Worried about EPI - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Unread 10-20-2019, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Worried about EPI

Hi all,
Willow got pretty bad diarrhea last night. She whined at about 4am in her crate, very softly, but I heard it--and I let her out and took her outside, and she ran to the back of the yard and had pretty loud diarrhea. Did it again after breakfast at around 8:00am, during her morning walk around 9:30am (several times; the last time it was hardly diarrhea, just watery junk) and then again on her evening walk around 6:15pm (back to a fairly large quantity of gross puddly diarrhea). Besides the 4am wake-up call, none of these bouts of diarrhea were emergencies.

My first thought was she just ate something bad--I caught her eating some cat poop after our walk yesterday, and I also noticed she was chewing up and eating sticks, and I wondered if maybe the cut-up hot dogs I use for her special treats were maybe rancid (I threw them away today). I'm generally strict about not feeding her table scraps but I guess I did give her a little spoonful of yogurt yesterday in her Kong, which I hadn't ever done before.

The interwebz says I should not have fed her today (oops). I gave her her regular breakfast, but then after reading up some I fed her boiled chicken + rice for dinner. She seems to be pretty normal otherwise--no vomiting, active, doesn't appear lethargic, and her appetite is still really good.

SO anyway I've now learned about EPI and how common this is in GSDs, and it's got me pretty freaked out. I of course will take her to the vet if her diarrhea does not go away after another day or two or if she shows other symptoms. But I guess my question for you all is, for those of you whose dogs have EPI, was it a sudden onset of diarrhea or something that occurred gradually?

She has had bouts of diarrhea before since I got her 2 months ago, but I always assumed those were stress-related: she had diarrhea for about 1.5 days right after I got her, and she had diarrhea for about 1.5 days after her spay. None of those were bad enough that she ever had an accident or woke me up in the middle of the night. Otherwise her stools tend to be on the soft side and lighter-colored, I guess, but sometimes they look dark and hard and healthier. It's really a crapshoot (pardon the pun).

She has not lost any weight to the best of my knowledge though I haven't weighed her since the spay. She was 66 pounds when I got her and 67 pounds when she got spayed. She is 3 years, 2 months old.

Sorry if this is an oft-discussed topic on here; I searched through some old threads but wasn't quite seeing the info I was hoping for (mostly about how quickly the symptoms of EPI typically progress).
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Unread 10-20-2019, 11:12 PM
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I don't know much about it and will let others say...
but I thought EPI was the dogs who were losing a lot of weight and becoming scary thin, and sometimes gagging/vomiting after eating? I think if she is on the boiled chicken + rice and goes back to normal food and normal poop in 2-3 days, she is probably OK.

My dog always had soft yellowish poop until we switched him from the brand the rescue fed him to a higher quality brand of kibble.
He also would get soft yellowish poop after training class (where he ingested entire sandwich baggies of cheese and chicken).

And I've spent a few nights on the couch by the back door due to dog diarrhea, getting up and opening the back door in a daze when I heard Rumo pace/whine - once he quickly gulped down a burger he found under a bush, and once he ate a bag of steak trimmings (fat) that we had thrown away.

I probably would wait and see if she recovers, before I began to worry.

(My dog likes cat poop too! Gross...)

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Unread 10-20-2019, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know much about it and will let others say...
but I thought EPI was the dogs who were losing a lot of weight and becoming scary thin, and sometimes gagging/vomiting after eating? I think if she is on the boiled chicken + rice and goes back to normal food and normal poop in 2-3 days, she is probably OK.

My dog always had soft yellowish poop until we switched him from the brand the rescue fed him to a higher quality brand of kibble.
He also would get soft yellowish poop after training class (where he ingested entire sandwich baggies of cheese and chicken).

And I've spent a few nights on the couch by the back door due to dog diarrhea, getting up and opening the back door in a daze when I heard Rumo pace/whine - once he quickly gulped down a burger he found under a bush, and once he ate a bag of steak trimmings (fat) that we had thrown away.

I probably would wait and see if she recovers, before I began to worry.

(My dog likes cat poop too! Gross...)
Thanks, needed to hear that. I worry too much. Thank GOD I do not and will likely never have human children.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Unread 10-20-2019, 11:36 PM
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@banzai555 please don't get on the worry train that Vet Dr. Google can cause.
You did do the right thing in changing to a bland diet of boiled rice and chicken. Give Willow a couple days and switch her back to her normal food.
Training treats: While hot dogs are a favorite of dogs as high value treats use them sparingly. The are very high fat, can be high in sodium and can be loaded with fillers. If you want to use hot dogs I would suggest an organic low sodium variety or an all beef low sodium variety. Cut them into very tiny pieces and use them sparingly. To much fat can cause digestive issues, pancreatitis, etc which can cause diarrhea.
Yogurt is generally safe as long as it PLAIN yogurt. Be very, very careful it has NO artificial sweeteners. Zylitol is very toxic to dogs (can be found in low sugar peanut butters too). Some dogs don't do well with too much dairy so a little is better than a lot. Organic Plain Greek Yogurt is loaded with beneficial probiotics but too much of a good thing can cause diarrhea.
it's possible it was too much training treat. She might have picked up a bug from drinking from puddles or the like on a walk. Or it could be stress colitis.
Keep a calm watchful eye and if she doesn't improve or gets worse visit your vet.

Ziva 03.07.2013
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Unread 10-20-2019, 11:50 PM
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Common things commonly -- so if you have had diarrhea for more than a day, I would have the vet run an inexpensive fecal float test to look for common things! EPI is not common -- it's an "out there" possibility that shouldn't even be in your mind if you've just got some basic diarrhea right now. Focus on common stuff dogs pick up (worms, giardia, coccidia, etc.) first.

Simply looking at the poop on a slide under a microscope is often enough to diagnose what's going on. There are some things that are hard to catch on the slide that may require more testing...but start with the inexpensive, easy test. You might need nothing more than some Panacur and maybe a week's worth of Metro (which are inexpensive meds).
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Unread 10-21-2019, 12:11 PM
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Eating junk...sticks, poop, too many training treats, will do it to mine every time. Just a dog with a more sensitive stomach. Turkey poop is usually a surefire day of diarrhea. we try to avoid it!! Don't always succeed.

A month of Forti Flora can really help a dog like this
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Unread 10-21-2019, 05:58 PM
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Yep - I think everybody agrees -
too early to worry yet!

But keep an eye on the poop (always a popular topic on dog forums :-)
But share photos sparingly...please...

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Unread 10-21-2019, 06:33 PM
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A wise vet told me just about anything can give a puppy diarrhea. It’s not usually serious or even something you can avoid as long as they didn’t eat something dangerous. Usually they treat the symptoms rather than try to find the cause unless it continues or there is a fever or other symptoms of illness.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Unread 10-21-2019, 07:03 PM
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My previous dog had EPI. Diarrhea is not the only sign of EPI. IMHO, from what you've mentioned above, it doesn't sound like your dog has EPI. (I could be wrong but you need to get it checked out by a vet.) A dog that has it, will eat voraciously and yet lose weight. My dog was eating 9 cups of food a day at one point and he was still losing weight. He went from around 80 lbs to 55 before he was diagnosed and put on lifetime medication. He was skin and bones. I lovingly called him, "Bag O'bones" at that time. At 55 lbs, his ribs and spine were very prominent. When he ate a large meal, you could see a bulge on his side....that was how thin he got. Once he got on medication, he made his way up to a thin 98lbs.

You need to check and see what she got into besides cat poop, sticks, bad hot dogs, and whatever. When you leave the house, is she in a crate or is she freely roaming the house? If she's freely roaming you may have to set up cameras around the house to see what she's getting into or at least put her in the crate. You need to watch her at all times. If she's getting into these things like cat poop, then you're not watching her good enough. Cat poop may have bacteria, or worms, or whatever. So you may want to get some tests done. Until you get this solved, you need to keep an eagle-eye on her.

Another thing is what are you feeding her? The food you're feeding may not be right for her especially if she feels the need to eat cat poop. Also what kind of treats are you giving her? Some treats are found to be not good for dogs, like pig ears. Too much fatty foods like pig ears can cause pancreatitis. And too many bouts of pancreatitis...apparently, can cause EPI according to a recent study. I don't know how much of it is true, but even if an ounce of it is, then I would stop with the fatty foods/treats.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Unread 10-21-2019, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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You need to check and see what she got into besides cat poop, sticks, bad hot dogs, and whatever. When you leave the house, is she in a crate or is she freely roaming the house? If she's freely roaming you may have to set up cameras around the house to see what she's getting into or at least put her in the crate. You need to watch her at all times. If she's getting into these things like cat poop, then you're not watching her good enough. Cat poop may have bacteria, or worms, or whatever. So you may want to get some tests done. Until you get this solved, you need to keep an eagle-eye on her.

Another thing is what are you feeding her? The food you're feeding may not be right for her especially if she feels the need to eat cat poop. Also what kind of treats are you giving her? Some treats are found to be not good for dogs, like pig ears. Too much fatty foods like pig ears can cause pancreatitis. And too many bouts of pancreatitis...apparently, can cause EPI according to a recent study. I don't know how much of it is true, but even if an ounce of it is, then I would stop with the fatty foods/treats.
She gets into the cat poop outside. My neighbor's horrible cat comes into my backyard and poops, and Willow's great at finding it. She snacks it up while I'm out there with her, before I can stop her. I'll try to be better about looking for it and picking it up. (I HATE outdoor cats. They also kill all kinds of native birds and leave them for me to find...don't get me started lol.)

She is left in a crate when I am gone for extended periods of time. I occasionally leave her loose in the house for short times, but have no evidence she is getting into any garbage (and usually all I have in there is like...coffee grounds lol. I hate cooking and I also hate smelly garbage cans.)

I am feeding her Canidae Grain Free Salmon, after researching dog foods on that dog food website that seems pretty reputable and gives them all star ratings (blanking on the name). I treat her with cut-up hot dogs VERY rarely, very small pieces, for her extra special treats (like when we're on walks and I'm trying to teach her to not react to people). Otherwise it's Zuke's training treats for the rest of her training, 1 Denta Stix per day, and usually 1 small rawhide chew per day (like...4 inches long and a cm thick, they're really small and she eats them in about 2 minutes). Also the occasional Milk Bone and my sister-in-law sent me some Trader Joe's pumpkin treats. And I put a few chunks of wet canned dog food (also Grain Free but whatever brand is on sale) into her Kong when I leave for work. I am pretty good at avoiding giving her ANY table scraps. So...a pretty wide variety but I try to keep her calories from treats down to a minimum.
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