A bad stomach can be really painful.
Now imagine dealing with those symptoms on a daily basis for weeks or even months.
That’s what IBD is like.
If your cat suffers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease, you’re likely wondering whether CBD can help reduce some of her symptoms.
Well, it can.
Read on to learn how!
What is IBD Anyways?
IBD stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and refers to a group of diseases affecting the gastrointestinal system.
The 2 most common types of IBD that affect cats are:
- Lymphoplasmacytic IBD
- Eosinophilic IBD
By far the most common form of IBD in pets is lymphoplasmacytic affecting either the small intestine, stomach, or colon.
As the name suggests, IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation of parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
This inflammation can cause structural changes to parts of your pet’s digestive system and affect their ability to digest and absorb nutrients from food.
IBD also causes a number of debilitating symptoms, including weight loss, diarrhea, and more.
I’ll look at these symptoms in more detail below.
If left undiagnosed for long periods of time, IBD can cause serious internal damage to your pets stomach, intestines, and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
IBD can affect any cat, although it is more commonly found in middle-aged pets between 5 and 12 years old.
Some sources also suggest that Siamese cats tend to suffer from IBD more than other breeds.
What Causes IBD?
IBD is caused by immune cells attacking healthy tissue in the GI tract.
The 4 types of immune cells that can cause IBD are lymphocytes, plasmacytes, eosinophils, and neutrophils.
IBD is diagnosed when vets detect an abnormally high presence of these immune cells in the gastrointestinal tissue.
There are a number of factors that can cause this immune response in the body, including:
- Changes in gut bacteria
- External factors, like a pet’s living environment
- Poor immune health
- Antibiotic and steroidal drugs
What are the Symptoms of IBD in Cats?
Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease can cause a variety of symptoms.
The most common include weight loss, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Other symptoms of IBD in cats include fatigue and bloody stools.
If your cat has IBD, you may also notice their stomach making rumbling or gurgling sounds.
And while it’s harder for us humans to notice, cats with IBD will also deal with constant abdominal pain, often caused by spasms of the GI tract.
If left untreated, IBD can cause a number of other serious health problems for your cat.
Over time, the chronic inflammation can cause scar tissue to form throughout your cat’s digestive tract.
It can also impact the balance of bacteria in your cat’s gastrointestinal system, and will eventually weaken the walls of her stomach and intestines.
This puts your cat at a heightened risk of developing Leaky Gut, a condition in which bacteria, partially digested food, and toxins can leak from the gut into your pet's body, possibly reaching the bloodstream.
Should this happen, your cat's body will respond by launching an immune attack against the leaked bacteria, toxins, and food.
This can result in allergies and, in extreme cases, even autoimmune disease.
The Difference Between IBD and IBS:
Many people (even some vets) use the terms IBD and IBS interchangeably.
However, it’s important to note that these are 2 separate conditions.
IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
While it can produce many of the same symptoms as IBD, IBS isn’t always caused by inflammation.
This means that a cat with IBS might have all the symptoms of IBD (like weight loss and diarrhea), without actually suffering from inflammation of the gut or intestine.
IBS is also commonly caused by stress, whereas IBD isn’t.
And while they produce similar symptoms, the treatment for IBD and IBS is different.
Hence, your vet will want to ensure they properly diagnose the root cause of your pet’s symptoms in order to find the right way to proceed with therapy.
To properly diagnose IBD, your vet will need to take a tissue biopsy from your cat's stomach or intestines.
This is a surgical procedure, and most vets will want to rule out other possible causes of your pet’s symptoms before going down this road.
Can CBD Help Treat IBD?
You’re probably already familiar with CBD’s medical potential.
After all, this tiny compound has turned the health industry on its head over recent years, with studies showing it can help with everything from anxiety to seizures.
In fact, there’s now a solid collection of research to show that CBD can help treat IBD.
CBD is known to have powerful and broad anti-inflammatory properties.
That’s why it’s becoming an increasingly popular alternative treatment for conditions that are caused by or produce chronic inflammation.
When it comes to IBD, there’s a number of studies to show that CBD and other cannabinoids from hemp can reduce inflammation in the GI tract.
A 2011 study published by PLoS One, for example, found that CBD reduced intestinal inflammation in mice.
The researchers induced inflammation in the mice's intestines, then tested the effects of CBD on the inflamed tissue.
They found that CBD helped reduce inflammation of the intestines and even prevented it altogether when administered before inflammation was induced.
The study also found that CBD helped reduce inflammation in biopsy samples from human patients with ulcerative colitis (a common type of human IBD).
In 2013, a study from the Journal of Biochemical Pharmacology also found that other cannabinoids, namely cannabigerol (CBG), can help reduce IBD in rats.
These studies, among others, show that hemp medicines like CBD can clearly evoke anti-inflammatory responses in the GI tract and therefore reduce the inflammation caused by IBD.
How exactly they do this, however, isn’t clear.
A 2008 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology suggested that CBD inhibits FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase), an enzyme responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoid anandamide.
The scientists also observed an increase in CB1 and CB2 activity, which they believed caused the anti-inflammatory response.
The same study also found that CBD helped reduce gastric convulsions, which is a common symptom of IBD.
However, other studies have produced different results.
A 2009 study from the Journal of Molecular Medicine found that while CBD did inhibit FAAH, it didn’t cause an increase in CB1 and CB2 activity.
This suggests that CBD promotes anti-inflammatory responses via different pathways, and has since sparked further research into CBD and its role in treating IBD.
Besides treating inflammation, CBD is also renowned for treating symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss, as well as helping with other digestive issues.
Finally, CBD is also a great painkiller, which can help relieve the abdominal pain that IBD causes.
For more info on the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, make sure to read this article on how CBD affects inflammation and joint pain in dogs.
How Does CBD Affect Cats With IBD?
Unfortunately, very few studies have tested CBD on cats or dogs.
But don’t worry:
We know that dogs, cats, and many other mammals respond to CBD in very similar ways to humans.
Because cats and dogs (and most other mammals) have an Endocannabinoid System just like we do.
After all, that’s why CBD and other cannabinoids are often tested on mice and rats.
For more information about your cat’s Endocannabinoid System and how it works, check out my page on CBD for cats.
While I don’t have a cat, I actually use CBD regularly with my dogs.
I first started using it a few years ago with my dog Rosie, who had cancer and hip dysplasia.
In fact, I was able to greatly reduce the inflammation of Rosie’s hip using a combination of CBD pet products.
I also get a lot of messages from other pet owners telling me about how CBD has helped reduce the inflammation in their pets as well.
If your cat suffers from IBD, I’d highly recommend trying a CBD supplement like those I mention at the end of this post.
What Do Other Pet Owners Say About CBD for Cats?
I’ve covered a lot of scientific info about CBD.
Now it’s time to cover some stories from pet owners like you and I.
And trust me, finding these stories isn't hard.
There are thousands of pet owner who are using CBD successfully to help their pets with stomach issues and inflammation.
First we have Jebulon
He's an 18 year-old tomcat who suffers from arthritis and occasional gastritis (inflammation of the stomach).
His owner’s swear by CBD, saying it drives down Jebulon’s inflammation and helps him stay active and keep up a healthy appetite.
They believe CBD is helping him live a longer and happier life.
Next we have Mo.
Mo is an 11 year-old cat who struggles from a slow digestive system and abdominal pain.
He was taking prescription medication to help him digest his food better, but his owner’s eventually decided to go looking for a natural alternative.
They found CBD which, to this day, is helping Mo maintain a healthy digestive system and manage his pain.
Mo’s owners haven’t looked back ever since.
Lastly we have Wilford, who has a similar story.
He is 18 years-old kitty and has struggled with a very poor appetite for most of his life, caused mainly by constant vomiting and digestive issues.
As his symptoms peaked, his vet all gave up hope, telling Wilford’s owners they should prepare for “the end.”
Luckily, his owners discovered CBD, which he has been using for over 4 years now!
CBD has helped eliminate Wilford’s nausea, vomiting, and digestive issues.
As a result, he is eating well and going strong.
How to Find the Right CBD Product for Cats With Stomach Issues
If you’re reading this, chances are you've already done some research about CBD and are deciding whether or not to use it with your cat.
Hence, you probably know that there are many different brands of CBD pet products on the market.
And for someone who hasn’t tried CBD before, having all these choices can be overwhelming.
But I have some good news:
I’ve done a lot of research to recommend 2 brands of CBD products which I believe are ideal for cat owners like you.
The first brand is Holistapet, a pet CBD company that has a dedicated line of CBD products designed especially for cats.
For treating IBD, I’d highly recommend using HolistaPet's CBD Pet Tincture.
The easiest way to administer this oil is to mix it straight into your cat’s food.
The recommended dose for HolistaPet’s tincture is 10 drops (or ¼ dropper) for every 10lbs of body weight, given once per day.
Alternatively, you can also try HolistaPet’s CBD Cat Treats, which are extremely popular, as long as your cat isn't too picky with food, and they are still eating well enough with their current condition.
HolistaPet is the only company I know of who offers these convenient treats for cats.
The second brand of CBD products for cats I recommend is Canna-Pet, which I actually used with my dog, Rosie.
When treating serious conditions like IBD I’d recommend using Canna-Pet's MaxHemp Capsules as they contain much higher concentrations of hemp extract.
The 3 testimonials highlighted above all come from cats who have used Canna-Pet. They are one of the most popular pet CBD companies on the market right now.