INFLAMMATORY bowel disease is a common cause of gastrointestinal (GI) signs in dogs and cats. Weight loss, despite an often normal to increased appetite, is a prominent feature. Inflammatory bowel disease is not a specific diagnosis but describes a pathological change that primarily affects the lamina propria (mucosal surface) of the intestinal tract. In approximately 75 per cent of cases no underlying cause of the intestinal inflammation is evident. These animals are deemed to have idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease (IIBD) that is thought to be associated with a loss of tolerance to luminal antigens (food and/or bacteria). The inflammatory infiltrate is usually lymphoplasmacytic, but eosinophilic, granulomatous and suppurative forms are described. This article sets out a diagnostic route for dogs and cats presenting with historical signs suggestive of IIBD, and reviews various protocols that are available for the management of the condition.
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