Dog Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Irritable bowel syndrome in dogs can take several different forms. The signs can be, for example, intermittent constipation or chronic diarrhea. Straining to defecate can be a sign as well. On the other hand, your dog may need to defecate more frequently and may present a soft or watery stool. If your pet is exhibiting straining or leaving up to ten watery and/or bloody stools a day, you need to get her to your vet as soon as possible.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Effects

Dogs who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome often experience a weight loss. Along with frequent stools, your dog can be losing vitamins, blood and fluid, and will not be getting nutrients from food passing too quickly through her digestive system. In addition, she will be experiencing a general state of illness and may lose her appetite.

IBS is most often caused by a neurological or psychological issue. It is commonly seen in dogs that are hyper and extremely excitable. Dogs that are stressed, due to a move or the introduction or loss of another pet, can develop irritable bowel syndrome. Sometimes IBS is diagnosed as spastic colon or nervous colitis. IBS may result in intermittent diarrhea, bloating, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Dogs may appear to be nervous or exhibit unusual personality traits.

Treatments for IBS in Dogs

Some veterinarians will prescribe a fiber supplement. If the dog does not respond well to that intervention, the vet will usually begin anti-spasmodic and/or sedative therapy. In some cases, anti-anxiety drugs may be used to reduce stress. While IBS can be treated as it occurs, the long-term prognosis may not be encouraging. IBS in dogs may recur intermittently over several years. It is important to discuss both treatment options and a prognosis with your vet.


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