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Forum Home > General Discussion > aggression in EPI dogs

Posts: 5

I have a 4 year old GSD who developed EPI when she was about 4 months old. She's been on Enzyme Diane and weekly B-12 shots ever since. There have been no EPI issues since I started her on GI low fat prescription food, the enzymes and the shots.  However....she is hair trigger aggressive and is unpredictable I have stopped walking her or taking her anywhere because she can 'go off' at a moment's notice and I don't want to break a hip trying to hang on to her.  She is food aggressive and dog aggressive and in a flash will attack one of my other dogs and not quit, even if I throw water or turn on a hose.

When she is her normal self, she is sweet and loving and incredibly smart.  Very well trainined, knows every command and every trick. BUT this split-second change in behavior scares me to death. I can't hang onto her leash if she lunges at another dog and hence no longer walk her. She barks viciously in the car when we pass dogs on the street, she has attacked both my other dogs over food or my attention -- and there's no stopping her.

Although she's good with people and everyone loves her, I can't take the chance she will go on a rampage and my 3 year old grandson or disabled 6 year old granddaughter will get hurt.

Does anyone else have hair-trigger changes in behavior with their EPI dog?  Sweet one moment and a vicious attack the next? She has never bitten or hurt a person. I've pulled her collar to get her away from one her 'siblings' and she has never bitten me or show any aggression toward me. I pull her away and she marches right into her kennel and stays quietly until I let her out.

To have a dog you can't trust, can't take anywhere or go for walks with is beyond sad. Ideas?  (Prozac didn't work). Thanks so much.

Sue Johnson

[email protected]

May 2, 2018 at 1:49 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Paige's Guardian
Posts: 106

My Dane is vocal at times.  She did get more pissy with my boy labradors and other dogs at the dog park when she had Pancreatitis.  However, she has never been food aggressive, toy aggressive or possessive of my attentions.  She walks the best on the leash and watches other dogs we pass but never barks or lunges at them. 

If all of this behavior is new for your girl, I would take her to the vet and get some lab work to make sure nothing else is going on.  Maybe she is in pain.  If not, maybe check with a vet behaviorist, someone who specializes in behavior but NOT a trainer.  I don't have the most confidence in trainers today since they all have their own personal philosophies.  Hard to know what you will get.


May 2, 2018 at 10:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Jean and Kara
Posts: 7462

Hi Sue

i have gone through your previous posts, so she is 4 ish now,

couple of questions, I note somewhere that you have not had EPI diagnosed clinically, is that still the case ?

are you still feeding low fat prescription food, if so then maybe she is hungry, EPI dogs do not require low fat foods, but in your case if not diagnosed, maybe she does

how much are you feeding

how often

are you seeing any small intestinal bacterial overgrowth issues, they can be rumbling tum, throwing up white flegm, etc


if this is a problem , then you need to use Tylan twice daily depending on weight


please scroll down

if SBO is there then it will deplete your b12 reserves

can you explain the "when she is normal" in relation to her shots etc

you have had this issue for a while and I sympathise, my girl is reactive too

Prozac will sometimes make things worse, have you considered training, the car barking is difficult. wewere advised to block the car windows, Victoria Stillwell has a web site which is good for this type of situation, and there are tv shows which show her training

you should keep a diary unlless you already do

if you can explain the situation maybe someone can come up with something, I can definitely share some bits we have learned







From Liverpool England

born 21st July 2009

Adopted at five months old 26th December 2009


EPI dx August 2010

tli<1.00 folate 8.3 cobalimin 611

Antibiotics  2 Oxytet antibiotics 3 times a day also if we cannot fit the Oxytet in she has Tylan 1/8th teaspoon before her meals as a maintenanance dose

Food- Ashenbank Lamb Casserole  twice daily equalling 3 cups per day possibly more

Zantac (ranitadine) 75 mg 30 minutes before each meal as too much acid was being produced, causing shedding of bowel lining

Enzymes-Panzym 3 gram per meal twice daily ( 3/4 teaspoon ) 

B12 injection once every three weeks

One Chemeyes B12 with intrinsic factor of 40 daily

One Antepsin before bedtime

Allergies to beef, pork, chicken. and white fish confirmed by blood test

33.6 kilos in weight as of 5th May 2013

37 kilos as of 10th June 2014

40.65 kilos, 89.6 pounds as of 3rd March 2015

Vet says she is now processing her food correctly

Very proud of all of us



I am not a vet, nor have veterinary experience, but have lived and breathed EPI for 51/2 years, and hope I can bring some support to others, as others have to me.


May 3, 2018 at 3:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Judy & Piper
Posts: 694

For the first 2 years after Piper was diagnosed, she had that hair trigger aggression and attacked Koda several times.  She still had resource guarding for the rest of her life but at a much lower amount.  I always knew when her B12 would get low because the aggression would increase.  Also, if she was feeling unwell due to SIBO or one of her other health issues, she would be very touchy. 

Piper - Diagnosed 21 Jan 14 at approx 16 months of age TLI 0.3
            DOB - late Sept/early Oct 2012 (found as a stray in a remote Northern Labrador community at approx 3 - 4 months of age)
Using Enzyme Diane 6x 
B12 shots every week at home as well as 2 pills per day
 Eating Pulsar Lamb or Pork
67lbs at time of diagnosis, now 118lbs.
Diagnosed with Hypothyroidism Sept 2014, taking Thyro 0.6mg 2 x daily. 
Piper also has Cushings Disease, allergies and a host of other things but she's happy and we spend our time going for Quality of Quantity because, at the end of the day, that's what's most important
I am not a Vet.  Anything I share or suggest on this site is strictly from my experience as the owner of an EPI dog.  It is recommended that suggested on this forum be discussed with your Vet.

May 4, 2018 at 7:04 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 5
Thx for all of your replies. Emily has had this hair trigger personality since she was a year old or so. She hasnt had any EPI stool issues since starting her on 6x Enzyme Diane and weekly B-12 shots. She has blood tests once a year- no SIBO, thyroid issues, parasites, nothing. Vet thinks the food aggression is due to her starving as a pup before EPI was under control. I feed the dogs separately, her craziness comes out at treat time, not meal time, since I keep them apart. I agree that if the B-12 isn¬?t at exactly one week I see a difference (1 cc once a week). Prozac didn¬?t work, there was no difference at all. For last 3 days, she¬?s been on trazadone, 100 msg 2x a day, but it¬?s too soon to tell if it works. I will try a gluten free diet, not as low fat as the current RC low fat GI, but both vets think that since she hasn¬?t had a GI issue since we started this food, over 3 years ago, I shouldn¬?t rock the boat. She is lovely with my dog sitters. They think it¬?s that Emily doesn¬?t think I¬?m alpha . They¬?ve never seen a vicious attack where she bit the faces of my other dogs. My new 10 month old, rescued last weekend, has a lovely, non aggressive personality. She¬?s attacked him 4 times while they were playing; now he¬?s fearful of her. Today I called in a behavior guy ( not a vet, well known in OC, does lots of work w aggressive dogs and is recommended by the bully breed rescues. Ironically, he has a EPI GSD, but he hasn¬?t called back yet. Any ideas will help. Thanks. Sue 714-363-3898 and [email protected]
May 7, 2018 at 6:33 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 3731
Hi. I still do not see if Emily has been diagnosed EPI with the cTLI 12 hour fasting blood test? If so what was the result? Thanks so much.

   Jill-  Washington State

Mickey 6/21/99 - 8/29/2014 

17.5 lb  jack russell, chronic pancreatitis, hyperuricosuria,high blood pressure, hypothyroid, spinal stenosis

diet of  hard boiled eggs, macaroni,  RC Hepatic, mashed potato

2 #2 Dianes enzymes 6x premeal

 2.5 mg Amlodipine, .15mg soloxine am/pm, 100mg ursodiol started for gall bladder thinning

arthritis:  6.25mg tramadol 1x/day, 12.5mg gabapentin every 12 hrs,  Assisi soft loop used on back and elbow, 1- 540meq potassium citrate nightly

Denamarin once a day, 1/16 t tylan (150mg)  2x/day ,  Senilife started 12/14/13, Trixsyn sirup for arthritis, .1mg Adequan weekly by shot. 75mg Tylan 2x./day for SIBO

Optimmune for Dry eyes

 Kiya is Mickeys sister, 3/4 aussie, 1/4 blue heeler born 9/2006.  She thinks she is a 44 lb jack russell who tries to heel Mickey!!

TJ is the newest addition.  He is in the bottom picture with Kiya.  He was born 7/05/2015. 

I am not a vet, just a pet owner sharing what experiences I have had in helping my dogs with other pet owners.  If you have an emergency please call your vet.

May 8, 2018 at 9:28 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Paige's Guardian
Posts: 106

Sue.  I would be careful of the "alpha" trainers and unfortunately, a lot of trainers like to use shock collars.  Those theories have been debunked over and over again by researchers and behavior specialists.  Many trainers have no formal education or certifications.  Thoroughly interview anyone (by phone) before you bring them into your home and allow them access to your dogs.  I have 5 large breed rescue dogs (2 Great Danes, 3 labs) who all get along fantastically.  We had a few bumps in the road but luckily, figured them out quickly.  My 2 boys tend to be very tolerant and listen to the girls.  The bumps in the road only involved the girls (2 Danes and 1 little lab) but also, no serious stuff just nips that were respected.  Any other issues, were because of me. 

So, giving treats, I have to say each dogs name then, give the treat to that dog.  The other dogs look away when I say someone else's name.  They look at me when I say their name and only then, do I give them their treat.  One Dane girl prefers her treats in the bedroom.  She has never liked getting treats with the other dogs present.  She eats extremely slow.

I do pay attention to their energy level as a group.  I make sure that it doesn't go too high because that can make them "deaf" to my vocal commands.  And, when they were young 5 dogs playing together could easily get out of hand so, I would try to limit them to 2-3 at a time.  And, rotating so other could play as well. 

Is there some way to exercise her without the other dogs?  A long walk, run or you riding a bike with her running.  And, have the other dogs that play well together play alone w/o Luna present.   That way each gets exercise without that aggressive negative energy.

Sue, the addition of my dogs all came one at a time.  They were each "foster to adopt".  I only adopted them once we realized that the new "foster" fit in well with each of the other dogs.  Maybe it would be best to consider the newest pup to return to the rescue if your current dog is not tolerant of him.

May 8, 2018 at 10:48 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 1

Snowy had the hair trigger aggression and food aggression when I found her nearly starved from this EPI disorder.  However, since she has been diagnosed and on the enzymes, oral B12 and probiotics daily for a few weeks, she is noticeably better.  Actually, she has not had an episode at all for a couple of weeks and it was almost daily at first.  I attributed to her low B12 which they said she had as well.  Low B12 makes you jumpy.

June 10, 2018 at 2:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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