Have A Heart for Companion Animals, Inc.
A 501c-3 Not for Profit Charitable Organization


October 2023

From the desk of
Marilyn Marinelli, President & Founder
Have A Heart For Companion Animals, Inc


Hi Everyone,

It has been a long time coming. We have our new website up and lots of activity happening and planned.  We now are going to do blogs and more newsletters.  I hope that you will be helped and encouraged to always keep your fur-babies…be they dogs or cats.

Today I want to share with you about something I have experienced with my dog, “Rubydoobee” of years ago. It is a disease that she came down with before she was one year old. This problem is called EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency). She wasn’t expected to live but she did live, up to 10 ½ years.  In June 2016, Ruby was a part of “EPI Microbiome Fecal Matter Research study.  She was chosen from many other EPI dogs because she was doing so extremely well in living regardless of this disease.

This study was done by:

EPI 4 DOGS Foundation, Inc. and
Dr. Suchodolski Med Vet,
Dr. Vet Med, Pd, AGAF, DACVM
Texas A & M Gastrointestinal Laboratory
College Station, Texas, USA

This problem is called EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency). Here is an excerpt from the EPI4Dogs website that explains a little bit about this condition. It is written by Olesia, the Founder and President:

“EPI in Dogs are dogs with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) that have a malabsorption and maldigestion condition where the pancreas is no longer producing enough pancreatic enzymes to digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins.  Because of this, dogs (and also cats) will often experience unexplained weight loss and diarrhea/cow-patty like yellow/pale stools.

Although EPI was more thought to be just a German Shepherd condition, it is now found in all breeds.  That is why EPI4Dogs was created, because of Izzy, a little Spanish Water Dog born on July 11, 2005 diagnosed with EPI on December 15, 2006, who wasn’t supposed to have ‘that German Shepherd condition’.  Izzy passed away on February 13, 2020 at almost 15 years old.  May her legacy of helping others with EPI live on…”

EPI is a devastating, frustrating disease that is all too often misdiagnosed. Symptoms usually do not appear until anywhere between 80% and 95% of the exocrine pancreas acinar cells are destroyed. What makes this disease even harder to diagnose is that not all dogs display any or all of the symptoms all of the time. Any breed can have EPI, not just GSDs…The EPI diagnostic test is a simple TLI blood test. Once proper treatment is implemented, it is amazing how well most EPI dogs respond and go on to live a good long quality life.

Common Symptoms

The most common symptoms are:

  • Gradual wasting away despite a voracious appetite
  • Eliminating much more frequently, sometimes every hour or two Some experience intermittent watery diarrhea or vomiting
  • Some dogs even display personality changes such as fearfulness or sudden aggression
  • Stools are greasy voluminous yellowish cow-plops, but sometimes grayish
  • Eating their own stools, or other inappropriate substances
  • Increased rumbling sounds from the abdomen
  • Increased passing amounts of flatulence
  • Some dogs do not show any typical signs
  • Detecting EPI

  • EPI can manifest anytime in a dog’s life – – from a young pup to an elderly dog, with the severity and symptoms of the disease varying somewhat with each dog.  Sometimes the dog has the disease but symptoms do not appear at all, until exacerbated or triggered through a stressful physical or emotional situation.
  • Always confirm EPI with a trypsin-like immunoreactivity (cTLI) blood test (8-12 hour “food” fast).
  • The Treatment

    Successfully managing EPI, (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) is all about finding the right balance of:

  • Enzymes
  • Diet
  • Prebiotics, Prebiotics & Probiotics, or Antibiotics (if needed for SID/SIBO)
  • B12 (if needed for low or low-normal B12)
  • For more detailed information go to http://www.epi4dogs.org/byb.htm

    Until next time
    Marilyn Marinelli, President & Founder
    Have A Heart For Companion Animals, Inc.

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