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What is EPI?

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a malnutrition disorder caused by a deficiency of digestive enzymes. The exocrine portion of the pancreas produces the enzymes necessary for proper digestion of food. If not enough enzymes are produced, the dog develops signs of malnutrition from malabsorption.

The condition is also sometimes referred to as pancreatic hypoplasia or pancreatic acinar atrophy.

There is no cure.

Images of healthy and EPI pancreas (click to view)

Healthy canine pancreas

Healthy Canine Pancreas

Canine pancreas with pancreatic acinar atrophy

Canine pancreas with pancreatic acinar atrophy

Endstage PAA

End stage canine pancreatic atrophy

Endstage PAA

Normal canine pancreas on the right (Islet cells source of insulin in the center, surrounded by acinar - digestive enzyme secreting - cells)

Canine pancreatic acinar atrophy (PAA) on the right. No acinar cells remain only scattered islet cells - so these PAA patients are not diabetic

A special thank you to Dr. Williams for providing these photos!