Vet Talks: Holistic Advise For GI Issues in Dogs and Cats Pet Care Tips 3 min read
This week on NHV’s vet blog, I wanted to discuss a messy, inconvenient, but common issue for pet parents: gastrointestinal (GI) issues in dogs and cats.
First, let’s look at some common symptoms that may indicate your cat or dog is suffering from GI issues:
- Weight loss
- Bloody stools
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal enlargement
Causes of the above symptoms are important to diagnose due to ongoing worsening of clinical signs if not treated. Possible causes (among many!) of any GI symptom in your cat or dogs include parasite infections, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, intestinal blockage, and toxins. A trip to the vet is important when the above symptoms occur, so that the appropriate diagnostics can be performed. Veterinarian diagnostics for pet GI issues could include fecal tests for parasites and bacteria, blood work to rule out metabolic, endocrine, infectious, toxic, immune mediated issues; and imaging such as radiographs or ultrasound to rule out neoplastic or intestinal blockages causing symptoms.
If diagnostics are done and all major issues have been ruled out, it is possible that gastrointestinal disease in your cat or dog could have started due to a gastrointestinal irritant. Gastrointestinal irritants in pets could be pet food allergies, toxins, or even antibiotic therapy.
Toxins are a particular cause of GI problems in cats or dogs, as our pets may ingest something they shouldn’t through any number of ways, from rummaging the garbage to eating something on a walk. One of the scarier things that can cause acute vomiting and diarrhea are our human medications. Be sure to keep all medications far from reach to our pets. An emergency visit to your veterinarian is recommended if this happens!
Food allergies are a very common cause of GI problems. Unfortunately this is a chronic disease, and can be very uncomfortable. Signs of food allergies include chronic diarrhea, vomiting, belching, or frequent bowel movements (chronic itching, chronic skin disease and ear infections may also occur!). The main gastrointestinal irritants that I see in my practice include chicken, beef, wheat, corn and sometimes rice. A food allergy trial is the best way to determine which foods your pet is allergic too. To aid diarrhea, which often accompanies food allergies in pets, NHV offers Plantaeris, a fast acting natural supplement to help maintain normal bowel function. NHV Stimmune has also been very useful for food allergies.
For ongoing digestive and nutritional problems, NHV offers a digestion kit that includes NHV Yucca to help with appetite and digestion, and NHV Multi Essentials for increasing nutrition. For more acute problems like constipation NHV offers Maris, which can be particularly useful for chronic constipation; and for parasitic infection NHV Inulin can be helpful. I use NHV often in conjunction with western medications and diet change to hasten healing and support chronic GI issues and diseases.
If your pet is suffering from GI problems, and you would like an integrative approach to healing, please do contact me for an online consult, and I would be happy to draw up a plan for you.
Yours in wellness,
Dr. H. Cook (DVM, CVA)
Dr. Hillary Cook is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for fifteen years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats and chickens. When time allows, you can find her in the garden or on the tennis court!
Published: November 6, 2015