Millions of Americans own dogs, and, for the truly devoted dog owner, the health of their pets is as important as, or at least almost as important as, their own health. For such dog lovers it is helpful in regard to their dog's health to know about pancreatic enzymes, which can help preserve the life and mobility of dogs experiencing exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. The Occurrence of EPI in Dogs There is a damaging, potentially deadly pancreatic disease that can strike at canines. It is known as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, or EPI. EPI is also sometimes referred to as Pancreatic Hypoplasia or Pancreatic Acinar Atrophy (PAA). This is a disease wherein the enzymes that produce digestive hormones don't function normally, leading to an inability for the dog's digestive system to break down ingested food.
There is no known cure for this disease. EPI develops as a response to damage that has occurred to or in the pancreas. Certain conditions can cause such pancreatic damage, the most common being pancreatic acinar atrophy (PAA). This is an autoimmune disorder that leads the immune system to attack the pancreatic cells that produce digestive enzymes. Other conditions that can precipitate EPI include pancreatitis (which has its own dietary causes) and pancreatic cancer.
When EPI develops, the resulting symptoms include noticeable weight loss, a ravenous appetite, having soft & smelly stools, excess gas, and even flaky skin. The outlook for dogs with EPI can be difficult to accept. There is no reversing EPI once sufficient pancreatic damage has occurred. The complications of untreated, chronic pancreatitis are grave. But with proper treatment (which necessitates pancreatic enzyme supplementation), most dogs with EPI can live a normal and happy life.
What Pancreatic Enzymes Do for Dogs with EPI
There are three different primary digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas, one for each type of macronutrient. Lipase breaks down fat, protease breaks down proteins, and amylase breaks down carbohydrates (primarily starches contained in most modern dog foods).
Pet-Zyme 10x is a supplement containing lipase, protease, and amylase. These three enzymes are critical for digestion and for sustaining the dog's life. Without them, a dog would suffer from malnourishment and live a short life. It is important that a dog taking digestive enzymes receives a sufficient amount. After beginning treatment, a dog's enzyme levels should be monitored by their owner, using stool enzyme tests, and with a veterinarian's help, the proper dosage can be established in a brief time. The good news is that the prognosis for dogs with EPI that are given digestive enzymes sufficiently and consistently is favorable. By taking digestive enzymes, dogs can live normally and have a normal life span.
If you suspect that your dog might have EPI, take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Talk to the vet to get their opinion about using Pet-Zyme 10x to address your dog's exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Epi4Dogs Foundation is also a popular and reputable source for information and tips regarding exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in pets.