A friendly little Jack Russell Terrier named Pippa had been successfully trimming down her waistline for some time. However, her owners started to suspect a problem as she got thinner and thinner. On top of this she had developed unpleasant diarrhoea and abdominal cramps which did not resolve with a bland diet and standard medical treatment.
During several visits to Dr Vanessa Milborn and the Vetwest Whitfords team, we began the search for the cause of Pippa’s chonic diarrhoea and weight loss. We began with faecal tests which did not identify any infections or parasites. A general health blood test showed some minor changes but did not give us the full picture. Some more specialised blood tests had to be done to get to the bottom of the problem. It was all worth the effort as we found a very treatable condition.
We discovered that Pippa has a condition called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, known as EPI. In addition to this, she had developed a deficiency in vitamin B12 which only made her symptoms worse. EPI occurs when the pancreas is no longer making and releasing important digestive enzymes into the intestinal tract. When food can’t be digested properly, dogs lose body weight even though they are eating very well. They also develop diarrhoea or frequent, large volumes of pasty faeces. EPI is much more common in German Shepherd dogs who have a genetic tendency towards this pancreatic problem. However, any breed can develop the condition often as a result of chronic pancreatitis destroying the normal pancreatic tissue.
Pippa went onto a treatment regime of pancreatic enzyme supplementation in her meals and a series of vitamin B12 injections. Pippa’s diarrhoea cleared up quite quickly. After 6 months of treatment she is at a healthy body weight and looking and feeling great. Pippa will need to remain on the enzyme supplements for the rest of her life but as a result will be able to live a normal, happy life.