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.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A summary of week three through week six

Where to start? I had hoped to have the time to do a weekly summary at the end of each week but due to summer vacation I have not been able to keep up. So here is a brief summary of the last few weeks.

Week 3 and 4
Week three and four were weeks full of change for Piper. In the beginning she was being fed 1.5 C of Hills ID prescription diet four times day. We dropped the enzyme down from 1 ½ tsp to 1 3/8 of a tsp. without major issue. She did burp up once and had a tiny bit of tummy rumblings during the first 24 hours of the change but her “out-put” was perfect. So we gave her a few days to adjust and took a wait and watch attitude.
She adjusted well after the initial 24 hours so we continued to drop her enzyme in steps until she was down to 1 1/8th a tsp. per 1.5 C of kibble. The other issue that we had to deal with was cutting her feedings back from 4 to 3 times a day. Being a busy Mom of three my schedule is hardly ever the same from one day to the next and squeezing four feedings in was difficult. Three feedings a day is more manageable. So, we increased the amount of food per feeding to 2C with 1 ¼ tsp of enzyme and fed her 3 times daily.

Week 5
Going into week 5 we decided to start weaning her from the Hills ID prescription diet. From the reading that I had done I learned that it is best to switch to a grain free food which decreases the risk of small intestine bacterial overgrowth. The grain found in most kibble can be metabolized by harmful bacteria within the intestine allowing them to multiply and outgrow the beneficial bacteria within the dog’s intestine.
When looking for a new food for a dog that has been diagnosed with EPI it is recommended to find a grain free food low in fat (12% or less) and low in fiber (4% or less). After much research I decided to switch her over to Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Canine formula. Although it contains a slightly higher percentage of fat (15%) this includes Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. When the percentage of fat is recalculated (leaving the Omega-6 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids out) it is closer to the recommended 12 percent. T.O.W also has the recommended low fiber content (3%). We took it very slow, decreasing the Hills kibble and adding the T.O.W. by a ¼ C. every two days. She was successfully weaned onto Taste of the Wild and eating 2C. three times a day with 1 ¼ tsp of enzyme. The next step will be decreasing the enzyme to the minimum required by her system to digest her kibble.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Week Two

Well week two was looking very promising. Piper’s poops have been rock solid and I was excited to take her into the vet on Thursday to have her first weigh in. After dropping the kids off at religious education I drove back to the house and loaded Piper in the car despite the raging monsoon. As we pulled up to the vet’s office Piper howling in protest, I noticed that there were no lights on in the office. I left Piper in the car and went into the office only to find out that due to all of the thunderstorms earlier that morning they were without power and I would not be able to have her weighed.
The good news is as of Thursday July 2nd we reduced the amount of enzyme she was receiving by 1/8th of a tsp. The bad news is she just puked on my kitchen floor. It was mostly a mix of mucous & water but still a bit disheartening. We have had on and off thunderstorms this afternoon and evening and she reacts poorly to these. As you can see from the picture, she usually hides on our bed panting and shaking, not what you want to wake up to at 3 am! I am hoping it is due to her neurosis and not the decrease in enzyme. Of course it was charted as soon as it occurred as well as the fact that she was upset due to the weather. I had planned a subsequent decrease on Sunday if she reacted well but I think I will wait and see if any other incidences occur. I hope to be able to report another decrease in enzyme as well as a weight gain in next weeks update.