Zena is a very special 3yo Šarplaninac, a rare breed also known as an Illyrian Shepherd Dog.
The first time we saw Zena, she was an extremely sick and underweight girl, despite her owner’s upmost efforts to help her gain weight and treat her medical conditions.
She was seen by Dr Jaime initially a year ago. She required surgery to remove an infected uterus and treatment for skin problems. Dr Jaime was also suspicious at the time that the reason Zena could not gain weight, no matter how much she ate, was caused by a condition called ‘Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency’, commonly known as EPI. This is a disease most commonly affecting German Shepherds.
The pancreas is a small, but important, organ which sits next to the duodenum, the first section of the intestine. It has a duct which releases digestive enzymes into the gastrointestinal tract and is critical for the digestion of fats from our food. When this is dysfunctional, the food will pass through, but insufficient supply of digestive enzymes means the fats in this will pass through completely undigested. This causes lethargy, weight loss, poor coat quality and many other signs.
Lucky for Zena, this diagnosis was correct! This diagnosis can be confirmed with a simple blood test, if there is suspicion your dog is suffering from this condition. Zena was supplemented to replace the enzymes her body does not otherwise produce. And have a look at the before and after photos!
She almost doubled her weight, going from 22kg to 42kg, and is now a healthy weight with so much more energy! This condition is lifelong and is not able to be cured, however, it is easily managed and makes a huge impact on quality of life.