Although the diagnosis of EPI can seem like a dire and heart-wrenching disease to deal with, please know that there are many successful EPI management stories. The following pictures are pictures of our members from this website of their EPI dogs....posted with their permission... check back often as more pictures are constantly being added ...
ROXY ..... from Malaga, Spain 8/3/17
Henry and I run a small rescue in the Malaga region of southern Spain - we live very rural - it is a 17km drive down the riverbed to our home from the nearest village Campanillas. Most of the dogs we rescue have been abandoned on the river bed - many have been born there to 'parents' previously dumped. We also save one or two from the local pound and try to help other rescues where we can .... we also rehabilitate dogs who are no longer wanted or needed by their owners. We try to find good homes for them - locally but in other European countries too. We don't keep our dogs in kennels for very long - we try to integrate them as soon as we feel they are ready, we put them back together physically and mentally, we socialize them, house train them, we protect them from future disease where we can and we neuter them so no more unwanted little ones can suffer the way they have, we love them and when they eventually leave for their new homes we break our hearts because they take a little part of us with them when they go.
Driving down the track we go to a dip where the river divides ... just standing there in front of us in the glare of the headlights we saw this 'thing' - the thing looked like a hyena, thin, pointy ears and spotty ... it stood calmly in front of us for what must have been around 5 or 10 seconds - we all just looked at each other ... with that it took off into the darkness. The next day we went in search of this 'hyena' ... we asked the local goat man and he said yes he'd seen it - a dog - 'muy malo' - very bad - he said making a dismissive gesture with his hand - telling us to leave it alone. Not to be deterred Henry set off to look for it .... another neighbour told him they had seen it in a clump of trees .... and there it was ... the Hyena thing ....
Roxy was surviving living off a dead goat ... the meat was all
gone and all she was left with the chew on was the bones. Every day Henry went
down with food and fresh water ... after a week or so she left that den and
started to come a little closer ... the trouble is many locals don't like
strays ... they frighten them away ... shouting or even shooting warning shots,
treatment of strays can be shocking and shots don't always stop at a warning
especially with a dog like Roxy who is Belgian Malinois and looks like she is
carrying some awful disease. We had a few set backs but we kept finding her and
our neighbour was now helping too .. she eventually found a large drain she
made her 'home' - she was frightened still at this stage and we couldn't catch
her. The weeks went by and she began to trust Henry - she was covered in ticks
and fleas and at this point we managed to get an antiparasite treatment on her
skin and put worming tablets in her food. With in a couple of days she decided
she was good to go .... and she left her drain for good..... a month from first
Once in safety we went straight to the vet - she was painfully thin, her skin was black and she had little hair ... hence the way she looked spotty in the dark ... she smelt very bad, she was starving hungry and she had the most horrendous diarrhoea, she also had open sores all over her body. Blood tests were taken for Leishmania and other Mediterranean diseases, we were sure she had Leish. Her skin problem is Malassezia which is usually a secondary condition ... we treated her for Guardia ....
She proved negative for Leish and everything else ... but the diarrhoea continued - it was yellow, incredibly smelly and volumous and instead of putting weight on she was losing it... alarm bells rang in our lovely vets head. She took further blood tests ... Results were all over the place. This time it showed she had tick fever - so antibiotics for that. But sadly they showed Roxy has EPI and so the 'journey' began into something we had no idea about ....
She started on Kreon/Creon and we did see a small improvement, antibiotics for Tick Fever continuing, anti fungal medication for the Malassezia together with an antifungal shampoo. Creon is in short supply here in Spain, also it was becoming difficult to get Roxy to swallow it whole and we seemed to take a nose dive again in her condition. Our fabulous vet consulted specialist Pharmacists and they came up with a different format enzyme to try. It's in a tablet form Pancrea Pharma and the 'mix' is a little different to Creon ... from the first meal we saw a difference .. for the first time we had really great poops! Now to say we have become obsessed with poo is an understatement! We take photos of it - we keep a poop diary ... poop is THE thing on our minds most of the day!! 10 days on and we have had great poop every day, we see an improvement in her skin ... still black but maybe a lighter shade, it doesn't smell anymore, and it doesn't feel greasy - plus - we see stubble growing! The regime of mess for that will continue and the daily baths and lotions. Hair will be great for her, the temperatures here at present on average are 40 degrees - no hair and black skin means poor Roxy suffers with the heat more than any of our other dogs. Needless to say she loves laying in front of a fan!
This has been a journey of just over 10 weeks but it feels a life time. We felt very down about the diagnosis initially, I don't mind saying and the feeling of hopelessness was shocking, worry of the financial implications and could we actually do this poor girl justice. We are sure this girl was someone's dog but they dumped her to die ... she wasn't responsibly owned, in Spain it's a legal requirement to have a dog chipped and vaccinated - she had no chip ... we think she has probably suffered EPI to some degree all her life - she is smaller than she should be - the Malassezia is chronic she's had this a long time ... she is judging by her teeth only just maybe 2 years old ... they probably thought she had Leishmania I doubt EPI was even on their radar.
I found EPI4Dogs foundation on the internet and I must say
without them we would not be were we are today - with their help we hit the
ground running so to speak - I changed her diet immediately to low fibre, grain
free, currently on TOTW which she loves, she has no treats at present and if we
make any change or add anything we do it one thing at a time so we can see any
problematic results. I learned about enzymes, different ways of doing things, I
learned it's not a 'one fit' treatment and management and we felt incredible
support was out there. The knowledge and information on the Facebook page and
website is incredible ... everyday I learn a little more and I understand a
Roxy lost an adoption that was in place for her - not because the family are bad people - far from it but the financial implications for Roxy's future are daunting. Different countries have different costs for vet care, food, medications etc and it quickly adds up - we totally understand. But there's a friendship now there too and they keep in touch and are concerned for Roxy and her health. In honestly I don't feel anyone will ever want to adopt her - she is now a lifelong commitment for us I think which is a huge shame for her. If you were to ask Roxy if she was happy I think she would say yes but we know she could have so much more with someone else - we have many other dogs here who need care too. Roxy in keeping with her breeding has boundless energy - I almost shudder sometimes when I wonder what she will be like when she is well!! But she's a good girl - not one ounce of aggression, she is one of the happiest dogs we have ever known - some times she has to 'take 5' in her own kennel and play area so she isn't burning off every bit of energy she is taking in and also to let the other dogs have a rest -- we currently now have 16 dogs - sizes from a big Dutch shepherd to a 3kg Chihuahua and ages from 6 months to 14 ... not forgetting Eric the cat who is 17!
So our journey along the EPI path continues - but we walk it now with positivity - well most days! We long for the day Roxy looks as beautiful as she should and we know she is.
Our house is full, our pockets empty but I guess our hearts are full too ... oh and we have lots of great poop -- what more could anyone wish for!!??
CORA with her loving family 8/1/2017
Cora was diagnosed with EPI when
she was four years old. She lost about 25 pounds over a few month period, going
down to 60 pounds. Cora’s family - Kaia and her big sister Anna and their
parents, brought Cora to us, the grandparents, to see if we could help – figure
out why Cora was so sick and getting weaker by the day. When she arrived at our
home Cora could barely stand. With the incredible care of our vet Chad
Aderhold, Cora was diagnosed, and then with his help and the help of the EPI
Forum Community, a lot of internet search time and a whole lot of love and
patience, Cora began the very long journey to get well. Today Cora weighs in at
92 pounds and lives to love her family and protect the world from furry
woodland creatures especially squirrels.
1. Cora Thin – her lowest weight 60 pounds
2. Anna Feeding Cora – older sister Anna when she was 3 (was a picture in an EPI Calendar)
3. Kaia – 2 years old pic
4. Cora’s Family (uniform - son is Major in Air Force)
5. Winter Closeup - Cora in strength
~Cora's loving grandma, Jill
April 8, 2016
This is Victor's dog, Catalina, from Argentina "Before" picture....
... and this is Catalina's "After" picture (Catalina is on the right) :
Catalina's is looking much better !!!..... And her human companion, Victor, thanked us and said that all our EPI documents/information helped Catalina very much! Victor... you are very welcome!
He was skin & bones, his fur a disaster, and his ears with tissue seemingly dying along the outer edges, but something else was there. A gentleness, a will to live, and love that truly called to me. I led him on leash outside to the sunshine. It was a chilly day and rather windy, but I felt the sunshine would please him.
As you can see from the before/after pictures, Duncan is now doing amazingly well!
I am very thankful to this website and to all that helped me to find the cause for my boy's suffering, so that he could truly have the life he deserves. I love him very much, and he is truly the poster boy for how very much a special needs rescue dog can enrich one's life. I cannot imagine life without Duncan, as he is such a blessing. He truly is deserving of the name, Duncan. My brown fighter (for his life).
Love changes everything.
Jade’s EPI story
Jade was born March 18, 2013 and came to live with us, her forever home, May 25, 2013. She is an extremely happy, energetic and loving puppy. It was approximately a year after we got her, at approximately 14 months old, Jade started presenting with symptoms. She went from having 3-4 bowel movements pre day to needing to go out every 1-2 hours. Whatever she ate went right through her. She was having massive amounts of diarrhea, however never lost her appetite. She continued to be playful and happy. After 2 weeks of diarrhea, we took her to the Vet. Her initial diagnose with a GI infection from dirty pond water. She was started on antibiotics and probiotics. Over the course of the next 2-4 weeks, the diarrhea worsened, we started seeing a significant change in her attitude and personality and the most horrifying change with her weight loss. Over the course of 4-6 weeks Jade had lost nearly 20lbs. After several visits to the vet, multiple trials of antibiotics and probiotics, enough was enough. We knew there was something significantly wrong. July 3rd,2014 Jade had her fasting bloodwork done and the next day, we got our diagnoses. Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency.
We were happy to finally know what was wrong, however, needless to say we were extremely overwhelmed at this point. What was EPI? How do we treat it? What is the best treatment option? So many questions. With the mounting stress of watching our fur baby waste away to nothing, we were faced with a tough discussion…what to do next? We could not afford the veterinary enzymes, which would cost us nearly $250.00/month. We thought we would have to give Jade away. We were devastated. Then we found epi4dogs.com and EnzymesDiane.com. Through the endless support and advice from the members of epi4dogs.com we found answers to our numerous questions and then some. We can honestly say that without the members support we don’t know what we would have done.
Jade was started on her enzymes treatments right away, along with a 6 week course of weekly vitamin B12 injections. We started to see some improvement, however the diarrhea continued. Again, through advice from epi4dogs members, we got Jade started on a treatment course of Tylan for her SIBO. Within a few days of treatment Jade was have formed bowel movements and again weight. With treatment Jade is doing amazing. She is back to her happy, joyful self and is happy to be a EPI survivor and lifelong epi4dogs member.
Sara, David & Jade
Anu's "Sheru" before being treated for EPI ...
Exactly a year back we got Sheru from a local kennel in Delhi. He must be around 5-6 months of age, recovering from tick fever, was blind in one eye and was ill. What we did not realize is this pup we brought home also had some undiagnosed clinical GI problem - He would eat and poop ALL THE TIME. Multiple visits to different vets, multiple changes in diet didn't solve anything.
This story is extra special to me personally as it is an exemplary example of how the wonderful members of epi4dogs reach out and help one another from all-around the world ... and how even if someone does not have access to the "standard" EPI protocol medications.....you can STILL successfully and effectively manage EPI
...... thank you Sachini for sharing your story with us... and thank you Devika for reaching out and helping Sachini !!!
Deena from Sri LankaNov 1, 2012 (4 mo)
When Deena was 5 months of age in December 20, 2012 I noticed that she was not growing up as her brother and sister.
March 3, 2013 (8 mo)
Little by little she started losing weight. I had no idea what was wrong with her because Deena ate more than the others. When she was 8 months old in March 2013 her weight was only 5 kgs. One day i saw her eating her own poop, newspapers, clothes and small pebbles.
With these details Denna's vet Dr. Niranjala Paranamanna suspected that she was suffering from EPI.
The vet wanted me to give raw pancreas because in a country like Sri Lanka we have no medicine for EPI. Sept 30, 2013 (1 yr 2 mo)
Raw pancreas did not help her well. In July 2013 Deena was 1 year old. She was just skins and bones. We lost hope for her. She hardly moved around. I started to search the internet to get some help for her. http://www.epi4dogs.com/ gave us hope and i was very happy about it.
Olesia Kennedy and Devika Pande replied with the correct way on how to overcome the situation.
CREON 10, Metronidazole and wheat free food gave Deena her life back. Within 3 months she gained 8kg and now she is 15kg in weight.
Nov 26, 2013 (1 yr 4 mo)
Now Deena is 1 year and 6 months old ... and she is a very happy little girl ! January 1, 2014 (1 yr 6 mo)
Lisa's "Phoebe" before...
Lisa's "Phoebe" after ...
Our family adopted Phoebe in 2008 from a rescue in North Carolina. She was two years old and a skinny thing. After being with us for about 6 months we could not understand why she was not gaining any weight. We tried all kinds of things, even made satin balls and everything that she ate went straight out the back. We would take her for walks and it seemed liked we were carrying poop bags that weighed 10 lbs. It was so frustrating. Not only did she have diarrhea, she would vomit too. I did some research online and came across EPI. I took her to the vet and had THE blood test done, and it was confirmed that Phoebe did have EPI. I remember the doctor telling me that there is “magic powder” available which will make Phoebe feel like a new woman. Hoorah, the vet was correct and it did make a difference in Phoebe. Phoebe’s weight went from 56 lbs to 97 lbs.
It all did not happen overnight but gradually she started to gain weight. There was a lot of trial and error with her food and how much powder to give her. It was a struggle and we went through the phrases of her not wanting to eat her food but she would eat her poop as well as the stomach gurgling noises.
I noticed during the summer of 2012, Phoebe’s energy level was low and she was very lethargic and after reading posts on the support groups, it was suggested that we test her B12 levels. Well guess what? She is on B12 shots and what difference it has made. Phoebe has her groove back!!
I am an avid poop watcher now and EPI will always be part of our lives, but we can lick it!! Phoebe is a joy and I am so glad that she is part of our family.Woof, woof…from a German Shepherd EPI survivor family in Virginia.
This is Fiona's EPI dog, a lurcher named "Dexter" who lives in the UK:
This is Dexter back in October 2012 struggling with EPI weighing in at much too little at 14.3kg:
but happily, this is Dexter now ... November 2013.... approximately a year later weighing in at 19.7kg:
... WOW..... a looking MUCH better looking Dexter, eh?!!!!!
Phil's Trixie and her 8 month EPI journey captured in pictures .... Trixie: 2 year old corgi/terrier/lab mix. Dropped 10 pounds over 4 months, finally diagnosed with EPI June 20th. Lowest weight: 15lbs. Goal: 25lbs. Currently: 23lbs
Katie's Coco...... only a mere 2lbs when first diagnosed with EPI.....8 years ago!
Coco, our miniature dachshund, was dropped off at San Diego Animal Control by her former owner who could no longer afford to care for her. Her vet had run a variety of tests to figure out why Coco was losing weight while still eating well, but never considered EPI, and her former owner simply ran out of money to try to figure out what was wrong. Knowing that I do dachshund rescue, the shelter contacted me and we went down to pick Coco up.
This is Linda's 12 year old dog, Spanky on the day he was first diagnosed with EPI, and started on the EPI treatment (August 3rd, 2012).
and this is Spanky now on October 20th, 2012.
He's been holding steady at this weight for about three weeks and he's now eating the same amount of food he was eating before he ever got sick. Isn't it AMAZING the difference once proper treatment is implemented?!
"Rilind", the rescue dog .....please follow his amazing story on his very own FaceBook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rilind-Reborn/323392057681786 . His wonderful Foster family & Rescuers have done an amazing job giving Riliand a 2nd chance... please take a moment to visits Rilind's Rescue site! http://www.pitsisters.org/
Riland went from a mere 37lbs at the end of
Dec 2011 to a whopping 70.2 lbs by end of Feb 2012 !!!
Cheryl's Gabi who has EPI + IBD and also had a terrifying episode of bloat in the midst of dealing with EPI + IBD....... This is Gabi in October 2010 at 52lbs :
.... and this is Gabi one year later, October 2011 at 70lbs:
Gabi is 5 years old today (Jan. 31st, 2012) .... HAPPY BIRTHDAY GABI ......and is spunky as ever!
Jewels.... Ashley's terrier.... Jewels was really struggling when first diagnosed with EPI in June 2011
This is Pandy, only 13 lbs when first diagnosed. This is Pandy a year later after treatment, at 26 lbs!
This is a picture of Dixie at 37 pounds in August 2008!
And this is a picture of Dixie at 63 pounds in January 2009
Dixie is a 2 1/2 year old German Shepherd Dog from South Carolina. These pictures are courtesy of her mom Melissa to share with others and to give hope ....that with proper diagnosis, enzyme treatment and a change in diet and management.....miracles can and do happen! Dixie will always have EPI, will always need enzymes and a special diet but 6 months after being at death's door.... literally!....she looks like a different dog....that can now run, play and lead the full life of a GSD.
Yama the Akita The pictures below are of Yama, a pure-bred Akita dog. Yama was diagnosed in 2008 at 4.5 years old with EPI. As you can see from the picture, Yama's owner, Marty, just about lost all hope. But with enzyme treatment and a change in diet to a no-grain food ...within six months... Yama once again is enjoying life. Any breed can have EPI, and there is hope for every one. Diagnosed July 08, Lowest weight: 52 lbs, Current weight: 80 lbs. (Dick Van Pattens Duck & Potato - 3 x 1.5 cup meals per day, Pancreatin (powdered porcine enzymes) 6X - 1 tsp per cup of kibble ratio, Sprinkled on dry kibble (not ground), Soaked with equal parts warm water 4 hours before serving.
Rutger, a Doberman, was a haunting 42 lbs in this picture in December 2008 when EPI was first suspected. He just wanted to lie down all the time........
With proper treatment Rutger went up to 55 llbs..... what a difference proper treatment can make in a mere 4 months!
This is Archie, a German Shepherd Dog who weighed in at an appalling 37 lbs at the shelter...fostered by one angel named Cheryl and adopted by forever angels named Gretchen & Brian.....in 7 months.....under the wonderful care and love of Gretchen & Brian... Archie has gone from 37lbs to a whopping 75lb!!!!
Archie now eats Iams Lamb & Rice dry food sprinkled with PancreVed (pancreatic replacement enzymes from the DVM) , wet down & stirred, wait 20 minutes, and stir in a few tablespoons of yogurt (to prevent bloat). He also gets vitamins (PetTabs from Petco). And of course a few treats a day! Don’t ever doubt what a lot of love, care and good veterinary care can do! Please know that there is hope......Dogs with EPI can and do turn around and flourish with proper treatment!
This is Bronson, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel just prior to EPI diagnosis on February 3, 2011 ...and then one month later, March 1, 2011, after
being properly treated for EPI..
This is Christopher's Sascha from Florida when she was first diagnosed with EPI on 2/23/11 @ 40lbs. (day one of enzymes)
and this is Sascha 1 month later! on 3/22/11 @ 52lbs. 12 lbs heavier !!!
Cocco from Mexico......
Cocco is our young miniature schnauzer, that was diagnosed with EPI when 4 months old, our vet gave us no hopes whatsoever telling us that there was no treatment, and that we should enjoy of our little buddy for as long as we could until his soon demise. Cocco was extremely thin, with his ribcage showing and everything, he passed from being a very active and mischievous pup, to just lying around all day.......All of this was very painful for us, and we struggled with every kind of low-fat food alternatives and good hopes only for about another 4 months, that was until we found this site and turned things around .
Cocco’s treatment at the time: 1 Creon 10,000 pill 5 minutes before every meal, 1 cup of Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat kibble, with 1 scoop of Royal Canin Low Fat canned dog food. 3 meals a day.
My wife and I started a 10 point rating system to track the pooping improvements, so while Cocco was on Creon his poops started getting better, harder, and more consistent!!, around 7 or 8.5 points according to our ratings and expectations. We were so excited when we first saw him struggling for his first time pooping something harder than a slushie out of him, haha, excited over poop, I was in kindergarten all over again, lol.
Cocco then started to gain some weight and enthusiasm!!, slowly but very notably, and in the meantime, I had already ordered the big guns!! and they were on their way to Laredo Texas where we could pick them up, 1 Kilo of pancreatin from EnzymeDiane, 1 bottle of Trinsic-B B12 capsules with intrinsic factor, some grain-free dog food, and a whole bunch of EPI brochures that enzymediane packs for just 1c... so, after 2 weeks on Creon, we went to pick up our EPI shipment, we live in Northern Mexico, so it was the longest 2 hour drive we’ve made.
After that, and up until now, Cocco’s treatment is: half teaspoon of powdered pancreatin, mixed with 1 cup of grain-free Natural Balance LID: Sweet Potato & Bison grain-free kibble, with various broth, and/or a little chicken breast, or meat. Two times a day.
At first we were having second thoughts about the whole pancreatin ritual, since it seemed more complicated and bothersome that just shoving 1 pill down Cocco’s throat, which he was even starting to have a liking... but when we saw the first results of this pancreatin powder, it was the best poops We’d seen so far!!, it was 10 points for Gryffindor every time!!
After that, there was no going back ~Jose Antonio~
One of the tiniest EPI dogs...... Lynda's Boo at 2lbs just prior to EPI Diagnosis ... nothing but skin and bones ...nobody thought she would make it.......
Lynda's Boo today... 6 months later...... a happy healthy and frisky 3.6 lb little girl!
Chuck's dog Bryce Oct 6, 2011 .....the day before they started Bryce on Enzymes... Bryce was very lethargic and had dropped down to an alarming 33lbs .
5 weeks later on Nov 12, 2011, Bryce has gained weight and is back to acting normal and enjoying life with her buddy, Ginger!
I know how daunting it is and how helpless you feel when you hear the word EPI.. and even then the mountain you need to climb with your furkid to get he/she stable. Its tiring, heartbreaking, worrying & it seems when one thing is battled, another pops it's head up. There is always light at the tunnel.
Although Kobe is having a few issues at the moment, I thought I'd post some pics up of him recently (No poop pics, promise).
At his lowest weight he was just over 33kgs, a 7kg drop from before diagnosis. These pics still give me chills now, but at the same time you can see what perseverance means and how this forum helped him to look the way he does now.
Feb 2010 - 5 months after EPI diagnosis, he had a 5 month battle with SIBO:
and this is Kobe today... a BIG (and happy!) difference!:
Peter's dog Schneider went from a heart-wrenching 45 lbs in April 2011 to a wonderful 82 lbs in October. His diet consists of Blue Wilderness Salmon; 1 1/3 cups x 3 daily, sprinkled with Pancrezyme Plus [changing to EnzymeDiane's as soon as the current supply is finished], and incubated about 45 minutes. Treats: Home-made chicken jerky as well as freeze-dried liver [store-bought].
Pretty amazing, eh?!
Jean's dog "Kara"... and what her poo looked like before EPI Treatment and after EPI treatment!