EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency)

If your dog has Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) it basically means there is a progressive loss of digestive enzymes needed for your dog to break down and absorb their food properly.

The progressive loss of pancreatic cells that produce these enzymes is most commonly caused by pancreatic acinar atrophy

The atrophy itself can be the result of a previous infection, a blocked pancreatic duct or it can be simply down to genetics. Loss of digestive enzymes leads to digestive issues and malabsorption of nutrients which is why dogs with EPI struggle to maintain their weight, and are therefore constantly
hungry, even though they can eate copious amounts of food.
They can even literally waste away, even die a painful death from malnourishment, starvation or organ failure. A lack of nutrient sometimes even results in temperament changes which may express themselves in aggression or even fear! Absolutely not what we want to see.

Pathogenesis (or, where do we see the disease?)

EPI is most commonly found in German Shepherds (around 60% of all cases) where it is predominantly an inherited condition (passed down from a dog's parents). Other breeds are now also being reported as showing signs of EPI as well, such as Border Collies, Boxers, Cairns, Cavaliers, Chihuahuas, Cocker, Dachshunds, Jack Russels, Labradors, Retrievers, Rottweilers, Schnauzers and westies! It is also worth noting however, that this is not an exhaustive list, and not the only breeds now known to be affected, simply the most common.

Typical Symptoms

In most cases, not until 80-90% of the pancreas has lost the ability to secrete the proper digestive enzymes will the symptoms present themselves. What makes it even harder to diagnose is that not all dogs display any or all of the symptoms all the time. The diet will often need complementing with additional enzyme powders and in some cases a boost of vitamin B12 injections

The most common symptoms include:

  • A gradual wasting away, even though there is a voracious appetite
  • Defacating more frequently
  • Stools are often greasy, voluminous, yellowish cow-plops, but can also be grey-ish
  • Eating their own stools or other inappropriate substances
  • Increased passing of wind
  • Increased rumbling sounds from the abdomen
  • Experiencing intermittent watery diarrhea or vomiting
  • Some dogs even display personality changes such as fearfullness or sudden aggression
  • It is also worth noting - not all dogs display the typical signs


Without question you should seek proper veterinary advice as to the actual treatment of EPI  and where to get the appropriate medication - your vet will most likely prescribe an enzyme powder to be added to your dogs feed at every meal.
Again, we stress that you need to seek immediate veterenary advice if you suspect your dog has EPI

How does a grain and cereal free diet help?

It is the wheat gluten and other grains/cereals typically found in other brands of dog food that EPI sufferers have particular problems digesting. All our recipes are wheat gluten free. And many of our recipes  have no grains or cereals in them (Click here to see our range of Grain free dog food, which have no cereals either). We have had excellent results with EPI dogs that have been fed our Duck & Potato recipe, as shown with the numerous testimonials
we have received.


All Reviews are Conducted By An Independent 3rd Party Provider.

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