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Dogs/Boxer and Colitis


Hi Patti: A few years ago you replied to a person who had a question about her Boxer with Colitis and you suggested a little pumpkin in her food.
I am contemplating a Boxer rescue but they say she has Colitis and needs a B-12 shot every month. Have you ever heard of this treatment?
I have looked all over and can not find where that is a treatment for Colitis.


Hi Larry,

In dogs the condition is called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) (or Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome when it's less serious). There's lots of info on this condition online, here's a couple of sites to get you started:

If B-12 shots are currently being administered and it's controlling the condition, then you should continue the injections. It's a lot simpler to continue with something that works, than searching (possibly unsuccessfully) for something that works as well. In time with your vet's guidance you can always try different things that may control the condition. But having owned a dog that had IBD, I know that once you find something that works, it behoves you to stay the course.

Because it's a chronic condition that can vary in it's symptoms between dogs,  there isn't one single treatment for Colitis/ Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Severity of the condition can also vary from dog to dog. A little pumpkin can be helpful. Pumpkin helps by absorbing the liquid in the system and adds fiber to help firm the stool.  Using psyllium fiber (such as Metamucil) works in the same way. Soluble fiber found in psyllium fiber can help relieve both constipation and diarrhea, and is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and other intestinal problems. Omega 3 Fatty acids can help decrease intestinal inflammation.

Using a probiotic could be helpful. Bacillus coagulans (formerly called Lactobacillus sporogenes), and Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Bifidobacterium longum are all common stains in supplements. There are several probiotic supplements made especially for dogs, but using one made for humans will be cheaper and may have more in the way of quality control. Look for a supplement that has of live bacteria in the billions.

Some dogs with IBD have improvement with high fiber diets. Others do better when fiber is reduced. In addition, some dogs have less diarrhea when the fat content in their diet is reduced. It could take a while to discover what kind of diet this particular dog does best with. Depending on how bad the condition is, the dog might do better on a hypoallergenic diet that's free of preservatives, additives and artificial colors, and uses a "novel" protein source such as rabbit, venison, duck, or fish. Table scraps would be a huge no-no. I can offer suggestions for a diet, if you'd like to get back to me.

It wouldn't surprise me if a combo of diet, supplements and possibly medication may be needed.

In dogs, a condition called Addison's disease can mimic chronic intestinal disease, among numerous other possible manifestations. This condition, more correctly termed hypoadrenocorticism, is often referred to as "the Great Imitator" as it can mimic many other diseases besides Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This condition revolves around a deficiency in cortisol, a crucial hormone in adaptation to stress. Treatment is relatively straightforward so it is important not to forget to screen for this condition.

In my case, my dog that had Inflammatory Bowel disease, his condition was controlled by a homemade diet, psyllium fiber, and daily low dose of Metronidazol (Flagyl) with Reglan on an "as needed" basis. Occasionally Prednisone was also needed.  I adopted my dog (Sammy) when he was approx. 8 years old from a rescue group, and he lived to at least 20 years old! In the end a progressive degenerative nerve condition is what did him in.

I hope I've been a help!
Feel free to get back to me if I can be of further help.



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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.


My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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