Digestive diseases are common among dogs, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, or EPI, is among them. Essentially, EPI develops when a dog can’t produce the enzymes required to sufficiently break down food in the stomach. These enzymes include amylase, trypsin and lipase, and they are made in the “acinar” cells of the pancreas.
Thankfully, digestive enzymes for dogs can be useful for preventing and treating such diseases. Take a look at how you can determine if your furry friend has this particular disease.
Symptoms of EPI among Dogs
Dogs suffering from EPI often show worsening signs of starvation, including weight loss, muscle atrophy, and diarrhoea. You may even notice that your dog is eating unusual things.
These clinical signs are often enough to make a confident diagnosis of EPI, but a number of tests are available to confirm such suspicion, including measuring the levels of particular types of enzymes in a blood sample, and inspecting a stool sample under a microscope.
EPI Left Untreated
If left untreated, EPI will almost certainly lead to starvation due to the way the disease reduces the levels of digestion and absorption in the stomach. Food needs to be broken down into small enough pieces so that the cells lining the intestine can absorb them and feed them into the bloodstream to be utilised by the body.
How to Deal with EPI
Fortunately, EPI is an easily treatable condition for most dogs. In the initial stages, enzyme supplements will allow a dog to break down the food in the stomach and absorb the important nutrients. Over time, some owners have found that they can reduce the dosage of enzymes given to their pet. Other more extreme treatments for secondary conditions might include giving antibiotics to prevent the growth of bad bacteria in the gut.