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EPI - Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

This article is for information purposes only.  Consult your trusted Veterinarian with regard to your pet's health.  We have heard from adopters who have EPI dogs that they buy their EPI meds from the site below at a very economical price.  We have no affiliation and do not endorse this site, we are just referring information from GSD owners.  We are told by these GSD owners that buying a kilo will last about a year. 


Again, please consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and dosage of EPI for your dog.

Enzyme Diane

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
in the German Shepherd










Of all dogs diagnosed to have Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), the  German Shepherd is a common patient as well as the Rough-coated Collie. One  estimate shows that about 70% of all dogs diagnosed with Exocrine Pancreatic  Insufficiency (EPI) are German Shepherds while 20% diagnosed are Rough-coated  Collies.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (also called EPI) is a medical condition in  which the pancreas of the affected German Shepherd Dog (GSD) stops producing  enough digestive enzymes to digest food normally in its small intestine.


EPI in the GSD can result from primary pancreatic disease or several other  diseases that interfere with the correct production of enzymes by the pancreas  or of activation of the enzymes in the intestine.

What is the pancreas and EPI? And what does this have to do with my own  personal German Shepherd?

Briefly: the "exocrine" part of the pancreas is responsible for producing the  enzymes we all use to digest our food correctly. Without adequate production of  these particular enzymes your GSD cannot digest its food properly either.


If your German Shepherd can't digest it's food, it will not be able to absorb  all the food's nutrients properly. Keep in mind that Exocrine Pancreatic  Insufficiency can be potentially life threatening, especially in its acute form.  However, it often responds well to ongoing and daily treatments when diagnosed  and treated with the proper drugs.


Typically, the exocrine functions of the pancreas can malfunction in one of  two ways. First, in acute pancreatitis, the dog's pancreas becomes inflamed,  causing vomiting and loss of appetite with resulting dehydration. This does  require immediate veterinary attention.

Secondly, a previously healthy GSD may begin to exhibit a few or all of the  following symptoms: excessive water-drinking, ravenous appetite and very soft  "cow patty" stools. This is indeed a big tell. No matter how much the dog eats,  it will be hungry soon after and will soon begin to lose weight. Typically,  exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in the GSD is presented in young adult dogs  between 1 to 5 years of age.


The diagnosis of EPI needs to be confirmed by use of laboratory tests.  Diarrhea and foul smelling feces due to high fat content results and because all  the food ingredients are not being digested completely the German Shepherd will  quickly become malnourished.

Signs of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in the GSD:


• Diarrhea and foul smelling "cow patty" feces

• Increased gut sounds

• Excessive water-drinking

• Weight loss

• Signs of nutritional deficiency (ex. dry and brittle hair, 


• Ravenous appetite


Treatment of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in the GSD:


Treatment of EPI often involves the use of various replacement pancreatic  enzymes. These are given orally to your German Shepherd. Occasionally oral  antibiotics may be needed as well. Most often, these EPI products are given in  powder form or as crushed tablets, then mixed with the food and left on it for  about 30 minutes at room temperature before feeding takes place.


Recommended diet to deal with EPI:


• Feed several small meals daily (at least 3 or more)

• Feed a highly digestible, palatable, complete ration. Consult
   your veterinarian


• Ideal diet for a dog with EPI: low fiber, low in fat, low


Keep in mind, once diagnosed, this treatment is a lifelong commitment for you  and your GSD. It may be possible to regulate the condition of Exocrine  Pancreatic Insufficiency in the German Shepherd Dogs who are not so severely  affected by feeding a very bland low-fat, low-fiber diet and adding an  over-the-counter enzyme supplement.


For the more severely affected German Shepherd a more serious regime is  required. If EPI enzyme supplementation is stopped for any reason then all the  unpleasant symptoms will recur in your dog - and very soon. Oftentimes the  German Shepherds response to therapy can be seen within a week or so of starting  treatment.


The owner of a German Shepherd diagnosed with Exocrine Pancreatic  Insufficiency needs to be very attentive to their GSD's overall condition. After  figuring out the correct amount of enzyme(s) needed to produce relatively normal  stools and to stop weight loss, the GSD owner can usually feed enough food to  help the dog regain lost weight. Relapses are always possible and are shown  either in the return of diarrhea or in resumed weight loss.


The dogs owner will have to watch carefully for any of these returning  symptoms. Generally speaking, as long as the German Shepherd owner is vigilant  in maintaining the diet and enzyme supplements needed by the Exocrine Pancreatic  Insufficiency patient, then the dog with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency can  live a happy and relatively normal life.


German Shepherds are really incredible dogs. But they're not for everyone -  and if you're thinking of getting one I highly encourage you to do all the  research you can about them ahead of time.


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