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Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency


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I had written before about Casey being sick. She had bouts of Giardia but even after treatment was still having issues. She gets sick every 2-3 months..explosive diarrhea, rumbling bowels, vomiting, weight loss, etc. The vet said if this happens again they will test her for EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency) anyone had experience with this? I just want answers for my girl :( I feel so bad for her.

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I had a dog with EPI. Two big symptoms I remember are pudding like stools that were yellow and he kept losing weight despite eating ravenously. He was literally starving despite the extra food he ate because he lacked the enzymes to absorb nutrients. The disease can usually be managed by adding enzymes to the dog's food and addressing issues such as small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and low B12.

 

Quinn had chronic Giardia as a puppy and youngster. Someone told me recurrent Giardia can become a colitis condition, but that person wasn't a vet so don't know how accurate that is. Quinn had intermittent diarrhea and low weight for the first 2 1/2 years. He was eventually diagnosed with IBD. Things got better when I put him on a home made diet under a vet's care. He just couldn't handle processed dog food.

 

Hope you get some answers for your girl.

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A friend's dog has it. The dog was skin and bones at 8 m/o. Huge grayish pudding like poop. Ate tons but couldn't put on weight. It's well controlled now with enzymes and occassional b12 shots. The dog has had a couple rounds of SIBO but is overall pretty normal/happy/active now.

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I had a dog with it. She was aboutt 4yo and just skin and bones when diagnosed. In her case, despite being so thin, she had no appetite,

 

On supplements with every meal, she gained weight and looked the picture of health. However for the first 2 - 3 years after being diagnosed, she did seem to get recurrent episodes of severe pain when she would be very grumpy with everyone (except me) and would try to isolate herself from folk and other dogs. During those episodes, there were no gut symptoms just behavioural changes. IMO These probably occurred whenever she had a bout of pancreatitis. Gradually,these episodes became less frequent and then ceased altogether (I guess when she 'ran out' of pancreas to get inflamed!) and she became a full-time, fit, active and happy dog.

 

She was on dietary supplements her whole life and lived till she was 15+.

 

As LizP says, if you are concerned, you could get her tested for it now. . guess it may depend on how much your vet charges.

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My daughter's first agility dog was borrowed from a friend and I'm not sure what age she was diagnosed with EPI but pancreatic powder kept it under control. Stinky though and she was always obsessed with food.

 

She competed until she was 12 and died at 16.

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I believe EPI is similar in its symptoms to cobalamin malabsorption syndrome (also called IGS), a hereditary condition sometimes found in border collies which also causes Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency. There is a DNA test for this condition, but my understanding is that it's also possible to distinguish between the two via blood work and urinalysis. It would probably be good to suggest that your vet try to determine which of the two is implicated here, as cobalamin malabsorption syndrome is not as well known and has sometimes gone undiagnosed.

 

Good luck to you and her!

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I believe EPI is similar in its symptoms to cobalamin malabsorption syndrome (also called IGS), a hereditary condition sometimes found in border collies which also causes Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency. There is a DNA test for this condition, but my understanding is that it's also possible to distinguish between the two via blood work and urinalysis. It would probably be good to suggest that your vet try to determine which of the two is implicated here, as cobalamin malabsorption syndrome is not as well known and has sometimes gone undiagnosed.

 

Good luck to you and her!

 

The exocrine pancreas secretes several enzymes that are required to aid digestion of carbohydrates, protein and lipids(fats). Without these enzymes, the food that a dog eats cannot be broken down sufficiently in the gut to enter the body. This is why EPI will eventually cause significant weightloss and is often associated with 'pudding like' diarrhoea.

 

The canine pancreas also releases 'Intrinsic factor (IF)" into the small intestine. This factor is needed in order for VitaminB12/ cobalamin to be absorbed into the body.

 

Because the body ends up lacking so many nutrients means that EPI can have a wider spectrum of effects than 'just' those seen from VitaminB12 deficiency. In addition, The stomach is another source of IF and because this is not usually effected by EPI, some vitB12 can still be absorbed from the diet in dogs with this condition.

 

(The exocrine pancreas does not include the 'endocrine' pancreatic cells that secrete hormones like insulin. These cells are usually/often spared in EPI. However, according to the vet who treated my dog with EPI, some dogs with this condition do go on to develop diabetes in later life...this didn't happen to my dog nor to others I have spoken to).

 

ETA.. Though as Eileen says, cobalamin (vitB12) malabsorption can go unrecognised, can occur without EPI and both can be tested for ...and both can be treated by adding pancreatic enzymes to supplement the diet &/or giving vitB12 injections as required

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