Exocrine Insufficiency

The pancreas, residing next to the stomach and small intestine, allows digestion and absorption of nutrients from the diet. The pancreas can be divided into two major sections: 1) the exocrine pancreas that releases hormones to breakdown ingested fats, proteins, and sugars from the diet, and 2) the endocrine pancreas that releases hormones of sugar regulation, e.g.: insulin and glucagon (abnormalities in this section of the pancreas include Diabetes mellitus). Pets with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) fail to release digestive enzymes and thus, suffer from malnutrition as food cannot be broken down for absorption. EPI can be congenital (born with condition) or acquired (caused by chronic pancreatic inflammation). Symptoms of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) include diarrhea, a poor hair coat due to malnutrition, and a voracious appetite in the face of weight loss. Treatment for EPI requires lifelong oral supplementation with pancreatic enzymes to facilitate digestion and absorption of food.