Internal Medicine Service

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research at the Dick Vet

Inflammatory bowel disease is frequently diagnosed in cats and dogs. It can be a cause of significant clinical signs in affected animals and can be a highly challenging disorder to successfully treat.


The small animal medicine team at the Dick Vet are actively investigating why this disease develops with the ambition of developing better treatments. They are particularly interested in understanding the secondary metabolic complications of inflammatory bowel disease, again with the aim of developing novel therapeutic approaches which improve the outcomes for our patients. The team have recently published a study which investigated vitamin D metabolism in cats with chronic intestinal disorders and found that many cats have worryingly low concentrations of vitamin D. Importantly, they found that vitamin D status correlated with the concentration of albumin in the blood. This finding was similar to earlier investigations in dogs where they also found that dogs with inflammatory bowel disease had low concentrations of vitamin D metabolites.

Future studies are underway which aim to understanding why vitamin D metabolism becomes deranged in cats and dogs with inflammatory bowel disease and to establish the best way to resolve the low vitamin D status in animals with intestinal disorders.

Since vitamin D plays an important role in controlling calcium metabolism, they are also investigating whether inflammatory bowel disease causes skeletal abnormalities in dogs. They are also examining whether the low vitamin D status plays a role in the abnormal intestinal immune response which is typically present in dogs and cats with inflammatory bowel disease.

Further details can be found at: