How is inflammatory bowel disease treated?
The treatment of inflammatory bowel disease usually involves a combination of change in diet and the use of various medications.
Dietary Management: A food trial using hypoallergenic diets is usually one of the first steps in the initial treatment, and is used to verify the diagnosis. The key is to use a protein source and carbohydrate source the animal has never eaten before, such as duck and potato. The pet must eat nothing else, including treats, and the trial should be maintained for two to three months.
If a hypoallergenic diet does not improve the condition, other diets may be tried. When the colon is the major portion of the digestive tract that is involved, diets high in fiber such as Hill's r/d have been beneficial. Oat bran could also be added to the diet to increase the fiber content. When the small intestine is the primary site of involvement, some animals benefit from a highly digestible, low-fiber (low-residue) diet.
Diets low in fat are generally better tolerated in dogs with IBD. Carbohydrates low in gluten may also be helpful; avoid wheat, oats, rye, and barley. Homemade diets are sometimes used, however, they often are not completely balanced and commercial diets are preferred for the long term.
As you can see, multiple diets may have to be tried before one sees improvement in the pet's condition. This takes a lot of patience on the part of the owner.
Fatty Acids: Some studies have suggested that diets enriched in omega-3 fatty acids may help decrease the inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Eicosapentanoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (fatty acids from fish oil) have been beneficial in human patients. More research needs to be done to determine their benefit in dogs and cats with inflammatory bowel disease.
There are also medications that are used. For more information see: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1571&articleid=305