Do you know about Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in dogs? If you don't you're not alone. But let me tell you, if you're a German Shepherd Dog owner, then your chances of coming in contact with this condition has increased exponentially.
And why is that, you might ask me? Well, basically, because of all dogs that are found to have EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency), over 80% of them are German Shepherds! Rough Collies come next, then everybody else. So just make yourself aware of this as an owner of a GSD.
And just what are symptoms of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in Dogs? Let me share some with you now, these are the classic tell-tale signs of EPI (do any of them sound familiar to you):
poor coat quality,
smushy loose poos that are often a pumpkin color (and that's not all)
Now that's not to say that your German Shepherd is going to have EPI, but of all the dogs diagnosed with EPI, the great majority are GSD's! So do yourself a favor and do some research because you'd be surprised how many vets don't really openly look for EPI even when the symptoms are slapping them in the face when a owner comes in with a dog who is exhibiting classic EPI symptoms.
Which is why I decided to post a sort of EPI case study by one of my readers, Lynn Davey, who contacted me via the questions form on the site here at Total German shepherd asking me about her dogs mushy poops. I get this question a lot from other German Shepherd owners but I wanted to post how Lynn came to find out about and deal with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency In dogs - her own German Shepherd in particular.
I hope this case study is helpful to any other readers who are wondering - "what is wrong with my dog?" - and why are there mushy poops all the time? So here you go, from first question to diagnosis to understanding. I hope this case study and article by Lynn is helpful to you if you dog is also exhibiting the classic symptoms of EPI. Then at least you might have a better idea of what to do next.
Here is the first contact I had from Lynn concerning her dogs chronic soft mushy poops:
have you ever dealt with chronic soft mushy poops with your GSD's. Maya has been back and forth to the vet three times she has been on tyloson metrozolidole and ammoxicillin and still no hard poops. Her stool has been looked at and her blood panel done and nothing was found. I have tried all kinds of dog foods and still no hard poops. Some days they are really runny. I am at my wits end as i am also dealing with pano in her front left leg. i feel so bad that i cannot figure out why I can't get her better. She is so skinny as well. Any suggestions would be welcomed. thnks Lynn
Her description instantly made me think of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency - To which I replied:
Have your vet check your puppy for EPI. Good luck,
The very next message I got back from Lynn was this:
Turns out she has EPI. She was pretty close to death when I made my vet reexamine the tli result. now she is doing just great. She will have to have enzymes on her grain free food for the rest of her life, extra vitamins and we have to make sure she eats nothing else. thanks for getting back to me. She got down to 60 pounds but now she is a healthy 75. Here is a picture of her now.
Next I replied:
So glad you guys figured out what was the problem and are helping her gain her weight back now. That's a great sign! How old was she when she started showing those soft poopy symptoms, btw? And did she just start doing this all at once pretty much or did it build up to that kind of poop over a longer period of time?
I'm glad you know what to do to keep her healthy now! That is fantastic - I'm so glad to hear she is putting weight back on. I hope I helped you some but as soon as you said soft poo and loosing weight I had a pretty good idea what the problem was - those are both classic symptoms of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in Dogs (EPI).
Anyway, would you mind if I put your question and our responses over your girls issue on my website for others to read - it may help other people whose dogs are presenting the same symptoms on what they might want to do next?
Thanks in advance - your girl is gorgeous!
Next, Lynn answered with more information - very specific and not always discussed is her mentioning the B12 in the treatment of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in Dogs:
Hi again: Not to sound like a know it all, but I think I could now be considered somewhat of an expert when it comes to EPI and what to do. I know the person in the US to order the enzymes from at a far more affordable cost, what foods to buy, what treats to use and how to keep SIBO under control. Where to but the Vitamin B12 on line with intrinsic factor ( so it can be absorbed into the bloodstream ). I would be honored to help out. Maya is doing well now, but it really is one week at a time. No setbacks yet, but we are being very regimented with her routine. Lynn
To which I replied:
So glad to hear your girl is doing better. I am always surprised to hear how many vets are unfamiliar with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency In Dogs and unwilling to follow through concerning it. Was this an optional 1 day class or something in vet school? Makes me wonder - and German Shepherds aren't the only breed to get it but they do get it more often than other breeds - still it makes me wonder what else our vets are unaware of......
Sorry for the rant... Anyway, if you would like to write an article too about exactly how you deal with EPI with your girl that would probably be best since it would be the story of someone "in the trenches" so to speak and someone with one on one experience with the condition. I'm sure there are loads of other owners whose dogs have similar symptoms but dont know what to do... and if you'd like to divulge your EPI product info, how you use it, where you get it (tips & tricks) that would be fantastic too.
And please send in pictures too and I will include all of that in the page with your mini article covering Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in Dogs. Just let me know what you think about this idea - thanks again, either way I'm glad I could help and that your girl is getting better,
Thanks a lot,
Lastly Lynn graciously accepted my offer to share her experiences with other owners of dogs who might have EPI and not know it:
I would love to write a little article for you about Maya's Journey and the treatment of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency In Dogs. This picture would have to be included at the end.
" A man's soul can be judged by the way he treats his dog." -- Charles Doran
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Thank you for this web site. Very informative and well written. I
often advise my shepherd people to visit here for information. Again
Laura Page Warden
What a fabulous website!!! I really enjoyed reading about the history of the dogs. There is a ton of helpful information on here and defiantly something for every reader to enjoy!!!
Recently got a GSD again. Last time had GSD no internet etc. Cant believe how much info for free. Kenneth
I love and appreciate the helpful advice I found on your website!