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I have a 4 yr old nm gsd. About 2 weeks ago I noticed weight loss, did blood work and it looked fine so I increased food intake. 4 days ago I weighed him again and he is now down 10 lbs!! I did more blood work and it was seemingly fine again but the dr said with a slight albumin decrease and weight loss she really thinks it could be epi. My next step is to send more blood to test for it. I'm very new to this and a bit overwhelmed by all the info from researching. I was told to send bw to texas a and m, but there are at home tests too? What steps should I be taking to help him until tests are done? I feel like hes wasting away. Hes perfectly normal besides the weight loss, he is a poorly bred dog, severe allergies, weak hips, downed pasterns, duck footed and now this, I feel so bad for him. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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I'm so sorry you and your dog are going through this....I've (thankfully) never dealt with it.....HOWEVER based on your post....if I was in your shoes...I'd get a second opinion from another Vet---IMO blood work testing and/or sending blood out for testing should all be handled by your Vet or Vet's office.....the Vet then makes a diagnosis and contacts you with a treatment plan......at least that's how the Vet I see would handle it.
 

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I have a 4 yr old nm gsd. About 2 weeks ago I noticed weight loss, did blood work and it looked fine so I increased food intake. 4 days ago I weighed him again and he is now down 10 lbs!! I did more blood work and it was seemingly fine again but the dr said with a slight albumin decrease and weight loss she really thinks it could be epi. My next step is to send more blood to test for it. I'm very new to this and a bit overwhelmed by all the info from researching. I was told to send bw to texas a and m, but there are at home tests too? What steps should I be taking to help him until tests are done? I feel like hes wasting away. Hes perfectly normal besides the weight loss, he is a poorly bred dog, severe allergies, weak hips, downed pasterns, duck footed and now this, I feel so bad for him. Any help would be appreciated.
When I found out that my previous dog had EPI and I did my research online, I felt overwhelmed too. Don't be discouraged if it is EPI. It is a manageable disease. A lifetime of porcine pancreas powder has helped him gain his weight back and even thrive. He was diagnosed at about 1 year old and lived to almost 12 years old. (I put him down just before this past X'mas on something unrelated.) He made it to 80 lbs, then dropped to 55 lbs when he was diagnosed and eventually I got him up to a thin 98lbs where he stayed for most of his life. He was very active and you wouldn't have known he had EPI unless I told you. When he was gaining his weight back, the vet told me to feed him 3 meals of 3 cups each time....9 cups a day. When we got him back to a "normal" weight, his food intake was cut. He still had to eat more than most dogs for the rest of his life to keep the weight on, but he was ok. Also, he may need regular vitamin B shots. Don't worry if it is EPI. There are quite a few of us here that have had to deal with it. If you need some questions answered, I'll try my best to answer them. Send me a msg, if you do.
 

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I think I would also look into the “low albumin” a little more. This could be the sign of the beginning of something more serious since the poor guy has multiple health issues.

*What is Low Blood Albumin?
Low blood albumin can occur because of a loss of protein due to damage in the intestines or in the urine because of kidney disease, or the lack of production of it due to liver damage. Most often it is associated with chronic protein loss due to an underlying disease. Albumin needs to be properly balanced; this is required to keep fluid from leaking out of the blood vessels and then accumulating in the abdomen or lungs. This condition is not breed, age or gender specific. Low blood albumin is also known as hypoalbuminemia. Albumin is a protein in the body which is made in the liver. It’s purpose is to transport molecules but more importantly, keep fluid from leaking into other tissues in the body. Low blood albumin in dogs can be the result of numerous medical conditions.
*Symptoms of Low Blood Albumin in Dogs
Hypoalbuminemia usually develops alongside an accompanying condition and can mean there is liver or kidney damage, or an issue with the intestines. It can be a chronic problem, or occur very quickly. Symptoms of this complication include: Swelling of extremities, such as legs and paws Vomiting Weakness Diarrhea Distended abdomen Breathing difficulty
*Causes of Low Blood Albumin in Dogs
Hypoalbuminemia can result as a decrease in the ingestion of protein, a loss of protein through the gut or kidney, or by a failure of the liver to produce protein (therefore causing blood albumin levels to decline). These complications can result from the following underlying causes: Malnutrition (thus a decrease in ingestion of the protein) Cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (produces a loss of protein) Protein losing enteropathy as a result of a parasite, gastritis or colitis Liver or kidney disease Malabsorption of nutrients from food Severe infection Pancreatitis Heavy blood loss Fungal disease Large volume of fluid in the abdomen (chronic)
Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/condition/hypoalbuminemia



Our first GSD had severe EPI. These were some (not all) of her symptoms:
eating food feverishly
starting to look gaunt,
immediately RUNNING to eliminate after eating
their body and muscle tone is slack,
dog has very loose, often cow-patty style stools, mostly shooting diarrhea
large quantity of stool
dog eating stool (coprophagia)

Does he show any of those signs?

EPI:
Go to www.epi4dogs.com for information


SIBO also came to mind, but again, loose stool or diarrhea usually are signs of this.
German shepherds appear to have a higher incidence of malabsorption problems. These problems are frequently associated with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) but SIBO can occur either with or without EPI.
What are the common clinical signs of malabsorption?
The principal sign is weight loss with chronic diarrhea. Most dogs will have a normal or increased appetite and continue losing weight.
Can it be differentiated from pancreatic insufficiency on the symptoms?
Specific blood and fecal tests are necessary to differentiate EPI and SIBO. Dogs with malabsorption often do not have as voracious an appetite and the diarrhea is usually not as voluminous as EPI.
What is the cause of this condition?
Many cases are idiopathic or unknown. SIBO is frequently associated with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). (VCA Hospitals)


You may want to try adding some enzymes to her meals.
"Enzyme Diane" has an "emergency" page and suggests the following to help the dog assimilate and digest food more efficiently. You can get the NOW at a local health food store (NOT GNC or it's products).

  • Pancreatin 4x by "Now"
    • Porcine based 7-9 tablets or capsules crushed or sprinkled on the food with warm water will equal a teaspoon of Pancreatin 6x in potency or 3/4 teaspoons of Pancreatin 8x in potency.
(To purchase enzymes from Enzyme Diane: https://enzymediane.com/shop/)

Hope some of this info helps.
Moms :)
 

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I was going to buy the enzymes to be cautious until the tli came back to rule it out, hopefully going to get it sent of today, he looks like hes wasting away
 

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The epi test came back negative. Vet is thinking small intestinal disease and recommending an ultrasound? B12 and folate levels are low
 
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