Stomach problems in your dog or cat could be because of irritable bowel syndrome or irritable bowel disease. These two disorders cause various digestion problems that affect your pet's quality of life. They both have similar symptoms. However, you need a veterinarian's diagnosis to determine which one your pet has. Keep reading to learn more about these two problems and how your veterinarian can help.

What Are IBS and IBD?

IBS and IBD share similar symptoms but have different causes and concerns. Both refer to unusual bowel problems. Many people associate IBS with a sensitive stomach or digestive system. IBS symptoms often occur during stressful times or after a change in diet. However, it usually has no known cause.

IBD is when the digestive system becomes inflamed and interferes with normal intestinal contractions. Unlike IBS, IBD usually has a cause, such as allergies or bacterial problems. IBD is often chronic and needs lifelong treatment.

How Do These Two Issues Present in Pets?

IBS and IBD both often present with diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. Some pets may also show signs of bloating. Other pets may show mucus and blood in their stool. With IBS, the symptoms are usually mild and will come and go. Pets with IBD may show severe symptoms and even lose weight. In their case, they will have more consistent and long-lasting problems.

What Other Problems Share the Same Symptoms?

IBS and IBD aren't always the cause of a pet's digestive issue, nor are they very common. Other issues, like illness and parasites, can cause similar problems. Usually, viruses have other symptoms like lethargy or fever. You can sometimes see parasites in your pet's stool if that is the cause. Metabolic issues like diabetes can also cause digestive issues. Therefore, you will need a veterinarian to rule out other problems.

How Can Pet Owners Manage Symptoms?

If your pet has IBS, your veterinarian may suggest a change in diet. For example, your pet may need a high-fiber, minimally-processed diet. Your veterinarian may also prescribe anti-diarrhea medicine for flare-ups. IBD management depends on whether the veterinarian can find the cause. Often, the treatments require regular medication and a restricted diet. You should also always insure your pet has fresh water, especially at meal times, with either condition.

IBS and IBD problems in pets affect their health and comfort. You may need to make lifestyle and food changes to help your pet stay healthy. However, see a veterinarian before you assume your pet has these problems. Your pet could have a different treatable condition. Contact a veterinarian clinic to learn more.