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Prognosis for Dogs with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Worried pet parents will often bring their dogs in to see our Greensboro vets with symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Though there is no cure for the condition, in many cases we can work to successfully manage it. Today, we check in to the prognosis for dogs with IBD.

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

This chronic condition can impact your dog’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract, including the intestines and stomach. IBD can impair your pooch’s ability to process nutrients and pass waste normally. This inability to properly digest their food can lead to many uncomfortable and unpleasant physical symptoms, including weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, constipation and fever.

How is IBD in dogs treated?

While there is not currently a cure for IBD in dogs, your vet may be able to prescribe diet changes and medications to help manage the condition. It’s critical to take time to discover the right combination of diet and medications to address your furry best friend’s symptoms.

Once you and your vet find the appropriate combination and are able to effectively manage symptoms, many dogs are eventually able to stop taking daily medicine. They may only require it when symptoms flare up.

Here are some common treatments often used to manage inflammatory bowel disease in dogs:


There are billions of bacteria living in your dog’s intestines. These are called microbiome, and if these are correctly maintained and nurtured via prebiotic fiber supplements or postbiotic end products, symptoms may improve. Good nutrition will be important to your pup’s long-term prognosis.

Prescription diets can often be helpful as well. Keep in mind that each dog is different and these diets can come in a number of different forms depending on your pet’s issues and the underlying cause of the IBD. Different formulas available that can help treat dogs with IBD include:

  • Foods that are high in fiber
  • Easily digestible foods
  • Hydrolyzed protein formulas (protein that’s been broken down into small components, which are less likely to cause an adverse food reaction in some dogs)
  • Novel proteins (avoid typical beef and chicken formulations)


If a parasite or bacterial infection is causing your dog’s IBD, deworming may be an effective way to reduce your dog’s IBD symptoms (fecal exams can sometimes miss these infections in your dog’s GI tract).

B12 Injections

B12 is an essential vitamin for dogs. If your pup's GI tract isn't absorbing nutrients as it should, your dog could suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 injections can help to keep your canine companion feeling energetic and happy.


Many dogs can be successfully treated through diet alone, however, in more severe cases medications may be required. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed by vets to help treat IBD in dogs. Antibiotics may help to reduce inflammation and restore the normal balance of microbiome in your dog's GI tract. In some cases, steroids may also prove helpful in fighting inflammation.

What is the life expectancy for dogs with IBD?

For the best possible treatment outcomes, it’s important to have IBD diagnosed, managed and closely monitored as soon - and as much - as possible.

If your dog is diagnosed with IBD the trick will be to stick with the trial and error phase of treatment until just the right combination of treatments has been established. If your pet's IBD can be managed successfully the prognosis is good.

By keeping your dog on the modified diet that works best for them, over time you may be able to reduce your pup's medications, and possibly even stop daily medications with the supervision of your vet.

Many dogs will do well for a number of years on the same diet and medication treatment, whereas others may require changes to their treatment every few months. Sadly, some dogs do not respond to treatment.

Diagnosis is essential when it comes to your dog's symptoms of IBD since severe forms of the condition can eventually progress to intestinal cancer.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you think your dog may be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease? Contact our Greensboro vets to schedule an examination for your pooch. Our compassionate and friendly vets are here to help your furry friend feel better. 

Prognosis for Dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Greensboro Vet

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