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The case records of 80 dogs in which idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) had been diagnosed were reviewed, and owners were contacted for follow-up information using a telephone questionnaire. The types of IBD encountered were lymphocytic (n=6), lymphocytic-plasmacytic (n=38), eosinophilic (n=6) and mixed inflammation (n=30). Prednisolone, sulphasalazine, metronidazole and tylosin were the most frequently prescribed medications. At follow-up, 21 dogs (26 per cent) were classified as being in remission (for a median of 14 months), 40 dogs (50 per cent) had intermittent clinical signs (for a median of 17 months) and three dogs (4 per cent) had uncontrolled disease (for a median of 19 months). Ten dogs (13 per cent) had been euthanased due to refractory IBD and four of these had entered remission for a median of 21 months prior to developing severe relapse and refractoriness to further treatment. Six dogs (8 per cent) had been euthanased or had died for reasons unrelated to IBD. Hypoalbuminaemia at the time of diagnosis was significantly associated with a negative outcome (P=0·0007). No association was found between the site (P=0·75), type (P=0·44) and severity (P=0·75) of disease. Dietary change to single protein and carbohydrate commercial diets had no association with outcome (P=0·12). Owner assessment of quality of life at follow-up was significantly associated with outcome (P=0·006).