Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

Author: VioVet
Published: Sunday 20th January 2013
Updated: Thursday 6th February 2020

Our customer asked:

Hi, I'm hoping you can help me. My dog Zante is losing weight rapidly in the last two weeks, his whole spine is clearly visible, he has a pancreatic enzyme disorder and is usually on the drug Tryplase. As this is no longer available at the moment I was using Pancrex, 4/5 tablets daily , his stools are firmer than usual but he is not holding the weight, last night I ordered Lypex from yourselves as this has worked before but it is too expensive for me to carry on with forever. Is there anything else you can suggest? I am going to increase his dosage of Pancrex and give him it down his throat just before his dinners, as he will not eat it if it is present in it . Should I try and get a hold of a pigs pancreas and feed some to him ?
He seems to get sore along his back or in his joints and iv had to give him Metacam for a couple of nights to give him a good sleep im trying just to keep him comfortable as he's getting cold quicker as well, apart from that he's bright and interested and hungry and does want a good run when he's out although I'm restricting that because I don't want him to be sore later. Can I feed the Lypex and Pancrex together?

Our reply:

I presume that the cause of Zante losing the weight is definitely due to EPI (the pancreas enzyme deficiency). If this has been confirmed by blood and faecal tests then we can work on that basis, but it is always possible that something else has developed and your vet needs to check if there is any doubt.

Assuming this is EPI then if you get enough enzyme supplements into him, and enough easily digested food, then he should be able to put on weight. A long time ago a supplier near me used to sell fresh pancreas very cheaply. I remember this could make up a quarter or so of the total diet for EPI dogs and was a cheap source of fresh meat, which also helped to digest all the other food as well. It has to be given raw or you destroy the enzymes. You might be able to buy it frozen straight from a slaughterhouse, but you will need to investigate. This is definitely the best option if you can find a suitable supplier.

If you have to use pancreatic enzymes from us, then you can use whichever ones you want. It is OK to mix them together. The more you give, but better it should work. The Pancrex granules seem to be the best I think, added to the food just before it is eaten. The tablets are not very strong so you need a lot of them. If your dog is fussy, then trying different foods might help. Something like tinned tuna in oil might help to make it tasty. Standard dried kibble foods can be quite good, but Hills i/d dog food seems to be the best commercial diet in my experience. Nothing is cheap though!