Crohn's disease in pets is a gastrointestinal disease, which is sometimes diagnosed in general terms as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This relatively rare disorder affects the digestive tract causing debilitating and painful symptoms that can be potentially life threatening if not properly managed.
In this post we'll take a look at the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of Crohn's disease in pets. We'll also explore the latest scientific research on the disorder and explain why coconut oil is thought to decrease its symptoms.
Symptoms of Crohn's Disease
Crohn's disease occurs when the stomach or intestines become infiltrated by inflammatory cells. These cells invade the lining of the digestive tract causing changes in normal digestive function that results in restricted nutrient digestion and absorption.
Symptoms of Crohn's disease in pets can vary, depending on the portion of the gastrointestinal tract that's affected. Vomiting is often a sign that a pet's stomach or upper intestine is chronically inflamed, while diarrhea can indicate that the colon is involved.
Other symptoms of Crohn's disease in pets include weight loss, stomach or intestinal cramps, lack of appetite, fever, or lethargy. You may also notice that your pet has inconsistent bowel movements and blood or mucous may be present in their stool.
It's also worth noting that these symptoms can be constant or irregular, depending on the severity of the condition and the parts of the digestive system that are affected.
Causes of Crohn's Disease
The cause of Crohn's disease in pets is unknown, but it's been suggested that variables such as genetics, nutrition, and immune system abnormalities may all play a role in the development of the disorder.
In his book, The Coconut Oil Miracle, Dr. Bruce Fife, C.N., N.D., points to bacterial or viral infection as possible underlying causes of Crohn's disease:
"While the cause of Crohn's disease is still unknown, many doctors feel it is the result of a bacterial or viral infection. Stomach ulcers, for example, are caused primarily by the bacterium H. pyloris. H. pylori bacteria and the measles virus are both killed by the MCFA in coconut oil. If the symptoms characteristic in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are also caused by these or some other microorganism then coconut oil may be beneficial in treating these conditions."
Diagnosis of Crohn's Disease
The symptoms of Crohn's disease in pets can be broad, and many are similar to those of other diseases and disorders. For this reason, your veterinarian will need to rule out other conditions such as food intolerances, parasites, or cancer before arriving at a diagnosis of Crohn's disease.
Definitive diagnosis will require a gastrointestinal biopsy to reveal the presence of increased numbers of inflammatory cells in the gastrointestinal tract.
Before deciding on a full gastrointestinal biopsy your veterinarian may recommend less invasive diagnostic tools such as urinalysis, blood work, radiographs, and fecal examinations. These are used to rule out other possible illnesses and conditions that may be causing your pet's symptoms.
Treatment of Crohn's Disease
Because there are no known causes of Crohn's disease, there is no treatment for the condition. Instead, veterinarians commonly prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and other treatments to control and manage symptoms.
It is also possible to control Crohn's disease through diet modification, and veterinarians will often prescribe a hypoallergenic diet in an attempt to eliminate dietary reactions which may contribute to the disorder.
Often, the process of managing Crohn's disease will involve trialing various medications and dietary modifications to find the right combination for each animal.
How Coconut Oil Can Help Manage Crohn's Disease
Did you know that regularly giving CocoTherapy organic virgin coconut oil and coconut chips may help manage Crohn's disease in your pet?
To find out why, let's take a look at some of the latest scientific research on managing the condition in humans.
Dr. L.A. Cohen of the Naylor Dana Institute for Disease Prevention in Valhalla New York found that Crohn's disease patients found relief from their symptoms simply by eating cookies made with coconut.
Dr. Cohen noted that medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) in coconut oil are digested and absorbed and says they "have found use in the clinic as a means to provide high energy lipid to patients with disorders of lipid digestion (pancreatitis) lipid absorption (Crohn’s disease), and lipid transport (chylomicron deficiency)."
Click here for more excerpts from the 2005 report, "Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, and Virgin Coconut Oil".
In a 2017 study from Case Western Reserve University, researchers found that:
"A diet of plant-derived "good" fats, including coconut oil or cocoa butter, drastically reduced bacterial diversity in mice with Crohn's-like disease. Mice fed beneficial fatty diets had up to thirty percent fewer kinds of gut bacteria as those fed a normal diet, collectively resulting in a very different gut microbial composition."
Alexander Rodriguez-Palacios, DVM, DVSc, PhD, first author on the study and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, explains:
"The finding is remarkable because it means that a Crohn's patient could also have a beneficial effect on their gut bacteria and inflammation by only switching the type of fat in their diet...patients would only need to replace a 'bad' fat with a 'good' fat and eat normal amounts."
In our previous post, 4 Ways Coconut Oil Supports Your Pet's Digestive System, we talked about the natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of coconut oil, and how it can help support your pet's overall digestive health.
The latest scientific research suggests that the healing effects of coconut oil play a role in soothing inflammation and healing injury in the digestive tract which is characteristic of Crohn's disease. In addition, just small amounts of coconut oil have been shown to relieve the symptoms of the disorder and balance gut flora to prevent chronic inflammation.
Why Choose CocoTherapy?
When you choose CocoTherapy coconut oil, you're guaranteed a safe, organic and therapeutic-grade oil packed full of the natural ingredients that will support your pet's health.
CocoTherapy coconut oil contains a high percentage of the MCTs that support digestive health. Our high-quality, virgin coconut oil is true cold-pressed below 115 F, using only 100% organic, non-GMO and non-hybrid coconuts.
Unlike most other coconut oils on the market, CocoTherapy therapeutic-grade oil contains higher levels of MCFAs and Lauric Acid than grocery store brands, specifically 64% MCFAs and 53% Lauric Acid content.
Thanks for reading. We hope you found this post useful! For more information about our super-healthy range of organic coconut oil and chips just click here.