Like humans, it is normal for dogs to experience the occasional upset stomach, or episode of diarrhea, but experiencing severe symptoms, such as bloody stools, may be a sign of something more serious.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) refers to a group of gastrointestinal diseases that result in the inflammation of the intestines. The exact cause of IBD in dogs is unknown, but bacteria and nutrients normally found in the intestine are thought to be the cause of the abnormal immune response that causes inflammation.
Dr. Jonathan Lidbury, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained IBD’s potential causes. “IBD is a syndrome that is characterized by chronic intestinal inflammation in dogs,” Lidbury said. “The cause of IBD in dogs is not fully known, but recent research has provided some important clues. Basically, there is a loss of tolerance in the dog’s intestinal immune system to the nutrients or bacteria that are normally found in the bowel. This leads to inflammation of the intestines.”
Common signs of IBD in dogs include excessive diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Dog owners may also notice rumbling sounds in the abdominal cavity, flatulence, and even bloody stools in dogs with IBD.