Image Source : Pixabay.com/What is Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)?
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) is a condition where the gastrointestinal system of dogs is affected by the lack of digestive enzymes produced in the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for the production of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels and digestive enzymes to digest starches, proteins and fats from the diet. When the pancreas does not produce sufficient digestive enzymes, the dog is unable to digest the food.Many dog owners fail to realize the effects of the disease, as a result of which, dogs with EPI starve to death without getting proper treatment. There have been many cases where EPI took a toll on the lives of dogs such as German Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd. However, the incidence of EPI, albeit rare, does not depend on the breed, and this life-threatening dog disease has affected dogs across the globe.What are the symptoms of EPI?
As mentioned earlier, many dog owners fail to identify the disease and give appropriate veterinary care to their dogs. Unfortunately, many vets also fail to understand the disease because of its uncommon nature. However, an understanding of the symptoms may help in giving proper veterinary care to your dogs before it becomes too late. The following are few of the symptoms seen in dogs with EPI:
Diagnosis and treatment of EPI
- Orange, yellow, gray or pale-colored stool.
- Uncontrollable diarrhea that doesn't go away.
- Rapid and excessive weight loss.
- Polyphagia, which is caused due to increase in appetite.
- Abnormal stool.
- Burping as a result of gas.
- Dry and dull coat.
- Intake of non-food items.
- Changes in mood and temperament.
Diagnosis of EPI in dogs include the following:
- Determining the levels of digestive enzymes in the blood
- Measuring chymotrypsin activity
- Determining the levels of digestive enzymes in fecal matter
- Stool examination under a microscope.
The treatment of EPI in dogs can be an expensive and lengthy process, but it can be accomplished easily. The process involves replacing the pancreatic enzymes of the dog with EPI with enzymes from other sources, such as freeze-dried, ground-up pancreatic tissue from a hog or cow. Although an expensive process, enzyme replacement is a large part of the treatment, and the dog begins to improve rapidly once the supplementation begins.The supplement powders are usually mixed with the dog's food, while tablets are given half an hour before meal. The supplement powder should be mixed properly with the food and hydrated with water. It is recommended that the enzyme replacement is allowed to incubate for a few minutes prior to eating. The treatment is seen to provide beneficial results by restoring the dog's ability to produce digestive enzymes, but the number of successful cases has been less.