A few years ago, just as I was getting serious about stock photography, I noticed something wrong with one of my models… She was literally starving to death. It was sad to see her her body fading away to skin and bones. I wanted to help her, but didn’t know how. I didn’t know what was wrong. Luckily before it was too late, I discovered the answer.
Thanks to the good detective work of Dr. Pasekoff of the Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital and an expensive blood test done only at Texas A&M University, I learned in August 2010 that Nikki had exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). Nikki is our family pet, a Minature Schnauzer. EPI is rare in her breed and relatively unheard of by most pet owner. With EPI, the pancreas looses its’ ability to create an enzyme necessary for digestion. So, in spite of the fact that Nikki was eating huge amounts of food, her body was not digesting it properly and she was literally starting to death.
Once diagnosed, Nikki was prescribed a powdered enzyme to be added to her food. She started gaining weigh back almost immediately and today is a happy, healthy and usually devilish little furry friend. The reason I tell this story is to help raise awareness of the condition, in hopes that no dog dies of EPI like Nikki nearly did.
If you would like to read more about EPI, The New York Times has a blog post on EPI today. The absolute best source of information for me when Nikki was diagnosed was epi4dogs.com. There Olesia Kennedy has created a website filled information where you can find support and resources to help manage your EPI friend.