Epi4Dogs is a 501c3 Non-Profit Public Charity EPI Research and Awareness organization with zero dollars for administration fees as Epi4Dogs is 100% volunteer-based. Recommendations on this site are supported by EPI veterinarian protocols, veterinarian EPI researchers, veterinarian publications, along with actual EPI pet owner’s day-to-day observations and experience.
Epi4Dogs has and continues to assist and collaborate with various vet schools on EPI genetics, gastrointestinal, and nutritional research to further the understanding of EPI. We have been published multiple times in general media publications and have co-authored veterinarian research publications (please see http://www.epi4dogs.com/awarenesscredits.htm) .
Our goal is to have the most current EPI information all in one place to better assist the veterinarian community, to help the EPI pet owner readily recognize EPI signs, and to encourage all to work together for the best possible outcome for the EPI dog (and cat)!
This site is dedicated to “Izzy” a Spanish Water Dog that gave the start to Epi4Dogs.
The Disease, The Condition
EPI, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, is the inability of the acinar cells of the exocrine pancreas to produce and secrete the necessary enzymes needed to digest food. These main enzymes are:.
- Amylase for digestion of carbohydrates (sugars & starches in grains, fruits & vegetables),
- Lipases for digestion of fat.
- Trypsin and Proteases for digestion of proteins.
EPI, is sometimes referred to as Pancreatic Hypoplasia or Pancreatic Acinar Atrophy (PAA).
Or EPI can also be the secondary condition of a chronic illness, such as chronic pancreatitis.
EPI is when a dog’s exocrine part of the pancreas is atrophied and can no longer produce these pancreatic digestive enzymes. Some food particles then remain undigested causing SIBO and unabsorbed resulting in a dog, who although is eating copious amounts of food, is constantly undernourished and can literally waste away. Without proper treatment, the EPI dog cansuffer greatly and even die a painful death from malnourishment, starvation or organ failure.
With EPI, organ, immune, nervous and all other body systems may become compromised to one degree or another. A lack of nutrients sometimes even results in temperament changes which may express themselves in fear and/or aggression.
It is a devastating, frustrating disease that is all too often misdiagnosed. Symptoms usually do not appear until anywhere between 80% and 95% of the exocrine pancreas acinar cells are destroyed. What makes this disease even harder to diagnose is that not all dogs display any or all of the symptoms all of the time. Any breed can have EPI, not just GSDs… see http://www.epi4dogs.com/notjustgsds.htm.
Effectively treating an EPI dog/cat is all about finding the right balance of the recommended EPI protocol for each individual EPI dog/cat.
Treat the WHOLE dog
- B12 if needed
- Treatment for SID if needed
Make adjustments if needed
Keep an EPI Log/Observe trends
Share EVERYTHING recommended with your vet
Epi4Dogs would like to share this wonderful note we received from one of the families affected by the Hurricane.
Our sincere, heartfelt gratitude goes out to Olesia Kennedy, the EPI Foundation, and Rich & Geri Rossner, in memory of their furbaby, “Spud” Rossner. Thank you so much for your generous donation of enzymes from Enzyme Diane for our 12 yr. old GSD with EPI. During Hurricane Irma we evacuated our home in Florida & headed towards Alabama. The EPI Foundation reached out to us during this time to make sure we had enzymes for our Kadan. While we had brought what we had with us, it was very little and we didn’t know how we were going to be able to get her more. Thanks to all of you, Kadan received her enzymes just in time. We returned home safely and found our home intact. Bless you all for dedication, kindness and generosity. You have no idea how much stress you relieved us from during this already stressful situation. With much love from The Murrays and our baby girl, Kadan.
- Gradual wasting away despite a voracious appetite
- Eliminating much more frequently, sometimes every hour or two
- Stools are greasy voluminous yellowish cow-plops, but sometimes grayish
- Eating their own stools, or other inappropriate substances
- Increased rumbling sounds from the abdomen
- Increased passing amounts of flatulence
- Some dogs do not show any typical signs
- Some experience intermittent watery diarrhea or vomiting
- Some dogs even display personality changes such as fearfulness or sudden aggression
EPI can manifest anytime in a dog’s life – – from a young pup to an elderly dog, with the severity and symptoms of the disease varying somewhat with each dog. Sometimes the dog has the disease but symptoms do not appear at all, until exacerbated or triggered through a stressful physical or emotional situation.
Always confirm EPI with a trypsin-like immunoreativity (cTLI) blood test (12 hour fast). Normal range has been changed and is now between 5.7 – 45.2