Steroids and Diet Best For Treating Canine IBD

Find out a possible treatment plan for inflammatory bowel disease in dogs.

Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs continues to be one of the most challenging conditions for veterinarians to treat. The cure for this painful, chronic gastrointestinal condition remains elusive, but a treatment plan that combines the synthetic steroid budesonide with a novel protein or hydrolyzed diet is generating support among leading veterinary specialists in the internal and nutritional fields.

Dogs suffering from IBD may demonstrate such signs as chronic or recurring vomiting, loose stools, loss of appetite, lethargy, low-grade fever, poor-quality hair coat and weight loss—signs that can be present in other medical conditions, making diagnosing IBD trickier. These dogs typically have inflammation of the stomach lining, colon and small intestine. Their immune systems are waging war on the invasion of bacterial, food or parasitic antigens. They are miserable and in pain, and their owners are often frustrated by the lack of a quick diagnosis and recovery.

"We still don’t know much about this condition, but we’re finding better ways to treat it,” says Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D, associate professor of clinical nutrition at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, N.Y.  "We tend to identify IBD by ruling out other possible causes, such as parasites and cancers. We back our way into diagnosing IBD.”

The primary types of IBD affecting dogs include:
Lymphocytic-plasmacytic enterocolitis. Considered the most common type of IBD, it is identified through a biopsy that confirms excessive numbers of lymphocytes and plasma cells on the colon wall or small intestine.

Eosinophilic enterocolitis: This challenging type of IBD is identified by the presence of eosinophils (small, rod-shaped white blood cells in bone marrow that control allergic and inflammatory responses) present in a dog’s colon, small intestine or stomach.

Granulomatous enteritis: A biopsy is needed to identify this rare type of IBD and rule out other possible medical conditions, such as histoplasmosis or fungal disease. This type is characterized by inflammation that triggers a narrowing of the small bowel.

Frederick Drazner, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, co-chief of Wright Animal Hospital/Animal Specialty Services of Cook County in Des Plaines, Ill., says it is vital for veterinarians to confirm IBD by taking a detailed medical history.

"A detailed history is imperative to find out the frequency, consistency and character of the bowel movement,” he says. "Ask the client, ‘How long have the symptoms been going on? What therapeutic/dietary measures have been used in the past? What does the dog eat?’”

Pinpointing IBD as the cause also requires performing an extensive physical examination and conducting a series of diagnostic tests that may include:
* A fecal exam for the possible presence of a parasitic or bacterial agent
* Abdominal X-rays and possibly, an ultrasound
* A complete blood cell count
*  Serum chemistry screen

But his favorite diagnostic tool is the endoscope.

Dr. Drazner has performed more than 800 endoscopic procedures on animals under general anesthesia. The scope, connected to a light source, camera and computer monitor, permits a veterinarian to collect biopsy samples and examine the condition of a dog’s colon, stomach or small intestine to detect any swelling, bleeding or presence of ulcers or foreign bodies.

"My advice is to practice, practice, practice performing fiber optic examinations,” Drazner says. "The endoscopic equipment has vastly improved in recent years. Gastroscopic, endoscopic and colonoscopic investigation by an experienced, skilled operator can yield invaluable histopathologic information with minimal stress to the patient.”

Once IBD has been diagnosed, Wakshlag favors gradually switching a dog’s diet, if the main proteins have been common ones such as beef, chicken or lamb. The dog would be then fed a novel protein or hydrolyzed diet. The veterinarian works with the client to introduce a specific protein the dog has never consumed, such as bison, kangaroo or rabbit.

Breeds at Risk for IBD
Any dog of any age can develop inflammatory bowel disease; however, certain breeds are at a greater risk, with the Norwegian Lundehunds especially vulnerable, according to Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., assistant professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Also on the at-risk list are:
* Basenjis
* Boxers
* English bulldogs
* German shepherds
* Irish setters
* Rottweilers
* Shar-Peis
* Wheaten terriers

Change of Diet

A second option is to go with a hydrolyzed protein diet. These are marketed directly to veterinarians and consist of minuscule protein particles that are too small to be detected—or to generate response from a dog’s immune system.

The goal with the nutritional approach is to calm the immune system that has been working overtime to combat allergens, and to give the inflamed, painful GI tract time to heal.

"People often try the novel food approach first because it is easy,” Wakshlag says. "If you put your dog on a novel protein or hydrolyzed diet and things get better, then the challenge is to gradually re-introduce the old foods, one at a time. When the diarrhea and vomiting return, you’ve figured out the problem.”


In some cases, cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant designed to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, and azathioprine, a drug that suppresses lymphocytes invading the GI tract, are prescribed. Anti-nausea medications and antacids may also be warranted.

Wakshlag says prednisone has been the synthetic steroid of choice to protect a dog’s intestinal lining, ease digestive upset and restore a healthy appetite in affected dogs. It is relatively inexpensive, but he believes that Budesonide, given as a topical, yields fewer side effects.

"At Cornell, we often get the most severe cases of dogs with IBD,” he says. "We need to bring out aggressive doses of heavy-hitting drugs to combat IBD. Dogs with IBD feel miserable, but with the right treatment plan, most can experience a livable outcome.”

Moving Forward

In the future, Drazner believes that immunosuppressant agents such as CellCept will be more widely utilized to combat IBD in dogs.

"Gene therapy will be the future of handling a lot of chronic, auto-immune diseases like IBD, diabetes and arthritis,” Drazner says. "CellCept is the main drug used on human patients with organ transplants. I have used it on four dogs—a golden retriever, springer spaniel, Brittany spaniel and a Yorkshire terrier, and it has improved their quality of life.

"But one must be very careful in using CellCept because it is very potent. Some veterinarians are turning to CellCept for dogs with IBD who don’t respond to prednisone, azathioprine or cyclosporine.”


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84 thoughts on “Steroids and Diet Best For Treating Canine IBD

  1. My dog was diagnosed Aug 2016 with ibd . my question is can eating grass cause flare ups every April the flare up starts and by Oct its under control she is on a hydronized dog food.

      1. I seriously think that is what my mini dachshund/possible min pin mix suffers from. My niece bought him from a pet store and we took him in. We think he was probably a puppy mill dog ?. But since we have had him, about 5 years now, he has suffered from intestinal issues. It is getting progressively worse. Ever other thing he is on antibiotics for pooping mucus and blood which the vet says there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria. His diet is now completely changed…raw goats milk, a little pumpkin and green beans, a little bit of bananna, and raw stella and chewy beef diet. He loves it and his poop is looking better. Also seems to be great while on antibiotics, but once off…the gassy noises, loose poop, wanting to eat grass returns. I am at a loss. Suggestions?

        1. It sounds like eating grass might be a sign of digestive upset or inflammation possibly caused by bacterial overgrowth in the gut. My German Shepherd had the same thing as your dog. Diarrhea with mucus. Started with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, but hers was not treated in a timely manner and led to leaky gut, IBD and arthritis. All of these issues were cured. First I treated the gut imbalance using coconut oil, a natural antibiotic. Safe and recommended by my dog’s veterinary nutritionist. Incredibly important in helping my dog recover was veterinarian formulated food plan from the company Just Food for Dogs. My dog gets sushi rice, lamb, and cauliflower with vitamin powder added. Really important to add custom vitamins so it is nutritionally balanced. She is on Visbiome probiotics, as recommended by her veterinarian nutritionist.

          1. we have a 10 yr old jack russel that has bad stomach gurgling about every 2 -3 days, he will shake allot as well, he doesnt seem to be in pain but he also wont eat for 8-10 hrs or until it stops, been going on for about a year now, we have spent so much money on different foods none seem to work, also been giving daily probiotic which seems to do nothing, he will eat dirt and grass as well, is this similar to what your jack has ?

          2. First my Jack was diagnosed with pancreatitis then after changing the diet to Science Diet ID low fat food he was better but still had flare ups. I researched high and low and talked to every vet I could and was given advice about the immumnosuppresives. When he started the Budesonide it was life changing for him. Ask your vet about trying 1mg Budesonide daily, I really think it will help. I also boil chicken breast and give my dog Frisbee boiled chicken with his Science Diet ID low fat food and we don’t have any episodes of bloody stool.

        2. My mini dachshund had these symptons and turns out had ulcerative collitus. We changed er diet to rice and chicken….very bland diet is needed and I would suggest water only as drink. They get dehydrated very quickly which is dangerous.

        3. My dachshund has IBD and he eats Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Canned food and Purina Hydrolyzed chicken flavored dry food. He only has sweet potato treats. He also takes Budesonide every other day. This sounds exactly how his symptoms started with the bloody mucous stool, diarrhea, rumbling belly…etc. We had an endoscopy and got bxs to prove it was IBD. It took a long time (and money) but we finally have him healthy and normal poops! You need a veterinarian to get you a prescription for all of the food and Budesonide. We tried him on prednisone, but it made him bloated and lethargic and antisocial. 🙁 Good luck! I hope yours gets better!

          1. A word of caution: My dog was on Budesonide for years for IBD. At age 14, she developed zinc deficiency which caused her skin to break out in itchy lumps and bumps. If your dog is on Budesonide for a long time, ask your vet if you should be adding zinc supplements. My dog is doing a lot better, but I wish I had known this before.

          1. My chiweenie was diagnosed at the age of 2 with IBD when he had surgery. He is on budesonide every other day. His only issue is that he really, really does not like the Royal Canin food, either dry or wet. I try to disguise it with a little pumpkin, sweet potato, low sodium chicken broth, peanut butter or banana. Nothing works very well. He picks up bites of the food and drops it on the floor beside his bowl. It takes him a very long time to eat what little he finally gets down. It’s a real ordeal! How is it that only Royal Canin makes this food? Seems to me there should be alternatives. Maybe I’ll try to novel protein, but if the problem is that protein can’t be easily digested, how can that help? It’s still protein that isn’t hydrolyzed.

        4. My dog has Intestinal Lymphangiectasia which is an inflammatory of the lacteal vessels in the intestines. This disease sits under IBD and is usually secondary to IBD. I HIGHLY suggest you take your pup to your vet and get a proper diagnosis. My dog’s condition went unrecognized until I noticed severe hair loss and it was his major symptom. I brought him to my vet and had her draw his senior panel. His protein “albumin” was 1.5 and normal range for this lab is 2.5. He was leaking all nutrients out from the lacteal vessels and would have died. Most dogs with IL have a poor outcome. I hired a nutritionist and found a vet that is familiar with this rare disease. The best thing I did was the nutritionist! We now have adjusted his for twice and although Dolche will never be in remission, he is happy and labs are close to normal. Your pup is missing serious nutrients and may have a food allergy or fat intolerance. These sort of irritants will exasperate an already pre existing condition. The right diet can change your dogs life, but it takes an expert to ensure all dietary needs are met. My nutritionist is at Colorado state university and everything was over the phone or through email. Absolutely the best thing I did for my dog! Best of luck!

          1. Hi! We also have problems with our little bichon. Could you please tell me if you could help us with the email of the nutritionist you are in connection with? Thank you!

        5. Tracy, my dog has IBD with anal fistulas. I read that beef is bad for dogs with IBD. I wonder about the raw, too. Aspen is also good while on Amoxi-clav (antibiotic).

          1. Tracy, Also, my dog is on Cyclosporine and Ketoconazole. Ketoconosole acts as a dosage booster even though it is technically, an antifungal medicine. He is also on Budesonide.

    1. Oh my gosh! This is exactly what my dog does! The vets kept putting off proper examinations because they said if she only gorged and vomits spring – fall then it didn’t make sense that there would be something medical and believed it was more behavioural… finally got her in for an ultrasound and endoscope and is confirmed IBD…. and yes she gorges on grass every spring through to fall and throws up on the regular… hoping the prednisone and diet changes will help and we’ll see a reduction in her need to devour the grass.

    2. We never let our dog eat grass anymore or anything else if he has a flare up. Why? Because it starts the ball rolling with the vomiting and then it’s hard to stop it. Eating grass only made things worse. We starting giving our dog cooked veggies that we boil & mash along with his kibble being a single protein grain free dry dog food. He’s on Zignature Kangaroo & Natural Balance Fish Formula. We switch him back & forth on these 2 foods so his body does not develop an allergy to its ingredients. Every 2-3 weeks we switch it. Hope this helps!

  2. Thus information about IBD has been very helpful and my dig Banbury suffers grim it regularly. But so far not bren given whst is suggested in eeb site. He is 13yrs okd and i love him so much and am always searching 4 treatment for him.

  3. My miniature Yorkshire terrier (8years) was diagnosed after a destended abdomen and diarrhea/vomiting led to a blood test revealing extremely low albumin levels (11). She also had siezures due to low electrolyte level. She has had ultrasound to rule out cancer but the albumin level was too low to have any form of biopsy. We tried a strict diet but that didn’t help and so now she is on steroids daily and a strict diet. Repeated blood tests show albumin levels between 11 and 28 and whilst the steroids are helping she is in a three week cycle of being really well then unwell for 2-3 days, everyone seems puzzled and of course I am worried. Any suggestions or advice greatly appreciated.

    1. Damion, my blue heeler has IBD. we are just starting the 3 week pretazone treatment. she is 17.8 lbs and should be 45 or more lbs. They have done surgery and took samples. Nothing is getting better. It seems she is getting worst. What food are you using for your pup? There is so many foods its insane.

      1. Hi Rainey
        My golden is 2 with IBD. She was responding very well to me cooking for her or eating freeze dried dog food. Now she is having issues with both of those so we just started a round of prednisone. She was never able to tolerate any brand of kibble or canned food, Hydrolyzed or not. Have you found anything to help?

      2. Just stumbled across this site and was wondering how your baby was doing? I have a 15 month old who has dropped to 32 pounds from 40 pounds in the last 3 months. He is now on hydrolized diet but I’m not sure we are getting anywhere yet.

    2. My Yorkshire terrier has gone through similar. Two years ago she was on death’s door, but after a last ditch endoscopy we discovered she not only had IBD but also a bacterial problem that was affecting her ability to absorb protein. After two years of phasing out the steroids she is now only on Chlorambucil. Most of the time she is fine, but we still have the occasional flare ups.

  4. The only thing that has helped my chi-mix girl is Prednisone. After trying unsuccessfully to wean her from it (she relapses), she takes Prednisone regularly. I give her the smallest dose that I know works for her. I give her one dose every other day, since Icannot wean her without her getting sick. She has been happy and healthy with this technique.

    1. How old is she? Our lab is 10 years old and just diagnosed a week ago. He is on Prednisone, but haven’t seen relief yet. I’m wondering if this will be going on for the rest of his life…..

    2. Makes my girl crazy! Really hate the prednisone…has created a crazy dog who eats and drinks like the world is ending tomorrow and then proceeds to pee and poop on the floor?Love my girl (13 yr old Boston terrier). Feel so bad for her & losing my mind. Almost lost her last year to IBD and she is my bestie. $5,000 in vet bills after finally a diagnosis from a lifetime of gastro issues. Texas A&M emergency room because her doctor was ill equipped and lacked the expertise. They saved her life❤️ Looking for dietary fix. Steroids can’t be the answer.

        1. I have a 3 year old that is on buderside 5 mg every other day privation ha wet n dry dog food for months he was fine now he just started vomiting again

  5. My 11 year old Lhasa poo, Bernie, was diagnosed last year with IBD resulting in PLE. He presenteded with weight loss, loss in appetite, lethargy, a distended abdomin and thinning fur coat. His Dr has had him on metronidazole, prednisone and atopica every day for the past 12 months. He’s also on the hills prescription low fat diet 3x daily, and we have been told he will be on both long term. He gets regular blood work done every 3 months now (at first it was much more frequent), his treatment plan saved his life. It was quite touch and go for 2-4 months, but at his last checkup his Dr actually reported he was actually on the chubby side!

    1. How is your dog doing? Mine was just diagnosis with PLE and I have read every study I can find. Looking for fellow dogs with PLE.

      1. Hi Victoria my cross breed dog has also got PLE, it’s been horrific. She is in steroids and chlorambucil to try and stabilise her guts. She is losing weight and so weak. Trying her with all sorts of low fat diet food, chicken is the only success I’m having at the moment but she was ok on white fish and eggs last week. All her levels are a great concern and her liver isn’t great. A very concerning time and I feel we are living on borrowed time, totally heart breaking. I hope you manage to get some answers and find a diet that works for you.

  6. My 15yr old Sheltie cross has just been diagnosed with IBD . She is on a strict chicken and rice diet, and low dose Docycyclline antibiotics. She no longer has the diarrhoea but I’m struggling to get her to eat this bland diet… Any suggestions ?? She has to stay on this for a further 4 weeks to allow for the inflammation to settle before being reviewed.

  7. My 12 year old standard poodle was diagnosed last March with IBD. We tried several different diets and finally Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein for dogs. I buy the canned, kibble and treats. She enjoys them all, especially the treats. She is also treated with budesonide and cyclosporin

  8. Jake, My 2-year-old chiweenie, developed the odd habit of licking metal objects, such as the clasp on my other dog’s collar. I also noticed that he constantly chewed grass when he was outside. He chewed holes (lots of them) in blankets. When he started projectile vomiting horrible-looking brown stuff (undigested food for the most part), I took him to the vet, thinking he had eaten an inanimate object. On x-ray we saw a blob at the entrance of his stomach, and the vet performed surgery to remove it. As it turned out, that “blob” was inflamed tissue that prohibited Jake from digesting his food. His intestines were inflamed, and the vet diagnosed him with IBD, which a biopsy confirmed. Granted, the surgery was perhaps extreme, but it allowed for a quick diagnosis within a few weeks after the first sign that something was going on. For the most part, Jake never acted as if he was in pain. Several months prior to this, he developed a fever and had what we thought was a stomach bug. Antibiotics and hydrolyzed food cleared that up quickly. That was probably the first warning sign. The point I want to make is that pet owners should pay close attention to any unusual behaviors. Licking metal is not normal, but at first I just thought it was a quirky habit. I’m happy to report that hydrolyzed protein food and budesonide are working well for Jake. He has not vomited once since he started on this treatment. Prior to all of this, Jake often threw up a bit of white frothy stuff early in the morning before he ate. I figured he had a touch of GERD. In looking back, I think I should have put the pieces together sooner. At any rate, Jake is much improved. Two things that I think may have contributed to his IBD: he dug up my cat’s poop in the yard and ate it probably more than I know, and he got into discarded food that my next door neighbor threw out. No more running loose in the yard! I hope that reading Jake’s story will help someone else get the care their pets need.

    1. Hi how was your dog diagnosed? What tests did they do? My German Shepard is constantly eating at her dog tag … and suffers from gurgling stomach etc
      Any info would be great ! Thank you

    2. Hi Karen
      thanks for this. I thought my dog (Border Terrier girl) was the only one that licks metal. She tries to eat mine and anybody else’s rings off their fingers!. She has had many of the same symptoms as your dog. Gurgling tummy, sickness and diarrhoea, chewing blankets (a sign of pain for her I think) eating grass. She is 4 years old and has had gastric problems since we got her at 8 weeks old. She has just has an ultra sound and lots of blood tests but no mention from the vet of doing a intestinal biopsy to confirm IBD. The vet wants to start her on steroids but wants to do a colonoscopy and biopsies to rule out bowel cancer first (even though nothing indicates bowel cancer).She has been “diagnosed” with Reflux but this time we saw an internal medicine specialist who thinks IBD. I have a decision to make as to treatment and am searching for information relating to long term steroid use as she is only 4 years old. Vet says that there is a possibility that prebiotics and change of diet (she has been on Royal Canin Hypoallergenic DR21 for 2 years now) may help but that she will probably need more treatment as the relapses get closer so I am torn as to what to do with her.

  9. I have a 5 yr old yorkie who was diagnosed with IBD shortly after I rescued her. She stopped eating and would lie on the floor shaking. At first they thought it was addisons but after many dr visits and other workups and still refusing all food she underwent exploratory surgery and biopsies and that is what they discovered. She was then placed on a low dose, 1mg of budesonide daily and started Hills ZD dry and canned. She has recovered nicely amd we were able to cut her back on the budesonide to 1/4 tab every other day. So far so good but if we start allowing her snacks of table scraps she seems to slip backward! Also she has had some anal gland problems with them needing to be expressed lately. Wondering if it has to do with the canned food. Otherwise she seems much better. She has been in the diet for a year and a half. Her hair was falling out in the beginning but much better now that we cut her dose back. I am going to stsrt her on a probiotic. I think it might help with the gland.problem.

    1. Hi! We have the same problem-without the confirmed ibd-still trying to see if it’s ibd.
      The glands are the ones which worry us terribly now. Is there anything to do? Thank you! Hope everything’s fine!

  10. Our Labrador Retriever was diagnosed a week ago. He has a significant case of IBD, diagnosed through endoscopy and biopsies. He has spots of hemorrhages in his small intestines. He has all the symptoms, but one that I have not found anyone talking about- he has severe abdominal cramping when he drinks water. He has even vomit up all his water. He has very loud abdominal noises following the cramping that last hours. Does anyone know of this happening with IBD? Or why?

    1. Yes, my ten your old Maltese cramps up from drinking too much water at a time and then gets sick and nauseous for a few hours or more afterwards. Now I will only allow her to drink smaller amounts at a time, never refusing her water, but smaller amounts at a time. Also I give her one half of the bowl with room temperature water, followed by the remainder of the bowl with cold. It works. No more cramping or nausea. She suffers from food allergies and mild IBS. I’m always trying to read up on what works best for other dogs with these issues. Hope this helped.

      1. My Chinuahua has the problem of vomiting water and froth first thing and used to sometimes be sick 5 times in the garden and have awful stomach cramps. I feel so bad that I have only just gotten to the bottom of her illness and she has been diagnosed with IBD. She has suffered for years. The vet at first thought it was pancreatitis but only yesterday after giving her steroids for 2 weeks he’s told me she has IBD. I have halved the Bose after 2 weeks and she’ll be on that dose for 30 days now,then we’ll try and reduce it a bit more. She was ill every 3 to 4 days. I’m hoping she doesn’t get the drinking and weeing side effect or a moon face. She’s so pretty 🙂

        It’s so good to read everybody’s experience makes you feel your not alone and lots of advice. Thank you!

    2. Susanne, and anyone else with a dog vomiting water, please talk to your vet ASAP! They are in danger of dehydration. There are some easy drugs to try if they feel nauseated from IBD. My vet has me keep them on hand all the time to give during flares. You can also be taught to give fluids under the skin at home (it’s easy) to help if they hit the point where being dehydrated makes them more nauseated so re-hydrating is the key to improving.

  11. I have an 8 year old Westie who is currently in the middle of another bad flare up. He was diagnosed with IBD last year by endoscopy and biopsies after loosing 2kg. He cannot eat dried food and did not tolerate a change in his wet food. Our vet is trying to avoid the use of steriods bit has him on a short course fot this flare up.

    He doesn’t have the usual sickness on this occasion but does have the stomach cramps and terrible trapped gas that the vet doesn’t know how to resolve. He is taking windeze but they do not appear to help… any suggestions?

    1. I think your dog needs to go on steroids long term to reduce flare ups. These are very uncomfortable for your dog. Also he may be B12 deficient . I don’t think the windeze would help and may hinder if they react with other meds . Would opiod pain relief help too ?

    2. My small dog is now on steroids and when I asked my vet how this would effect her long term he said she’ll be healthier as she will diseases such as diabetes….so I’m looking on the steroids as a good thing. She’s on a very low dose

  12. My 11 yo springer spaniel started refusing her food a few months ago. We at first thought it was her teeth, but then the extremely loud stomach noises started and accompanied by bouts of throwing up. She has lost so much weight and is lethargic. I have tried everything, including making her all sorts of food – whatever I can get her to eat. All would go well for sometimes a week or two, and then vomit everywhere. I thought it may be a parasite, but that’s not it. I just found this and I am wondering if this is her issue. We are taking her tomorrow for a complete blood panel to see if it reveals anything. It really sucks – we spent $6k on our lab 3.5 years ago to save his life (ruptured pancreas) but we cannot do that at this time. Any insight? I am desperate and cannot take seeing my sweet Mollie like this.

  13. Also, in addition to my post above – the only thing I am able to get her to eat some days is the Zesty Paws Allergy Immune Bites. Has anyone tried these or the Probiotic Bites from that line? I was looking at getting some of those as well and that is when I found this article and feed.

  14. Our 6 year old Yorkie has IBD. After several flare ups, trying several foods, getting pancreatitis twice and now bladder stones, we opted for a nutritionist from the veterinary school in TN. It was the best $375 we have spent. We cook for him and his flare ups have decreased. I’ve read that some of your dogs use an anxiety medication and I am going to ask my vet about this. Seems that our dog gets flare ups after he’s been stressed too. I had a vet prescribe a pain medication that landed our dog in the ER. So our dog can’t have NSAIDS as they make him extremely sick. His tummy is gurgling right now and I’m worried about him because I don’t want it to turn into pancreatitis. When your dogs have beginning signs of IBD flare ups, what do you do for him/her? I’ve been giving him a Pepcid, cerenia and the Metrazyanole medication. Hoping this works for him! Any advice is sure appreciated.

    1. Our dog has had IBD now for 8 years, and he is 10 now. He has the type of IBD that is in the small intestine. This was proven by an endoscopic biopsy. We tried the vets hydrolysed dog foods which always resulted in sloppy smelly poos. This was not a surprise as these foods are made from foods like chicken which are known allergens. I did some research because our next option was going to be food made from chicken feathers I read that a novel protein food, limited ingredient & grain free was the answer. As well we started boiling veggies to add to his diet reducing the amount of protein & fat in his overall diet. Well he tolerated the veggies great!!! What a relief, we tried him on several veggies such as potato, yams, carrots, beets, peas & green beans, also some berries for treats. He is also on Budesonide which only affects the digestive system & has less side effects than Prednisone. We give him Pepcid & a PPI that I take called Rebeprazole which is lactose free, & every 2 weeks I give him a B-12 shot. We used to see a flare up every time he ate something he shouldn’t have or once a month. When he has a flare, we stop his dry kibble, only give him veggies cooked & start a 4day dose of Cerenia. Oh and we also give him a daily dose of Sucralfate each morning one hour before breakfast. Originally, we would not keep him on the Budesonide & would stop it for a while but found he was getting worse, so we give it to him daily now. We decided it was better for him to have a shortened but quality life rather than a long and painful one. Hope this helps you in your journey with your furry friend

  15. My 5 year old rescue has recently been diagnosed with IBD. To make matters worse, she’s on antibiotics that are making her nauseous to heal a troublesome bacteria called helicobactor. Has anyone else been told that their dog has this bacteria? Although it cost me thousands of dollars to get this diagnosis, it’s like pulling teeth from our internal specialist vet to get a clear handle on how best to manage this disease. I’m so worried! I have the pickiest eater in the world, so a special can food diet won’t go over at all. We are trying acupuncture to help> Has anyone else ever tried acupuncture plus a calming probiotic.. Our vet thinks it might help her. Thanks in advance for any input!

    1. My dog benefits from regular accupuncture for his IBD & its symptoms. He too was diagnosed w Heliobacter infection via biopsy when having endoscopy. Kangaroo canned dog food by Rayne Clinical Nutrition is very tasty. My dog likes it as well as Alligator canned food. He too is super finicky. He takes prednisone, cerenia, prilosec, metachlopramide. Just dx’d last December. He’s a GSD mix.

  16. My son contracted IBD from his dog whom we later found out had IBD. Now we are dog free, cat free and pet free but my son has to be on immunosuppressants for the rest of his life.

  17. My Lhasa Apso mix was diagnosed with IBD after an endoscopy 2 years ago. Before that, I was constantly at the vet and constantly trying different foods. Cyclosporine did not help and Budesonide made him much worse! I finally asked the vet if he could just stay on Metronidazole for the rest of his life because that is the only thing that really helps! The vet said yes. He eats Hill’s ID canned food and occasionally the Hill’s or Royan Canin kibble. For treats, I buy him the Nylabone Health Naturals which don’t seem to cause any trouble and he loves them. I can give him a small amount of chicken or turkey as a treat, but I keep the amount really small. Mostly, I don’t let him have anything too fatty. He has been stable for almost 2 years now so I just thought I’d share his results.

  18. We are struggling mightily with IBD. We have periods of stability and terrible flare ups. We are amidst the worst flare up yet. My fur child is a 6 yr old GSD mix with a history of diarrhea, vomiting and anxiety. He has been on tylan, budesonide, Pepcid, antihistamines, xanax, reglan, mirtazapine and hills zd until this recent flare where he went on a bland diet (egg whites, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, and cream of wheat), Flagyl, Cipro, cerenia and a few days of Imodium. He improved immensely. As we have attempted to transition him to Royal Canin hP he is become quite ill again..refusing to eat (hand feeding him) and diarrhea returning. Any thoughts?

    1. In May we rushed our Bichon to vets overnight as she bloated up . They told us to expect the worst she may need to be put to sleep. They thought she had a twisted stomach. We paid for specialists tests in Ireland where we live which cost over €6k. They found out she had IBD. She had been on antibiotics and B12 injections. This worked for a week or two and then ascites returned. We changed her diet to Royal Canin AnAllergenic as per vets advise. She was fine for a week and now she is back to having loose stools one day and straining to poo next day. She has no energy and just miserable. She is our baby and we love her and would do anything we could to help her. Looks like we don’t have much options left now. She is 8 year old Bichon neutered never had pups. Has anyone experienced this? Her ascites is quite bad today.

      1. Yes. Our Bichon developed IBD at 14 years. Prednisone and Royal Canin low fat diet have helped stabilize her, but she’s thin as a rail, other than her asides.

  19. My daughter’s little 3 year old chihuahua/ minpin mix has been struggling with IBD since May. She has been up and down since then with just diet regimen using Hill ID. No treats or people food. Currently in the middle of a flare up probably triggered by stress of moving to new house so we started her on Prednisone and lorazepam 5 days ago. We were making some slow progress until last night. Had the worse episode of severe vomiting, with horrible screeching sounds, then continual whining and we think she got a little Caesar salad from the table when we left her unattended for a few minutes. Can’t believe how sick she got. We ended up taking her to ER for pain meds, anti nausea meds, and fluids. Not sure what future holds for her. So sad today.

    1. Our Benny has been struggling for 3 weeks, we have done so many tests to try to figure out what the issue is..vomiting, diarrhea, refusing to eat, stomach cramping, regurgitating (essentially projectile vomiting), etc. Nearly $2,000 later in vet bills the doc believes it’s IBD. He keeps getting seemingly better, but then his meds run out, and he regresses. It’s been very hard on all of us, he is just so depressed as he regresses and so are we. Currently we have him on prednisone, cerenia, zulfran and an opiate to slow down his GI tract. Switched him to a prescreption diet (Hills)..throwing out all his treats and will likely stick with fruits and veggies as treats moving forward. Just really at a loss, and saddened that this is a lifelong prognosis. You’re not alone, we are so sad too! Wishing your baby comfort in the days ahead

    2. I also have a nearly 5 year old chihuahua/minpin cross who we adopted at 18 months knowing she had IBD but we’re told she was under control! She came with 32 pages of medical history from the Blue Cross but our vets still did a bioposy to confirm Ibd for the second time. She survives on hills id low fat dry and the stewed chicken id low fat wet along with cooked venison and chicken breast, hypoallergenic dog treats and antibiotics twice a day. She now never gets vomit ing or diarrhea but she has really painful stomach cramps that usually last 24 hours quite regularly. She is having an episode at the moment which is awful to witness as there is nothing I can do. The vet is not sure this is IB D and has taken bloods twice in the last 4 months to check for pancreatitis but it has come back negative but showed some dehydration and low white cells. He wants to do an ultrasound and x Ray next but if it shows as IBD again then we are not covered on the insurance. Hate seeing her in so much pain though so really need to check to make sure the cramps are not something else! However, if it does come back as IB D what do I do about the cramps? Concerned owner

  20. My Staffordshire bull terrier has had fecal samples taken,bloods,ultrasound done she lost a lot of weight she had constant runs vet put her on royal canin gastro intestinal low fat food & she has steroids 1 twice a day she has 3 small meals a day & she now has normal poo! She has an occasional flare up every now & again she has been diagnosed with IBD

  21. Hello all!! I’m in despite need for some advice, my rottweiler is 7 and she has…we think ibd , she has very runny watery poo vomiting from time to time rapid loss of waight 50kg down to 28kg she’s hard to get excited now bloods showing low on protein IV been to my local vet and spending alot of money to treat her with different diets, meds, steroids, she’s drinks way to much water to the point of vomiting she doesn’t have the energy to hop up into the car or on the foot of my bed like she always has she got sick roughly 6-8 months ago and shes not getting any better PLEASE SOMEONE can you shed some light on our situation as we don’t want to lose our beautiful girl thank you for reading this!!

  22. hi, my 9 year old bull terrier mix was just diagnosed with Inflammatory bowel disease after an abdominal ultrasound. She had been having bloody diarrhea and vomiting, and spent 4 days and nights in an emergency center and they started her on steroids and she started to improve. Right before she came home the fungal study via urine came back positive for Histoplasmosis antigen. So they stopped the steroids and put her on fluconazole, metronidazole, Carafate, and omeprazole. So my question is why is the steroids contraindicated for the Histoplasmosis if it was helping her? Thanks ahead of time.

  23. Hi I have an 18 month old cavapoo who has been struggling with lots of the symptoms described above. Loose stools. bloody diarrhoea, mucus, trying to eat grass, vomiting, terrible gurgling stomach every few days. This has been going on for 5 months now. He has ended up admitted for fluids twice. He has had lots of blood tests and an ultrasound scan. He is low in vitamin B12. Everything else has been ok. He is on Hills ZD food allergy diet(kibble)and the only treat he gets is freshly cooked chicken breast. He is tiny(only 3kgs) and has lost a little weight recently as has gotten worse again- diet initially helped but seem to be in the middle of a bad couple of months! Me and the vet are both thinking IBD now and he is back at vets today for discussion about endoscopy and biopsies to confirm this. He seems very young in comparison to everyone else’s fur babies for developing this? Also what food is everyone else feeding their doggies?

  24. My dog has diabetes and mild IBD, he is doing well other than the 1-2 flare ups of IBD monthly. We give him hills biome w Royal Canin soft glycobalance each day. We had the GI blood panel done, all ok, we had xrays, all ok.
    Vet nutritionist says he can stay on this diet and we can add just a bit of boiled 94 fat free gr beef.
    He can’t take steroids because of diabetes. Does anyone have a diabetic dog with IBD?
    Called vet for probiotics today, unsure if it will help. Problem is he has to eat to get insulin and if he’s got stomach upset, it’s very difficult.
    Thank you

  25. Hi! Our story began when she (our Bichon)was 6 months old-vomit,stools with mucus and blood more and more frequent- to reach a peak at about 7 days between the crises. We tried lots of diets and combined cooked foods, but nothing worked. Our vet suspected her of pancreatitis – confirmed by some blood analyses, but when the episodes relapsed she was diagnosed with ibd-according to the symptoms. We followed treatment with metronidazole and prednisone among others. It worked, but our vet and not only (since we have been to many other doctors following blood and stool analyses, x rays and ultrasounds) insisted on giving them up since metronidazole is an antibiotic-and it can make her immune system irresponsive to it if taken for a long time (at least this is what I was told) and prednisone has some bad effects (and this was obvious also for us and not indicated as she was/is still too young-now 2 years old). Finally, we reached a specialist for an endoscopy, but he insisted on trying to see if she gets better on a different diet – monoprotein diet – horse and annallergenic Royal Canin. We also gave her some enterochronic powder and yudigest – a probiotic. It worked somehow, but she doesn’t like it very much. We are even obliged to give her food ourselves, from our hand, which is not ok- she is quite spoilt also.But we do it since we really want her to feel better–she has gone through a lot. There are even times when I wonder how she managed to reach this point in her life. Finally, the doctor who prescribed the last died told us that she actually has food allergies and postponed the endoscopy. Now, the problem is that we need to find others things that she can eat and to truly see if she has food intolerance. We intend to test her for this and from there to think again about endoscopy and treatment – as I said she is better, but she still got episodes. She also has congenital glaucoma, she’s very stubborn and she eats everything she finds tasty in the street while walking her-which stresses us out since many of her episodes are chalked up to this. The newest problem is that she has problems with her glands – they need expressing and this has become very often – every 4 days. She was given antibiotics, she was better and then relapsed. Anybody familiar to this? How can we help her? The vet says there’s no treatment to this…

  26. Hey, my english staffxbulli has had ibd for a year now,ive spent thousands on him to make him better without any luck, i am feeding him kangaroo ,prem beef and also fish in springwater, at times he poops ok, then its terriable,as hes an inside dog i gotta check his bum b4 he comes back inside and most time i have to wipe it , he gets marrow and sweet potatoe mashes in his food. The vets wanna do a biopsy and an ordoscophy but this will cost another 4 thousand dollars, his tummy at times growls so loud and yes he chews on grass often. Ive been stopping him chewing grass , and a lady suggested some oil to help his tummy growls which has made it ease, at times he poops good but never stays that way. Strange thing is he very happy and playful, nothing about him has really changed bar his tummy growls and his poops. I just wish he would poop good again..

    1. Hello David. My English Bull Terrier sounds similar to yours – loose poos, having to wipe his bottom most days, eats grass and used to vomit EVERY morning but only does this some mornings now (I feed him supper of one quarter cup of kangaroo based dry food). Tried mixing his Kangaroo meat with sardines in spring water but they had salt added which probably isn’t good – I did rinse them under the tap first though. He shakes when he stands still and “sucks” his blanky for several hours a day. I believe the blanket sucking is a comfort activity for him. Being a Bull Terrier he does not show pain or discomfort which makes this all a bit harder to treat. Usually feed him Kangaroo mince mixed with some cooked brown rice (white rice looks so bland) and now also give him some Vet specialty dry based on Kangaroo and sorghum. Has had these symptoms all his life of 4 years and the vets don’t seem to have a “definitive” answer for me which is majorly frustrating. My Porky is also happy and playful and certainly doesn’t look “sick”….He can also vomit up white frothy stuff and at times has vomited up entire meals.

  27. My dog was first diagnosed with IBD at around 6mo old (via endoscopy and biopsy), although he was suffering since we got him at 8 weeks. I haven’t seen it mentioned in the comments, but our vet recommended a specific food rather than steroids since he was so young. It’s called Hills Gastrointestinal Biome. And literally within days his stool was normal again. It has been like magic. The only problem is that he doesn’t love the food, so we often have to mix something in with it unless he’s really hungry. But it works wonders. It took him about 2-3 months to transition to it. The food worked almost immediately (better stool within about 24-48 hours), but i think it is high in fiber and had him going to the bathroom about 5 times a day until he fully adjusted (and now it’s regular 2-3 times per day). I’m curious if anyone else has had similar luck with the food. If not, I would suggest trying it. He has not had a single flare up in over a year.

    1. Hello, I have a 14 mo old Golden who has been on Hill Gastrointestinal Intestinal Biome since she was 7 mo old. It immediately stopped the loose stools, but yes she poops 4 times a day. ( normal looking)
      She was later diagnose with IBD after her repeatedly swallowing things she shouldn’t, vomiting and finally many tests (ultrasound, x-rays, endoscopy) The specialist continued her on the Hills dog food through all of it and prescribed it to some of her other clients. It is expensive, but takes care of loose stools. Now if I could only get her to stop swallowing parts of toys, sticks, etc. She doesn’t understand that it makes her sick 🙁

  28. Hi All
    I am a first time dog owner and would love your advice/suggestions about my 7 yr old American cocker spaniel. He has been in perfect health all these years till about 3 wks or so ago . He was on a course of rimadyl (I don’t know if its related) when he developed acute diarrhea. Loose stools/twice a day. His vet gave him endosorb which did not help. He then developed ascites. Took him to the vet and his albumin was 1.3 mg/dl. Diagnosis of protein losing enteropathy was made and he was started on steroids 10mg/day,flagyl and a prescription diet. He was on that dose of steroid with some initial semi formed stools and albumin increasing to 1.5 in a week. Now he again has watery stools and his albumin decreased to 1.4. My vet has now increased his steroid to 15mg/day(he weighs 20lbs). How long does it typically take for the steroids to work. It has now been at least 2 weeks since he has been on some dose of steroid. Is it time to try a different med like cyclosporine or budesonide. Any other tips to help with his loose stools? I am at my wits end and have never seen such a happy dog turn into what he is now. Maybe I am impatient and need to wait longer but I also don’t want him to unnecessarily suffer if there are some other options which are worth exploring. I appreciate Y’alls input.