Thursday, November 19, 2015

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency - Educate to Eliminate EPI

One of the most horrid diseases dogs can encounter is "EPI".  Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency is a killer, and it strikes many breeds…..including Spanish Mastiffs.

Before you other LGD breed aficionados puff your chests out, wait.  Not so fast.  Many other LGD breeds and LGD crosses have now been diagnosed with EPI as this constantly being updated list will show you.  German Shepherds seem to be a high targeted breed.

Educate yourself on the symptoms of this disease so you know it if it strikes.  It has become more prevalent and as time goes by, better understood by vet professionals and researchers, but it is still a big unknown to many vets in many parts of the country.

The "official" EPI website,, is the best source on the Internet for information and support for those with dogs with EPI.  In addition to helpful links there is a large forum for support and for EPI dog owners to join and ask questions and receive help.  There you will find others who share their sad stories and their victories as well, and helpful tips from all over the world.

The disease is global.  The website owner's Spanish Water Dog she imported from Spain, came down with EPI, and led her to start the EPI organization, and website.  England, Turkey, Greece, France, Italy, Canada, Mexico, America - and many more - you'll see, the disease has or recognizes no boundaries.  It strikes everywhere.

My beloved Spanish Mastiff Patron, who will turn six years old next month, has survived EPI and has it under control with enzyme therapy, B12 shots and Tylan antibiotic.  He is an official member of the EPI group's "Chunky Monkey Club", as you'll see here.  He's also been featured in their annual calendar.

At one point he shrunk to maybe 130 pounds which for him, was very thin.  Now, he's back to fluctuating between a robust 198-220.

EPI is still being researched.  It is thought by most professionals that EPI is genetic and can run in certain bloodlines; that is why, Patron is not being bred.  A new study is afoot and being conducted to see if environment plays a role in EPI as well, but for now, the consensus is it is highly probable that it is genetic.

What this means is that EPI dogs should never be bred, and dogs that come out of dogs with EPI, should probably not be bred, either - at least without thorough testing - in fact it would be very irresponsible to do so without testing.

If you have a dog - ANY dog - that you suspect may have EPI, go to the EPI website.  Read the process for identifying this disease.  Have your vet perform the relatively cheap tests.  Find out.  Don't hide it. Don't deny it or try to home remedy it.  Because you can't.  EPI will kill your dog eventually if they have it and are not properly treated.  And if your dog has EPI, they could and most likely will, pass it on if bred.  DON'T breed your dog with EPI!

Don't stick your head in the sand.  Deal with it, get your dog on the mend and do what's right.  There are many success stories out there with EPI as the website will show you…successes like my own beautiful Patron.