Article Text

Companion Animal Practice
Diagnosis and management of idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease in dogs and cats
  1. Kit Sturgess

    Kit Sturgess graduated from Cambridge in 1986 and spent six years in general practice. In 1992, he became the Duphar Feline Fellow at Bristol and, in 1997, was awarded a PhD for his work on the mucosal immune response to feline immunodeficiency virus. He has held lectureship positions in small animal internal medicine at both the Royal Veterinary College and Bristol university, and is currently working in small animal referral practice. He holds RCVS certificates in radiology and cardiology, and the RCVS diploma in small animal internal medicine.


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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