Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (Epi) in Dogs [how to Manage German Shepherds 2022]

What Is Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency For Dogs?

The pancreas is divided into two functioning sections. The endocrine component is responsible for the secretion of insulin and glucagon, two hormones that are necessary for the breakdown of carbohydrates. The small intestine is lined with structures known as acini, which are responsible for the production and secretion of enzymes that are necessary for the digestion of protein. These enzymes are secreted into the small intestine.

Acini suffer from exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), which is characterized by a progressive withering away known as atrophy. Clinical symptoms do not appear until the majority of the acini have disappeared. Despite their ravenous appetites, dogs will gradually become less capable of digesting protein, which will cause them to lose weight.

How Is Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency Inherited For German Shepherd?

It is believed that the German shepherd carries this characteristic on the autosomal recessive chromosome.

What Dog Breeds Are Affected By Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency?

The German shepherd has a higher risk of developing this condition due to their genetic make-up. There have been isolated cases of it happening in dogs of various breeds.

Research to assess the mode of inheritance or the frequency in the breed have not been carried out for a great number of breeds and conditions, or the studies that have been carried out are inconclusive. We have included a list of breeds for which there is a general agreement, both among those conducting research in this area and among those who work in veterinary medicine, that the problem is important in the breed in question.

What Does Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency Mean To Your Dog & You?

Even though they eat like there is no tomorrow, affected dogs frequently pass big amounts of semi-formed stools and experience weight loss. They frequently consume their own feces as well as other items that are not fit for consumption.

Some dogs that have this ailment do not exhibit the normal indicators of having this condition, although they may endure episodes of vomiting or diarrhea that is watery.

How Is A Dog’s Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency Diagnosed?

Malabsorption of nutrients can have a number of potential reasons, and clinical symptoms associated with it include decreased body mass and an increased hunger. Diagnostic procedures that are performed on a routine basis will rule out some of them as potential diagnoses. After the possibility of EPI has been established, a diagnosis of this condition can be obtained by the use of particular laboratory testing.

The following information is intended for the veterinarian: tests for EPI in dogs that are sensitive include the assay of serum trypsin-like immunoreactivity (TLI), the bentiromide absorption test, and the quantitative assessment of fecal proteolytic activity (azocasein substrate). TLI is another type of specialized test, and in order to diagnose a patient with it, you only need one sample. (Verify this information with your diagnostic laboratory.)

How Is A Dog’s Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency Treated?

Even though there is now no cure for this condition, the management of it is typically not too difficult. Each meal is supplemented with a powdered form of pancreatic enzyme extract. It should only take a few days for your dog’s appetite and stools to return to a more normal state, and she should also start gaining weight. In order to keep your dog free of clinical signs, your veterinarian will work with you to select the optimal regimen (how much extract to give, how many times it should be fed each day) to provide. The addition of enzymes to your dog’s food is going to be important for the rest of his life.

Even after receiving therapy, it is possible that chronic bacterial overgrowth is the cause of some dogs’ inability to gain weight. It is possible that a course of antibiotic treatment might be beneficial for these canines.

Can You Breed German Shepherds With Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency?

It is recommended that infected dogs, as well as, in the case of German shepherds, their parents (who are thought to be carriers) and siblings (who are suspected carriers), not be used for breeding.

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