Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in dogs is like a battle in the gut. Your dog’s immune response struggles to defeat invading armies of foreign substances. And the collateral damage from these conflicts are the symptoms of IBD.
But just like actual wars fought between countries … these clashes and brawls in your dog’s gut are avoidable.
And that’s what I want to talk to you about today. But first let’s get to know IBD and its causes a bit better. Continuing with the battle metaphor …
Symptoms Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
IBD is caused by chronic inflammation in your dog’s digestive tract. This happens when a high number of inflammatory cells infiltrate the intestinal walls and set up camp. In the trenches are the regiments made up of different types of white blood cells …
Lymphocytes – Fight viruses, bacteria and other foreign substances, as well as abnormal cells.
Plasmacytes (plasma cells) – Produce large numbers of antibodies.
Eosinophils – Help manage inflammation and allergy symptoms. Can also destroy parasites.
Neutrophils (sometimes) – Fight infection by eating foreign cells.
After many battles, the intestinal wall becomes inflamed and nutrients aren’t absorbed as well. This damage within the walls of the intestine commonly results in inflammatory bowel disease. And it can lead to symptoms such as …
- Mucous or blood in the stool
- Weight loss
But what causes this increase in inflammatory cells?
What Causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
Experts debate the many reasons behind IBD. But there’s one cause that you can easily manage … food intolerances.
Many years ago I heard a lecture by a veterinarian who’s highly renowned for his research in the field of IBD. Experience had taught me that questions asked privately were oftentimes more candidly answered. That’s why I discreetly asked, “Why do you think we’re seeing an epidemic rise in IBD?” He replied, “We’re vaccinating dogs with the same stuff we’re feeding them.” That was almost 20 years ago.
But why would the stuff in vaccinations cause inflammatory bowel disease in dogs?
You may already know that vaccines can contain proteins and other food particulates. This is because manufacturers use cells from animals, like chicken embryo and bovine serum, to grow the antigen. When the antigen finishes growing, they separate it from the protein. But sometimes small amounts can end up in the vaccine. During vaccination, these food proteins and other components get introduced into your dog’s body.
But vaccines cause an exaggerated immune response. That means your dog’s system identifies all these components as enemies. And when any enemy shows its ugly face, it’s time for battle.
IBD happens when the battlefield is in your dog’s gut. Special immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, live in your dog’s gut and protect her body. The immunoglobulins IgA and IgM help identify enemies. They then begin the attack by calling in the regiments of white blood cells.
This starts a battle, which can lead to food intolerances that easily escalate to inflammatory bowel disease.
Vaccines Aren’t The Only Cause Of Food Intolerances
Phenolics are compounds that are naturally present in foods. This includes polyphenols, such as quercetin and catechin, as well as other phenolics like curcumin. Phenolics are responsible for a food’s color, taste and smell.
Foods rich in phenolics are also some of the healthiest foods you can give your dog. In fact, many plant-based phenolics are a main source of dietary antioxidants. But phenolics can also cause food intolerances in dogs.
That’s because they can increase immunoglobulin response and the release of white blood cells. And phenolics aren’t easy to avoid once your dog develops an intolerance. One food alone can contain several phenolics. And one single phenolic can be in hundreds of different foods.
Wheat contains several phenolics that commonly cause food intolerances. This includes gallic acid, coumarin, quercetin and rutin. But gallic acid is also present in other grains, meat, animal byproducts, corn, soy and sweet potatoes.
What’s important to remember is it usually takes time and repeated exposure for intolerances to manifest. Most dogs eat the same thing every day. This repetition tends to create food intolerances and sensitivities. It’s pretty typical for a dog owner to jump for joy when they find a food that works for their dog with inflammatory bowel disease. Unfortunately they then feed that food day after day. And that greatly increases the chance of the dog later developing a reaction to that same food!
It’s also important to know that food intolerances and sensitivities cause a delayed response in the intestine. In other words, your dog can eat the offending food on Monday and the reaction can occur much later in the week. So tracking the source of the intolerance can take time.
Another Cause Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Your dog’s body has a variety of defense mechanisms to help prevent the perceived intruders from getting in. These same defenses also try to destroy intruders if they do enter the tissues.
But what if that intruder is almost impossible to find?
Super tiny pathogens called mycoplasma elude the immune system. They are the smallest known microorganisms that self-replicate. These amorphous creatures can change their shape to appear and disappear at will. Mycoplasma can even conceal themselves within body tissues and fluids, which makes them very difficult to track down.
But they don’t carry any antigenic markers that the immune system can recognize and attack. This means their presence isn’t revealed by blood tests used to detect disease. They can also re-emerge from their hiding places inside cells once the coast is clear.
What makes mycoplasma particularly harmful is they can’t make proteins, fats and vitamins. Instead, they move into cells and steal the resources they need to survive.
Mycoplasma are so small they squeeze through sterility filters in hospitals and labs. And they’re sources of contamination in important experiments, routine dog vaccination and more.
To conceal themselves in your dog’s body, mycoplasma use a trick known as molecular mimicry. They disguise themselves to resemble the host cell. One way they do this is by incorporating the cell’s surface material into their own jelly-like surfaces.
This is what can confuse the immune system into attacking the body’s own tissues. Your dog’s immune system will try to get rid of the mycoplasma hiding in his GI tract. But it will fail and in the attempt will create inflammatory reactions, causing IBD.
Manage Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Dogs
One technique I’ve found that works really well for food intolerances and IBD is JMT (Jaffe-Mellor Technique). JMT reprograms the immune system to stop it from destroying body tissue while attempting to root out mycoplasma. To help rectify the confusion within the immune system, JMT uses …
- Advanced muscle testing methods
Other helpful therapies for inflammatory bowel disease include …
- Novel proteins
- A rotating diet
- Omega-3 oils
- Amino acid L-glutamine (500 mg per 25 pounds of body weight daily)
- Allergy elimination techniques like NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques)
I also recommend Chinese herbal supplement, Po Chai, which is readily available from Chinese food stores or online. It’s excellent in treating the acute diarrhea phase.