Exocrine pancreas insufficiency is brought about by chronic inflammation of the pancreas, disrupting the physiological production and excretion of pancreatic digestive enzymes. These enzymes play an important role in extracting nutrition from ingested food and - if lacking- will cause digestive disorders and subsequently malnutrition.
The insufficient formation of digestive enzymes results in the dog hungering although it eats a lot. The appetite of the animal increases and grows normally to ravenous appetite. Nevertheless, the dog increasingly loses weight and becomes skinny. Additionally, chronic diarrhea evolves as further symptom where the amount discharged is quite voluminous. The excrement is grayish and ocher (lighter than normally), smells usually sourly and has a thin pasty, greasy bright, partly foamy consistency. Above all, however, often undigested parts of the food are contained in it. Flatulence of the dog appearing more frequently have annoying effects. Another, typical symptom is eating the own excrement and the excrement of other animals. Due to insufficient feeding the animal's coat gradually becomes dull. In later stages the general condition of the animal can be impaired; it loses endurance and becomes exhausted much faster.
Usually, the exocrine pancreas insufficiency is based on a reduction of pancreas tissue. The cause of the tissue reduction is not yet completely explained. However, a genetic correlation is supposed which was already proven for some breeds. Additionally, a chronic pancreatitis in final stage may cause the tissue reduction. The disease mainly occurs, but not exclusively, with German shepherd dogs and long-haired Collies.
The disease is not curable. A substitution of the feed (diet) facilitates however a good life for the dogs and the symptoms of the disease are possibly suppressible. However, these nutritional permanent measures are associated with high costs and efforts for the owner.
In case of appearance, aggravation of the symptoms indicated before, or in case of development of new symptoms, you should call the veterinarian at next opportunity and agree upon a date within the next days or week.