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Chunky Monkey Club

Exclusive membership for the 'overachievers'

Welcome to the Chunky Monkey Club!

This is a fun page…… the Chunky Monkey Club… was started for EPI Dogs because so many of us started on this journey with dogs looking like they were knocking on deaths door….and we were scared….very scared that our babies just were not going to make it!  And then, once we found the balance to managing EPI they stopped losing weight…. then they started to gain weight…. and many (much to our pleasure) gained and gained…. and gained some more weight!  AND THEN…. many of us even had to put our once starving dog on a D-I-E-T!!!!!  Can you imagine?  So this “Chunky Monkey Club” was started in fun to simply celebrate !
New members: (to include your dog’s name (and picture if you’d like) please email to: and they will be uploaded here).

Founding CMC member…Olesia’a Izzy

Epi4dogs was started because of this plain, little, brown dog who was the first Spanish Water Dog world-wide to be diagnosed with EPI….EPI???? What is EPI?  I had no idea back then…..all i knew is that my little dog was sick, she only weighed 27lbs and i thought she was going to die.  After we got her on the right treatment, time flew by and my plain little brown dog got healthier and healthier…. she now hovers around 48/+ lbs and has had to go on a diet 4 times and at 7 years old is still playful and embraces life!


One very special pup…. Riley!

Riley is a 6 year old Labradoodle, we got her when she was just 10 weeks old. She has always been a special pup, and I have always had a bond with her that is different from other pets in my life.

 In April of 2014, she began to have some digestive issues that consisted of occasional vomiting, rumbly stomach, terrible gas and diarrhea.

A familiar EPI story. 

We went to the vet, she was given antibiotics (metro) and probiotics and put on a bland diet which consisted of chicken and rice.  Things we now know weren’t doing her any favors. She got moderately better, then regressed.  Took her back to the vet, she was given more anitbiotics.  Meanwhile, Riley was beginning to waste away despite eating greater and greater volumes of food. She became a scavenger in our home eating whatever she could find. (often breaking into the pantry and eating whatever she could reach). This was so out of character for her. About this time, she began to have an oily leakage from her behind. Every day I had to give her a bath as the oily discharge was all over her fur in the morning. Poor girl! This was the thing that sent us in despair to the vet yet again. By this time it was September 2014.

Finally I saw the senior vet in the practice, which happened to be her regular vet. He suspected IBD and drew blood for testing.

Soon after I received a call from him telling me the diagnosis of EPI. At that time, I was so happy to find out what the problem was, I did not understand the full impact of this diagnosis.  It was only as I began to try to get her to stabilize that I did some research and realized the lifelong implications of EPI. I was very worried.

Riley did not begin to dramatically improve until I found the Epi4dogs website/forum and began educating myself and following their advice.

 Since joining the forum in October 2014 and getting her on track, Riley has gone from her low of 33 pounds to her current weight of 44.2 pounds as of 2/25/15. Pre diagnosis her heaviest weight was only 40 pounds!

I would like people just starting out on this journey to see hope through Riley’s story. EPI is totally manageable when all the components are addressed. 

My biggest piece of advice to those newly diagnosed??  TRUST THE FORUM!

Riley’s mom, Elisabeth!


 Our Lola

Lola’s story as we know it has a very sad beginning.  She was left abandoned in an empty home- not sure why.  She was found 3-4 weeks later still alive , with no hair, and very weak.  She was a survivor and with treatment got better.  Lola was placed in a foster home and over a period of time came to have trust with her family.  We were not looking to adopt at the time, but a friend was very certain that Lola would be a good addition to our family.  We did a weekend  “sleep over” and Lola quickly found her way into our heart. (This was June of 2013). She became our Lola a week later!  She was scared not knowing us and her fear was real that we would abandon her.  We were able to work with a trainer in our home recommended by our local pet hospital and learned how to establish an environment to help Lola thrive. 

Lola had difficulty maintaining weight and was always hungry and had coprophagia.  Call me a nervous first time dog mom! My husband and I both have medical backgrounds, so we did many internet searches and found the EPI website.  I requested testing by our vet and Lola came back positive for EPI in September of 2013. Thus began our EPI journey and Lola is in enzymes, B-12 injections, and folate.  Lola started at just 20lbs and now is a fat and sassy 30 lbs and on a diet!  I got great information from the EPI forum and website and can’t say thank-you enough.

We celebrated Lola’s birthday on Memorial Day and our one year anniversary of her joining our family!! 

She and my husband, Bill are best buddies during the day and have settled into a regular routine. Lola greets me each night with a favorite toy for a game of tug and fetch!!  We are certainly blessed to have her as part of our family and can’t imagine life without her!.

Proud Parents of our “Lola” .. Beth and Bill Bell


Her before picture is from Feb 5, 2014 and she is 15.4 lbs and her after was taken July 31, 2014 at a weight of 26 lbs! She might have a diet in her future. I would like to share these photos so it may give some one else the comfort other stories and pictures on your site gave me.

Thank you,
Amy Hale and Petunia


Marley came home from the breeder at 8 weeks in May of 2011 and we were thrilled when she got off the plane from way across the country. She was a good puppy who never had an accident in the house and while she was a little reserved around strangers and strange dogs she was otherwise a normal, happy puppy. Around 10 months of age, she started to have bouts of diarrhea, but these would always clear up and could be explained away by her getting into something or her being close to a heat cycle. It seemed a little strange that is was always Marley and not her brother Hemi(who is a lab and thus would eat anything) who had loose poop. Looking back she was always thin, but the vet and breeder assured me that with giant breeds it takes time for them to fill out and with two active puppies we walked anywhere from 10-20 kms a day plus all the playing she did. At one point Marley was getting 12 cups of Solid Gold food a day and was still thin.


Puppy Marley  

Grown-up Marley

By the time she was 18 months, the episodes of diarrhea were becoming more frequent, we did the usual switching foods, antibiotics and deworming. I started giving her solid gold plant enzymes and this seemed to help and she got to 94.2 lbs by the time she was 2. In the late summer/fall of 2013 Marley started to lose a little weight and her loose stools were pretty constant. I had requested the test for EPI when she was 18 months as her sister had tested positive, but the vet said it couldn’t be EPI as she always got better. In October she had a lump removed and we discovered she had lost 15lbs. The lump was infected, so she was put on clavamox and then metro and fenbendazol in case she had giardia and her poop firmed up and she put 5lbs back on. Within days of finishing the metro she crashed hard and by the time I found this site and insisted on the test she had lost almost 30lbs…her test came back with a TLI of 2.1 on December 24th 2013. We really thought she was not going to make it, you could feel every rib, see the outlines of her hip bones, she did not grow a winter coat and would shiver if she was outside for any longer than 2 minutes. Additionally Marley would do anything to get food, counter surfing and stealing food from your hands while you were eating. She ate everything she could get in her mouth…rocks, sticks, leaves, earplugs and 2 lbs of bread dough that was rising on the counter. Policing her from getting unwanted stuff was almost a full time job. We were given contradictory, inaccurate info from the vet and it is only due to the help I received here and from Diane that we are where we are today. 6 1/2 months after diagnosis, Marley is 97.5lbs, a little more than 3 lbs over her highest weight and except for a little reflux and having a bit of a bad attitude towards strangers she is perfectly healthy and you would never know she has anything wrong with her. For those who are just starting out, don’t lose hope, with time and patience you will get there.  



Wallace came to me at 10 months old, he was rescued because his owners weren’t coping with his EPI which had been diagnosed when he was 4 months. He actually arrived as a foster dog but very quickly we knew he wouldn’t leave, and so we joined the FFC (Failed Fosterers’ Club!).

 Wallace was 20kg when he arrived but thanks to the forum we got him up to 27kg. Unfortunately he was quite a fussy boy and not a great eater, he stopped eating and went back down to 24kg. He started eating again and went back up to 27kg, then again he stopped and went back down to 24kg, and so it went on. He would eat for a few months, stop for a few weeks, get to 27kg, go back down to 24kg. We tried everything to keep him eating but nothing worked. It didn’t help that he had other issues with oils and we had to search really hard for a food with no added oils.

I had set my target of 30kg for him, I felt at that weight he would look just right but for years he stayed lean and I just couldn’t get those last few kilos on him. Then he developed Metatarsal Fistula, the treatment was steroids, finally the yoyoing stopped, the steroids kept his appetite up and he ate consistently well and reached 28kg but still we couldn’t get to that target. I decided to stop worrying, he was happy, healthy and very active.

Then in February 2014 Wallace started losing weight again. I was gutted, I was really worried something else was going wrong. But he started eating sticks in the garden, he hadn’t done this since he had stabilised, this was the clue, he was hungry. Obviously something had changed in his body, so I decided to try increasing his enzyme ratio and adding in an extra meal again for a little while. Result!! He gained 3kg in the first month and 2kg in the second month, this 5kg gain got us to the 30kg target weight. AT LAST, 3 years and 7 months from when he arrived.

Wallace was already getting huge amounts of enzymes compared to other German Shepherds, he now gets humongous amounts but I don’t care, it’s working for him and that’s all that matters. Just goes to show how every EPI dog needs his or her own formula!


Mike’s little Fiona’s EPI journey…. 

 I brought Fiona home from the breeder in August of 2012 as a ten week old puppy. I was ready for a new Cairn Terrier following the passing of my beloved 14 year old Toto-dog Fergus. My other old Cairn McKenzi was a bit lost without him as well.

The first few months were fine. Fiona was growing rapidly…and catching on just fine to housebreaking and command training. By 7 months of age she was up to 12 pounds. I first noticed something was wrong when one day she had a bad round of soft stools. I chalked it up to eating something she should not have. After 3 days she was not improving, so off to the vet she went where she was put on a bland diet and given some meds for a possible intestinal infection. She improved for a few days but soon her stools again became soft and very frequent.

The vet tried some stronger meds as well an antibiotic shot…fecal samples came up with high levels of fat. At the same time Fiona’s weight was beginning to drop. After a week my dog was back at the vet….stools loose, yellow, looking like mud. Her weight had dropped to a scary 7 pounds. Blood work was done again and the vet was concerned that either her liver was shunted or she was suffering from a pancreas issue called EPI. An ultra sound and tests would be required. That afternoon I took my dog immediately to a specialist at a 24 hour animal hospital down in Connecticut. I didn’t know what to think as I turned my beautiful Cairn Terrier puppy over to the vet. She would be spending the night…having an ultra sound and a battery of tests. Would I get her back?

The following afternoon the vet called with the results. She was EPI positive 100% no doubt. I picked her up along with a big jar of enzymes as well as instructions for diet. During her overnight stay….my skinny and ragged little dog had made friends with everybody there. Her spirit and sweet kisses told everybody there she was a fighter.

Within 2 days….with the help of her powdered PancrePlus enzymes and her new food…Dave’s Grain Free Chicken kibble…her stools firmed back to normal. Within 2 weeks she was back to 13 pounds!

Fiona is now coming up on her second birthday….she has matured into a beautiful blonde black tip Cairn Terrier and weighs in at a chunky 17 pounds!!! She happily takes her enzyme loaded food and other than an occasional B12 check….is healthy and happy.

Who knows what bumps she may hit….but the doctors called it right when they said she had spirit and a will to survive.