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Discussion Starter #1
EPI or Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency is sometimes nicknamed the Hush-Hush Disease because people don't talk about it. EPI causes starvation due to the dog's inability to digest their food. The most classic symptoms are frequent, cow patty, yellowish, foul smelling stools and a voracious appetite. Many dogs eat their own feces most likely because it contains much undigested food.

For years, only specific breeds got EPI, especially German Shepherds. Now EPI is found in every breed. Barnum is the first Leonberger on the EPI support forum with it. :frown:

Barnum didn't present with both classic symptoms though. His first symptom was a voracious appetite which existed from the moment we brought him home from the breeders at 8.5 weeks old. What soon followed was regurgitation of his food, usually at the end of the day, rather than after every meal. His stools were well-formed though smelly. We soon learned the regurgitation was due to pica. He'd eat anything and everything. His favorites were moss, sticks, twigs, toy stuffing, and squeakers.

Through experimentation with his diet, we found grain in the dog food increased Barnum's chance of regurgitation. At 5.5 months old, we switched him to EVO which decreased the regurgitating to every three days.

Barnum was diagnosed at 6.5 months and placed on digestive enzymes.

As a giant breed, Barnum wasn't gaining weight as he should at a young age. Normally, they gain about 3 pounds a week between 12 weeks and 24 weeks old, sometimes more, depending on the puppy. Our first Leo Behr gained around 5 pounds a week, but then he was a huge dog. Barnum was gaining about 2 pounds. However, he wasn't getting the nutrition he needed from his food. We suspect he won't get to his full height, structure, or potential because he was born with EPI.

We're hoping Barnum's old record of 17 day without an "owl pellet", as we jokingly call his regurgitations, will fall this week. Hopefully, he'll make it to 20 days. It's 18 days today. The owl pellets have become smaller each time. I remember the first time when Barnum lasted a week without an owl pellet. We knew he would get better.

Here is a link to more information on EPI:
EPI * Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency - Overview
 

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We had a client have a GSD with EPI come to us at ~4 months old. She told her breeder that she got him from about his issue and she neutered/spayed both parents. I hope you told the breeder you got him from. She/he doesn't need to continue breeding the parents if they have the potential to produce more puppies with this disease. Anyway, he is on a low fat diet now and is doing great, and has been for about a year I think.

So I read in another post of yours that you are seeking kibble alternatives?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
We had a client have a GSD with EPI come to us at ~4 months old. She told her breeder that she got him from about his issue and she neutered/spayed both parents. I hope you told the breeder you got him from. She/he doesn't need to continue breeding the parents if they have the potential to produce more puppies with this disease. Anyway, he is on a low fat diet now and is doing great, and has been for about a year I think.
I've read on the epi4dogs website that low fat is no longer recommended.

I told my breeder and she was oddly flippant with me. She said that the bitch is no longer used in breeding, retired. However, I know for a fact that the stud is and is well sought after. I don't think this breeder would tell the stud's owner about this condition either.

The bitch has a problem with drinking too much water and throwing up the water with half digested food at times. Both Bailey and Barnum share the same mother but different fathers. They both have the same problem with water as their mother has.

So I read in another post of yours that you are seeking kibble alternatives?
I've thought for a long time about going raw and now I've finally convinced my hubby to do it. I loved his face when I told him we were paying $3.84 per dog per day feeding EVO.

Now I just need to figure which raw way to go; BARF or Raw Meaty Bones. I'm not into feeding several different supplements. Both Bailey and Barnum are on lifetime medications as is.
 

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Epi

So Sorry your baby has this, I haven't heard of this before but will do some research. Is their a medication or recommended course of action?
I know many of the shar-pei's have inherited gut and bowel problems .Crohns,IBS ect. Some are helped with Raw,Some are actually helped better with holistic medications and probiotics.This is the best person in the business and I know she custom tailors medication to your pup.Anyway here's the link and thanks for the info I'll do some research!
Pets for Homeopathy Welcome
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi sassy,
Barnum is given daily enzymes, 1 capsule per 1 cup food. These are more powerful than the ones you find in products such as Prozyme. It is quite expensive for the enzymes and there's a co-op through the website I mentioned.

We opted for the generic capsule formula because no prescription is needed and the convenience of a capsule.

Non-generic brands are Viokase, Pancreplus, and more.

When we first started treatment I gave him Culturelle daily. I also gave him daily B12 tablets, fast dissolving. Both those helped him.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
BARF style feeding is becoming less and less popular. I don't think anyone here on DFC would consider themselves a "barfer" at least not to the best of my knowledge....

Here is a good site that goes over the "why's" of raw, a good getting started guide as well as success stories!

Dedicated to proper carnivore nutrition - Prey Model Raw Feeding for Dogs & Cats
Well, that is good to know Danemama08.

I've been reading on that website before you posted it here. Great info and glad I found it instead of going with BARF. It makes sense. BARF gives food Barnum can't digest.

Luckily I read there because I almost ordered through my doggy day care place and that would have been BARF plus they add oatmeal?!. What are they thinking? Dogs can't digest grains. That is the number one no-no food for dogs with EPI.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Barnum has gone 21 days without an owl pellet. We are so excited. This is the longest without one. No owl pellet yet and that's good.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Raw, Raw It Is

It's raw meaty bones all the way. We've decided this will be the weekend too.

For now, we are talking to an independent grocer where the local restaurants buy in bulk.

Our next choice is a farmers co-op a short distance from here.

There also used to be a co-op group in a nearby town. I'll be checking into them as well.
 
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