Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in the dog Academic Article uri icon


  • The most common cause of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) in the dog is pancreatic acinar atrophy. There are other underlying causes such as chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic neoplasia, that may result in EPI. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is the most common cause of maldigestion in the dog. The reduced amount of enzymes in the pancreatic juice and the lack of other important pancreatic secretory products lead to malabsorption of nutrients, such as cobalamin. In many dogs concurrent small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is present. The most reliable test to diagnose EPI is serum trypsin-like immunoreactivity (cTLI). Measurement of serum cobalamin and serum folate allows evaluation for concurrent small intestinal disease. EPI in the dog can be treated with commercially available preparations of pancreatic enzymes, along with the supplementation of fat-soluble vitamins and cobalamin. Despite enzyme replacement, fat digestion does not return to normal because of the sensitivity of lipase in enzyme preparations to gastric acid. However, most dogs can be managed successfully by this therapy and do well on a commercial maintenance diet. In some cases the use of antibiotics is necessary to treat concurrent SIBO.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Rutz, G. M., Steiner, J. M., & Hirschberger, J.

complete list of authors

  • Rutz, GM||Steiner, JM||Hirschberger, J

publication date

  • May 2000