"Murphy" is a Cocker Spaniel and he was rescued
about 1 year ago by his current owners. Shortly after his
adoption, his motions became very loose and sloppy. Despite
dietary control and medication, there was no great improvement
in his condition. Consequently, "Murphy" had a
ravenous appetite, consumed large volumes of food, but continued
to lose weight.
Investigation of this kind of problem involves a series
of logical steps of laboratory tests. Checking for gastro-intestinal
bugs (endoparasites, pathogenic bacteria...) and blood samples
to look for systemic diseases. Malabsorption occurs when
a patient is unable to obtain all the "goodness"
from his diet that he should. As a result, 'what goes in
one end................. goes out the other!' An unpleasant
experience for both patient and owner alike!
The final diagnosis was exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
or EPI. This is an inability to properly digest food due
to a lack of digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas.
This is usually due to shrinkage of the pancreas. This can
be caused by previous infections, blocked pancreatic ducts,
chronic inflammation, immune-mediated disorders or genetics.
In humans it is often associated with cystic fibrosis and
can be one of the first symptoms of this disease. Symptoms
most commonly seen in dogs include weight loss, chronic
diarrhoea, flatulence, increased appetite, poor hair coat
and sometimes coprophagia.
The treatment that Murphy receives consists of supplying
pancreatic enzymes which are added to the diet and Vitamin
B12 injections as he also suffered from anaemia. Dogs with
EPI need lifelong treatment so Murphy is extremely lucky
to be insured.
Since the treatment has started, Murphy improved considerably.
His motions are back to normal, hes gained weight
and hes livelier than he ever was before. His owners
are also relieved that there is a lot less to "dispose
of" than before!