The James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is looking for cats to participate in a study of the impact of probiotics on inflammatory bowel disease. The hospital will work with local veterinary clinics to obtain samples for the study from their clients, or welcomes appointments at the VTH for cats that may participate in the study.
A number of products are on the market claiming to treat the condition, but little research exists into whether or not probiotics help the diseases in cats and, if so, which probiotics are most effective. Researchers also will look at the impact of the probiotics on intestinal cells. Cats must meet certain criteria to qualify for the study, which is led by Dr. Craig Webb, a small animal veterinarian at the hospital.
A series of stool and blood samples before, during and after treatment are needed for the study. Study participants will receive the probiotics for the study and complete stool and blood test analysis of their animal for free. Owners who want to participate in the study on an advanced level will need to maintain their cat on a probiotic for several weeks after which veterinarians will perform small intestinal endoscopy and biopsy tissues at a significantly reduced cost.
Cat owners must be committed to the study and give the probiotic according to schedule. The probiotic is mixed with food one time a day.
Signs of feline inflammatory bowel disease include diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. Cats of any age can have inflammatory bowel disease, but it is more common in middle-aged and older cats. Chronic diarrhea and vomiting can eventually lead to debilitation and euthanasia if the pet does not respond to treatment. The cause of the disease is not known and as of yet there is no cure.
The disease can sometimes be treated or improved with dietary changes or with drugs with anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive properties or antibiotics. To obtain more information about enrolling your cat in the study, contact Dr. Webb at (970) 297-4431 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.