What Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)? 

IBD refers to a chronic inflammatory condition of the gut. In cats, IBD is among the most common causes of colitis that affect various digestive tract parts. In case IBD affects the stomach, we call it gastritis, but when it involves the small intestine, we refer to it as enteritis. Colitis is when IBD affects the colon.

In this medical condition, inflammatory cells penetrate the intestinal walls to disrupt normal digestion. Although factors that trigger IBD in cats are unknown, veterinarians believe that it is because of the outcome of a complex interaction between the microbiome, cat food, and the immune system.

What are the Symptoms of IBD in Cats?

Common symptoms that indicate IBD in cats include weight loss, vomiting, bloody stools, loss of appetite, and lethargy. All these symptoms can vary in frequency and severity as they depend on the type of IBD.

For instance, if your cat’s small intestine or stomach is inflamed, your furry friend usually vomits a lot. However, if her colon is affected, then you can notice symptoms like bloody stools or diarrhea.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will diagnose IBD after running a few tests such as fecal examination, baseline blood work, abdominal ultrasound, and X-rays. The doctor ensures whether the cat is suffering from intestinal lymphoma, bacterial or parasitic infections, or any metabolic disease.

Since IBD can prevent the absorption of folate and B Vitamins B12 from the gastrointestinal tract, your vet may also order a test to measure their levels in your cat. If the vet wants to rule out any food allergy, he will conduct a hypoallergenic food trial to see if there is anything in your cat food that is troubling your pet. 

Cat IBD Treatment Plans

Treatment methods comprise a mix of nutritional therapies and medication. Your veterinarian will usually prescribe a therapeutic meal plan by recommending you to avoid over-the-counter pet food for your ailing cat.

People with cats should remember that any chronic feline GI diseases, such as IBD, do not have a cure.  However, with medication and a healthy diet, you can relieve this condition.

Cat owners will need some time to determine the best dietary supplements and dietary choices for their cats to help them relieve IBD symptoms. It would help if you communicated with your veterinary care team to improve your pet’s quality of life by introducing beneficial supplements such as probiotics for cats with IBD.

Probiotics for cats with IBD feature high quantities of live bacteria. But since the bacteria in these supplements were not isolated from cats, they would probably have to compete with the bacteria present in your cat’s gut.

That’s one reason why the probiotic microbes from popular probiotics for cats do not readily become residents in your pet’s microbiome. Hence, many cat owners believe daily supplementation along with feeding healthy cat food is the best way to ensure that your cat enjoys a healthy gut.

Since cats are carnivores and have very acidic stomachs (far more than dogs or humans), that’s why probiotics for cats are usually available in capsules to shield the bacteria inside from the stomach’s acid.

You may not know that cats and dogs have different types of digestive systems. Your cat’s small intestine is shorter than your dog’s, which means a quicker transit time for digesting food. Furthermore, a cat has a much smaller cecum than a dog’s, and the gastric mucosa of cats is quite different from that of dogs.

Another interesting difference is that dogs are omnivores, whereas cats are carnivores. Your pet cannot survive off fat and protein, but your dog can eat a large variety of vegetables, fruits, and meat.

When you closely look at the teeth of cats and dogs, you will observe that the dog's dentition includes molars, which help to chop plants. However, cats do not have such teeth. All such anatomical and physiological differences reveal that cats can benefit more from probiotics than dogs.

Can I Give My Cat Human Probiotics?

Although no research suggests that human probiotics are dangerous for cats, experts recommend avoiding using human probiotics to supplement cats. That’s because the microflora in your cat’s large and small intestine is not the same as that of humans. We can’t automatically assume that human probiotics will also benefit cats.

How Can Probiotics Help Your Cat

There are many popular forms available to help you choose the best probiotics for cats with IBD. You can choose from capsules, pills, and powders. The key to finding the best one for your cats is to opt for a supplement with a high number of CFU or colony forming units. That’s because using a diverse array of probiotics is better than choosing just one type of bacteria.

The most beneficial strains for cats include Enterococcus families and Bifidobacterium. Typically, Bifidobacterium lives in the small intestine, and Enterococcus is present in the large intestine or colon.

When it comes to promoting good gut health, each strain has different and unique benefits. While Bifidobacterium promotes digestion for digesting a complex cat food formula, Enterococcus helps the formation of normal feces for maintaining good colonic health.

Although you can’t go wrong with buying a probiotic for cats with different bacteria strains such as saccharomyces boulardii, jarrow brand s boulardii, and enterococcus faecium, it’s crucial to choose a product that contains these two bacteria.

Here are some widespread benefits of probiotics for your pet cats.

  • They modulate the immune system.

  • Probiotics restore the function of your cat’s leaky gut

  • They shield healthy microbiota from pathogenic bacteria thanks to the production of antimicrobial substances or bacteriocins.

  • Prevents diarrhea for promoting the production of good bacteria, thereby improving digestion and the immune system.

  • Probiotics help relieve flatulence, urinary tract infections, acute pancreatitis, acute diarrhea, and gastroenteritis in cats. These potent supplements are also helpful in reducing abdominal discomfort.

How to Give Probiotics to Your Cat

Although some vets recommend supplementing your cat once for treating issues like diarrhea or constipation, you can make it a routine part of your cat’s diet. That’s because daily probiotic supplementation is a great way to take care of your cat’s digestive health.

Since antibiotics are infamous for wipe out beneficial bacteria from the gut, many people with cats prefer probiotic products instead of medication. Giving your cat a daily dose of probiotics can repopulate its digestive tract. Pet Parents must ensure that they choose a good quality supplement from a credible brand to tackle problems like inflammation.

The best way to follow the correct dosing instructions is to follow the guidelines on your product label. You can also consult with your vet to determine the best form and dosage of probiotics for your pets for preventing other medical conditions such as acute or chronic kidney disease. 

In case your cats are not too keen on following a capsule, you can also hide capsules inside a treat. If you choose a powdered form, you can sprinkle it on your cat food. Powders are available in sachet or bottle form to help you choose the right loading dose for your cat. 

Considerations and Risks of Probiotics for Cats

Rarely, pet probiotics have any adverse effects in cats. But in some cases, there can be  adverse outcomes. Pet parents should only stick to credible brands and reputed supplements when choosing the best cat probiotic. Whenever you purchase a new product, don’t forget to check out reviews and ratings to ensure that you are not using anything that can be toxic to your cats.

People with cats may test with different types of supplements and dosages before settling for a specific product and dosage. Researchers continue to study more about the normal flora populations in animals and the factors that influence gut health. No single product offers the best probiotic benefits for cats.

How to Choose the Best Cat Probiotic for your Pet

Now that you know about how the right probiotic supplements can benefit your cat’s gastrointestinal tract, the big question remains: How to choose the best cat probiotic supplement?

Many factors come into play to make the right decision. Individual strains of bacteria are famous for their unique anti-aging, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory benefits. However, these bacteria will only benefit your cat’s digestive system when they work alongside hundreds of other species.

The best way to choose the right product for your cats is to invest in a probiotic that features several bacteria strains with a high amount of colony forming units. That way, no group will become too abundant, and their benefits will complement each other.

Effectiveness

Take out some time to understand how the supplement works to benefit your cat. You can do so by studying two parts of their working mechanism: the efficiency of the brand-specific additives in the product and the bacteria strain's viability present in the probiotic.

Reviews and Ratings

Don’t forget to check out other customers' feedback who have used the supplements you want to test on your cat.

While you can find enough information from the reviews and rating section, consulting your veterinarian is also a credible way to double-check the supplement's efficacy to reduce inflammation in the intestines of your pet. Don’t waste your hard-earned money on cheap products or put your pet’s health at risk by choosing a low-quality supplement.

Palatability

Even if you get the best probiotics for cats in the world for your pet, you can’t persuade your fussy cat to eat it if she/he doesn’t like its smell or taste. That’s one reason why some of the most popular probiotic supplements for cats have a nice flavor. Many brands manufacture probiotics for cats that have a neutral taste so you can feed them to your pet quickly.

Apart from unique features and affordability, these three factors can play a crucial role in helping you decide the best probiotic supplement for your cats.

Our Final Thoughts

If you want to know more about how probiotics for cats can play a crucial role in maintaining your pet cat's healthy digestive tract, explore our website for more information. Hones Paws is a one-stop solution for all your dog and cat-related problems and tips for choosing the best treatment plans for your pets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do probiotics help cats with Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Considering the plethora of benefits that probiotics provide to cats, it’s pretty evident that using a good quality product from a credible brand can do wonders to improve your cats' gastrointestinal health. However, make sure you never settle for dog probiotics or supplements for humans because they are not designed for a cat’s gut flora population.

What can I give my cat for  Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Suppose you are looking for a supplement to treat your dogs or cats for indigestion, chronic or acute constipation, or vomiting. In that case, you must consult with your vet before choosing the best treatment plan or probiotic supplement for your cat.

If you are buying an over–the–counter medication or a popular probiotic supplement for relieving your cat’s digestion, remember to follow the instructions on the labels. You should also check for any artificial ingredients used for adding any taste or flavor to the product. Make sure the supplement you choose has a high number of colony forming units or CFUs. 

How can I feed a probiotic supplement to my cat?

If you choose a powdered supplement, you can sprinkle the recommended amount over wet pet foods. If your cat is fussier, then you may need to mix it into the food so your cat can’t notice it quickly. If you have a liquid probiotic supplement, you may need to add a bit of water to make it wet enough for your cat to eat.

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Can probiotics make  Inflammatory Bowel Disease worse?

While probiotics offer plenty of benefits to relieve and promote digestion, there isn’t too much evidence suggesting that they can worsen existing IBD symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.

The decision to opt for probiotics to treat your cat’s digestion and gut problems by reducing inflammation should be made only after a professional veterinarian has examined your cat. However, if you notice that your cat’s symptoms or condition are not improving, discontinue the supplement’s use and get in touch with your veterinarian even after using probiotics.

How long does it take for probiotics for cats to work?  

Typically, probiotics can take anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks before delivering significant results. The performance of these supplements also depends on the severity of your cat’s symptoms(bloody stools, vomiting, etc.) and their gut health.

Make sure you have a good  quality probiotic supplement at home for emergency use. Choosing a supplement with a higher amount of colony forming units will ensure speedy and better results.