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Discussion Starter #1
Well, after 7 months of trial and error, mostly error, we switched Bogey to a different vet. She has been wonderful and within the last week has run a series of tests to try to diagnose his GI/digestion problems.

This morning some blood was sent off to Texas A&M to test for EPI - Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. This is most common in GSD, and since I know a few members here have them I'm wondering if anyone has ever received this diagnosis?

Here are two helpful links about the disease:
http://www.cvm.tamu.edu/gilab/assays/tli.shtml
http://www.epi4dogs.com/index.htm

We are hoping and praying he just has a bad case of SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) which is what we have thought for several weeks now, but this vet wanted to rule out all major problems before we put him on a long run of antibiotics to ensure that we weren't masking a bigger problem.


We get the test results on Wednesday or Thursday. It's going to be a long few days. Any help from the forum would be much appreciated!
 

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Kim & Flora
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I don't know anything about it, but I will keep Bogey in my thoughts and hope for a negative on that blood test! Sorry he's still having problems with his tummy. He'll get better soon, he's just a baby. :)
 

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I had a Belgian Tervuren diagnosed with this years and years ago. I ended up buying a product from a guy near Milwaukee who had Shepherds. You put it on their food and it "pre-digested" it.

Once we figured that out, he did fairly well although he never attained what I would consider full growth for a Terv. He was kind of a shrimp :)

I think that what I was told at the time-this is almost 20 years ago-was that he could not digest the fat in his diet and so it was being excreted. His stools were very loose and oily-and very attractive to the Goldens! He was thin, not much coat and ravenous most of the time.

Good luck with Bogey!
 

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Bogey doesn't have most of the big symptoms that set EPI out from other things. He is not gaunt looking, his coat is healthy and he is growing. But we are trying to test for everything.

It's just been the longest 7 months of my life. We are all exhausted, broke and lost. I just want him to get better.

Thank goodness for this new vet - I am hoping she's the answer to our prayers.
 

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Murphy's mom
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My second golden Cody was given the same diagnosis as a puppy. Once he was started on the Viocase-V (powder supplement) he did fine. We had to mix a small 1/2 tsp in every meal and let it sit for 5 minutes or so. After that his poops were fine on his regular food...I fed Proplan at the time. Viocase is pretty expensive. I think an 8 oz bottle was about $130 to $150, (it increased over the years.) But that bottle would last quite a long time since Cody only need the 1/2 tsp per meal.

He lived to be 10 1/2 years. And he was a pretty big boy, between 80 and 85lbs.

Good luck to you, but I bet he will do fine once he gets the supplement.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Last June we submitted bloodwork for Keeper to Texas A&M for these same tests. Three of the four areas tested for came back in normal ranges. The Cobalamin level was very low (<150, normal is 251-908). This can be an indication of EPI but as her TLI level was ok it was ruled out. We had already changed her diet, added a new probiotic, was supplementing with Sam-e, milk thistle and with this result we started to supplement with Vitamin B 12 injections. She has been doing wonderfully since then with only a rare blip but I guess since June maybe three problems which all corrected themselves. I can only wish you the same success with Bogey. I am FAR from an expert but feel free to ask anything that comes up and I will try to be of some assitance even if it is just a shoulder. I remember the stress of not knowing what was wrong and it went on for over 9 months before we had an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What were his symptoms? How old was he when diagnosed? Any other information about Cody's case would be much appreciated.
 

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Ambika, so what do you do for her now? We are expecting a low cobalamin level with all the diarrhea he's had.

How much do her meds cost you each month?
 

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Murphy's mom
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I believe Cody was around 5 months old. He kept having diarrhea, lots of it as I remember. We treated again for worms etc. kept checking his poop. Finally the vet suggested we send his blood and check for the pancreatic insufficiency. It came back positive.

After he started on the Vicoase V, he did fine. No problems with weight or hair or stools.

I did let his breeder know, since I was told it is genetic. She wasn't too keen on hearing anything further about it and denied it was EPI.

Later in life Cody developed Nodular Granulomatous Episcleritis (a growth over the eye) and then Degenerative Myelopathy (a progressive disiease of the spinal cord, causing paralysis) Don't know that if any of these would be connected, but wanted to explain why he died at 10 1/2 years. It wasn't the EPI, or wasn't only the EPI.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all for the information. This is a great start. Part of me wants a diagnosis just so we can stop looking and start the right treatment. The other part wants nothing to do with this disease.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Ambika, so what do you do for her now? We are expecting a low cobalamin level with all the diarrhea he's had.

How much do her meds cost you each month?
The only thing I have added since the test results show the cobalamin level was low is the Vit B12 (1.5 ml) injections which were really very inexpensive. I give them myself. For the first 5 weeks I gave one injectionweekly, then the next 5 were given every other week and then we went monthly. She still gets them monthly. I have one left from the original amount the vet gave me and I need to refill the script I assume.
She does still get all the other things I listed.
The Sam-e costs about $30/month
The supplement I use for milk thistle works out to about $5/month
and the probiotic is about $20/month
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great! He is already on a probiotic, and we have talked about the injections. We will probably have to do those even if it comes back negative for EPI. His diarrhea has just been so chronic for so long that I'm sure his cobalamin is low.

But this is hugely helpful. And you are all making EPI and related diagnoses sound much less scary.
 
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