Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to group of conditions that cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (digestive tract containing stomach and intestines). This inflammation occurs due to infiltration of inflammatory cells in GI tract. IBD is a catch-all-term as it describes many conditions with similar signs but different causes. In this condition, a single or multiple gastrointestinal sections are inflammed, causing the intestines to become less efficient at absorbing nutrients from digested food, as well as thickening of GI lining and problems in motility or the ability of the bowel to contract and move food. Chronic vomiting results if the infiltration of inflammatory cells is in the stomach or higher areas of the small intestine. A watery diarrhea with weight loss results if the infiltration is in the lower small intestine. A mucous diarrhea with fresh blood (colitis) results if the infiltration occurs in the large intestine. In many cases, the whole GI tract is affected with infiltrating cells and more signs will be evident.
There are different types of IBDs and differentiated on the type of cell that is causing the inflammation and the specific section of the gastrointestinal tract that is affected. Basically, any time a dog's intestine remains irritated over long periods of time, some form of IBD is present.
Besides vomiting, diarrhea and blood in stool, other symptoms associated with IBD include weight loss, fatigue, depression, gas (flatulance), abdominal pain, rumbling and gurgling sounds and distressed hair coat.