Saturday, 9 July 2011

Has Scamp got EPI?

 Despite all our efforts, Scamp one of our resident collies has recently continued to loose weight and generally look unkempt. This week I took him to the vets for blood tests and it was found that he had a low count of amylase, these are one of the major digestive enzymes protein molecules and are stored in the pancreas.

A further blood test was necessary to diagnose Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, but Unfortunetly Scamp had woken up and was unwilling to co-operate with the vet team! (though his symptoms sadly all fit the bill!) This is a condition that sadly affects German Shepherds, and though I've been lucky not to come across it myself I do know a little about it. I'll try and explain it as best as I can...
The clinical signs are usually obvious and fit a distinct pattern, the disorder may come on gradually or very quickly, over a few weeks. Usually the dogs show rapid weight loss and poor hair quality. There is usually diarrhea with the consistency of mashed potato (bet that put you off your tea!) or it can even be watery. Affected dogs seem constantly hungry and eat as much food as they can, they will also often eat abnormal things like plants, dirt etc. The dog appearance and behavior typifies one of a dog starving to death, and in reality he could be!
When the dogs have the disorder the protein, starch and fats in the diet cannot be broken down into small enough pieces to allow them to be absorbed through the intestinal wall. The dog therefore passes the value of the food out undigested in the faces. It is estimated that 90% of the pancreas must be destroyed before we see the symptoms.
Fortunately treatment can be easily accomplished, but unfortunetly it is lifelong and very expensive! If Scamp is proved to suffer from EPI, It would be great if we could find someone to maybe sponsor him and help with his future costs. He's a cracking dog who I love dearly but I'm well aware that he has his "issues" which probably make him "unhomeable," or at least mean he would need a very experienced owner. Anyone?

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