bloating and slow down digestion. Raising the food bowl for them eases the digestive process and causes less discomfort.
  4. Feed small, simple meals throughout the day.
  5. Test for Giardia and other parasites at least 3-4 times.
  6. Rule out a blockage.
  7. Eliminate any food or supplement which seems to upset the digestive tract or aggravate the symptoms.
  8. Exercise your pet regularly as this helps with digestion.
  9. Give supplements to strengthen the immune system and most importantly give digest enzymes before or during each meal.
  10. Avoid using toxins on or around your pet.
  11. Offer only bottled water.
  12. Last, it is important to keep a positive attitude, as your problems and your stress level will affect your pet.

Other articles you may be interested in.
http://www.purelypets.com/articles/wellnesscenter.htm

Darleen E. Rudnick http://www.purelypets.com
Nutritional Pet Consultant, Purely Pets
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