Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) causes symptoms that are seen with many gastrointestinal problems — vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and/or poor appetite — but because IBD can only be identified with a biopsy, it can be challenging to diagnose.
IBD is caused by some combination of immune dysfunction, food allergies, bacterial overgrowth, metabolic disease, food intolerance, parasites, environmental stress, and/or genetics. Often a cat’s symptoms are mild and/or intermittent to begin with but get worse with time.
Treatment for IBD involves feeding a hypoallergenic diet and, if that is insufficient, suppressing the immune system. A veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, corticosteroids, chlorambucil, and other medications depending on a cat’s response. Some cases of IBD respond beautifully to treatment, but others, unfortunately, do not and end up being fatal.