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Effects of diet on clinical signs of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in dogs

Elias Westermarck DVM, PhD1 and Maria E. Wiberg DVM, PhD2
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Hämeentie 57, 00014 Finland.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Hämeentie 57, 00014 Finland.

Abstract

Objective—To assess the effects of dietary modification on clinical signs of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) in dogs.

Design—Blinded randomized crossover study.

Animals—21 dogs with EPI.

Procedure—Dogs were fed the diet they received at home for 2 weeks. Thereafter, they received 3 special diets (a high-fat diet, a high-fiber diet, and a highly digestible low-residue diet) for 3 weeks each. Owners scored dogs daily for the last 2 weeks of each 3-week period for severity of 6 clinical signs including appetite, defecation frequency, consistency of feces, borborygmus, flatulence, and coprophagia. An EPI index was calculated for each dog by adding the daily scores for each clinical sign.

Results—Significant differences in daily EPI indices among diets were observed in 20 dogs. The original diet appeared to be the most suitable in 8 dogs, whereas the high-fat diet was most suitable in 5 dogs, the high-fiber diet was most suitable in 4 dogs, and the low-residue diet was most suitable in 2 dogs. In 1 dog, the lowest EPI index score was the same during the original diet and the high-fat diet feeding periods. One dog did not complete the feeding period for the high-fiber diet. Differences in mean EPI indices among diets were not significant.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that responses to different diets varied among individual dogs. Because responses to the feeding regimens were unpredictable, it is suggested that feeding regimens be individually formulated for dogs with EPI.

Abstract

Objective—To assess the effects of dietary modification on clinical signs of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) in dogs.

Design—Blinded randomized crossover study.

Animals—21 dogs with EPI.

Procedure—Dogs were fed the diet they received at home for 2 weeks. Thereafter, they received 3 special diets (a high-fat diet, a high-fiber diet, and a highly digestible low-residue diet) for 3 weeks each. Owners scored dogs daily for the last 2 weeks of each 3-week period for severity of 6 clinical signs including appetite, defecation frequency, consistency of feces, borborygmus, flatulence, and coprophagia. An EPI index was calculated for each dog by adding the daily scores for each clinical sign.

Results—Significant differences in daily EPI indices among diets were observed in 20 dogs. The original diet appeared to be the most suitable in 8 dogs, whereas the high-fat diet was most suitable in 5 dogs, the high-fiber diet was most suitable in 4 dogs, and the low-residue diet was most suitable in 2 dogs. In 1 dog, the lowest EPI index score was the same during the original diet and the high-fat diet feeding periods. One dog did not complete the feeding period for the high-fiber diet. Differences in mean EPI indices among diets were not significant.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that responses to different diets varied among individual dogs. Because responses to the feeding regimens were unpredictable, it is suggested that feeding regimens be individually formulated for dogs with EPI.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Westermarck.

Supported by Hill's Pet Nutrition, Incorporated.

The authors thank Arto Ketola and Juha Junttila for statistical analyses.