Diagnosing Feline IBD with an Intestinal Biopsy

Feline IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease is a gastrointestinal disorder that may develop in any part of the gastrointestinal tract in cats. Although the real cause of IBD is not yet established, the condition develops when the cat's intestine or stomach gets inflamed due to white blood cells. IBD may become a chronic condition in few pets and thus any symptoms of IBD should be monitored and treated with prompt medication. In order to obtain a correct diagnosis of Feline IBD, the vet will evaluate the symptoms of disease.

Symptoms of Feline IBD

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bloody Stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss

Diagnosis of Feline IBD

Since the symptoms of feline IBD are similar to many other illnesses, it's important to prevent the use of over the counter products to treat symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. The vet will perform a thorough physical examination and palpate the cat's abdomen to check for swelling or abnormalities. Blood tests and biochemical profile tests help to determine the presence of enzymes, glucose, cholesterol and other constituents of blood that may change due to IBD.

Pets may also exhibit similar symptoms if they're infected with intestinal parasites. A fecal examination will rule out the presence of bacteria and worms in the feces. The vet will then perform an ultrasound to check the internal organs. Ultrasounds can also reveal the presence of tumors in the stomach or intestine, commonly associated with lymphoma. Apart from these tests the vet will perform an intestinal biopsy to obtain a definite diagnosis.

Intestinal Biopsy

A full thickness intestinal biopsy is the best diagnostic procedure as it enables trained specialists to obtain a sample of the intestine from different areas of the bowels. In addition the only way to differentiate intestinal lymphoma from feline IBD is conducting a full thickness biopsy. In order to perform the biopsy, the cat will be sedated and samples of the intestines will be extracted for laboratory analysis. During the surgery, the vet will obtain samples from 3 or more areas in the gastrointestinal tract. Although fibreoptic endoscopy is a less invasive method to perform a biopsy, it doesn't provide large samples for analysis. During a full thickness biopsy, a tumor or mass that wasn't revealed during the x-ray or ultrasound may also be removed for further testing.

Risks of Intestinal Biopsy

Since a full thickness biopsy requires surgical intervention, the cat will be hospitalized. The cost of performing a full thickness biopsy and anesthesia is high. Pet owners also have to commit both time and money to pets suffering from IBD. Full thickness biopsies also take longer to heal due to the incisions or wounds caused by surgery. However, since a proper diagnosis determines the course and duration of treatment, it's best to work with the vet to help the cat recover at the earliest.

Treatment of Feline IBD

Feline IBD can be controlled with medication. Antibiotic medication, anti-inflammatory medication and antimetics reduce the symptoms of the disease and help keep pets more comfortable. Medication should be administered on time to prevent future complications.

Most cats respond well to IBD medication. It's important to follow up with scheduled vet checks and treat pets promptly if vomiting or diarrhea persists.