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Doc: From EPI to Skin Infections - NutriScan Case Study

Name: Doc
Breed: German Shepherd
Age: 2 Years Old
Sex: Male

Doc was diagnosed with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI). With this condition, the pancreas’ acinar cells are atrophied and cannot synthesize digestive enzymes that enter the duodenum of the intestinal system. Inevitably, maldigestion and malabsorption will set in, which will lead to another condition called Small Intestinal Dysbiosis (SID). (SID is also formally known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth [SIBO].) SID is due to excessive bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. These bacteria feast on fermenting food that is not digesting. Then, the amount of bacteria continues to increase and eventually lines the tissue of the small intestine, which further impairs the absorption of vital nutrients and also depletes the body’s reserve of vitamin B12.

The classic EPI symptoms are: 

  • Voracious appetite
  • Vomiting (generally concurrent with IBD, inflammatory bowel disease, or a food sensitivity)
  • Ravenous, insatiable hunger
  • Eliminating voluminous yellowish or grayish soft “cow patty” stools – this a “hallmark” sign
  • Possibly aggressive behavior
  • Anorexia or extreme thinness
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas formation

The current EPI management protocol is to replace the digestive enzymes with pork, cow, sheep or lamb digestive enzymes. Pork is preferred as it is the closest genetically to dogs. Additionally, a pet caregiver needs to put a companion dog on a low fiber diet as fiber interferes with the enzymes. Occasionally, antibiotics are needed to clear out the bacterial overgrowth. 

So, Doc was placed on a low-fiber diet and pork digestive enzymes. Once Doc’s EPI was managed, he was plagued with new symptoms:

  • Yeast and rod (antibacterial) infections in his ears
  • Yeast infections all over his body
  • Pyoderma and staph infections in his paws  

His mom had consulted with a dermatologist who wanted to place Doc on a time-consuming and expensive food trial. She had heard about NutriScan from the EPI4DOGS website and decided to give it a shot instead. 

Turns out Doc has food sensitivities to chicken, corn, cow’s milk, turkey, venison, wheat and white fish. Thankfully, he did not have a reaction to pork.  

His mom immediately switched foods based on the NutriScan test results. Since then, he has been itch free and infection free!