About Piper

Piper is a long haired German shepherd dog who was born on September 24, 2004. She was brought home by my family on April 5, 2005. On June 12, 2009 she was diagnosed with Enzyme Pancreatic Insufficiency or E.P.I. Simply put her pancreas is no longer secreting the enzymes that are required for her to properly digest her food so she has been slowly starving to death. Now that she has been diagnosed she can begin treatment and live a full and active life.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A summary of her history

Piper at 8 Months

Oh, where to begin? I guess we always just assumed Piper had a sensitive stomach. It started when she was just about two years old. She would get the runs and we assumed she had either gotten into a snack left out by one of the kids or she was eating her poop (a nasty habit she had from the start). It happened often enough that I knew the protocol by heart, the vet would prescribe Lomotil (an antidiarrhea medication) and antibiotics for bacterial overgrowth, she would be fed rice and boiled chicken for a few days and then slowly put back on her regular food and eventually everything would be fine. That is until the next time.

On September 6th 2008, she was almost 4 years old, I noticed she was a bit lethargic, she threw up and there was a trace amount of blood, then she started having bloody diarrhea. I slept on the floor by her kennel for the night and in the morning when there was still blood in her stool we took her to an ER vet where she was rehydrated, treated and released. We took her the following day to our vet where she was treated and a course of action was discussed. We decided that even though every fecal sample run had ALWAYS come back negative we would de-worm her and this would help ensure that she was not suffering from a parasite. She was dewormed in September and had the runs (or as we fondly called them pudding poop) in November. December came and went without an incident but, then in January it happened again. We tried everything from adding a meat tenderizer to her food, putting her on Metronidazole and even plant derived enzymes. When all else failed and she started to lose weight we put her on Hills Science Diet ID a a prescription food that would cover any food allergies she may have and it was easy to digest. At about $50.00 for a 20 pound bag I was a little frustrated when she had the runs AGAIN!

After reading a post about another dog with similar symptoms and her diagnosis with EPI, I took Piper to the vet and had the vet run a blood test called a trypsin-like immunoreativity (cTLI) which is the only way to properly diagnose this condition. While we were there I had them weigh her, she had dropped from 56 pounds at the end of April to 46 pounds in June. On June 12th 2009, when the results came back she was diagnosed with EPI. A healthy dog will have a range of 5-35 and Piper’s was less than 1. She was literally starving to death.

She was always hungry, so hungry in fact she would steal food off of the counters and eat items she otherwise would NEVER have touched - like strawberries.

Piper is pictured here guarding marshmallows for our s'mores. Now a days they wouldn't have lasted 30 seconds !

Piper is currently being treated for this disease and we hope to find just the right balance of enzymes, food and supplements so that she can live a long and healthy life with our family.


  1. Hey, Piper,
    This is a wonderful journal you have started, and we're sure it will be helpful to a lot of dogs and their people. You are so beautiful (always have been) and it sounds like your journey to where you are now has not always been easy. Thank God you have such good humans who figured out what was going on and how to help. We look forward to learning alot from you (already have), and watching you thrive.

    Our human Mom says to tell you she held you as an 8 week old pup, and you were the cutest thing EVER!

    Hero and friends

  2. Piper says, "Thank you for all the compliments, I have no idea why my Mom gets so excited each time I poop - humans are strange! I'm still pretty hungry but Mom is feeding me more and more every few days. I remember the kind woman who held me and it is very nice to hear from you ;). I bet hero has really grown up, give him, his friends and humans our best! Were glad you found us.
    Piper & Michele