This blog post highlights the experience of a WonderLabs customer and her puppy's journey through some of the challenges and up's and down's of identifying and treating exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in her German Shepherd, Lexi. Linda has been gracious enough to share with us her story, including test results after using our PetFactor product with Lexi.
Lexi’s story begins in the fall of 2016. She had just turned 10 months old and was a happy healthy GSD puppy ….. or so we thought.
Discovery Lexi May Have EPI
In the first week of November Lexi suddenly developed a bad case of “cow plop” diarrhea. We tried treating it by adding pure canned pumpkin to her diet but after a few days it became obvious this was not going to work. On November 4th our vet did a fecal flotation, which was negative, and Lexi was started on diarrhea medication. Our vet said we should see improvement in a few days. As we were leaving the clinic she briefly spoke about a condition called EPI. She didn’t go into detail as she felt Lexi’s issue was just simple diarrhea but wanted to give us a head’s up just in case. Lexi was our fourth GSD, we had never heard of this condition before so we did not give it a second thought.
- Week 1 - No improvement on diarrhea meds.
- Week 2 - No improvement on diarrhea meds, loosing weight, started on a digestive Prescription Diet kibble, but continues to loose weight. Has dropped from 65 lbs. to 59 lbs. Have increased food intake with no change in weight gain.
- Week 3 - Lexi continues to loose weight. Vet highly suspicious this is EPI, a full GI blood panel is done to confirm condition. Lab results show Lexi is suffering from EPI and has a “low normal” B12 level with a reading of 175. (The reference range for B12 runs from 150 – 700)
Lexi is started on digestive enzymes (Pank-Aid) and a series B12 injections (one B12 injection every week for the next 4 weeks). Over the next few weeks Lexi’s diarrhea begins to clear up. To help gain back weight Lexi’s food intake is increased from 2x/day to 3x/day.
On December 28th new blood work shows her B12 level has returned to “normal” with a reading of 314, and her weight is slowly coming up. B12 injections are stopped as vet wants to see if Lexi can maintain B12 level without injections.
January 2017 to April 2017
Lexi continues to slowly gain weight and adjustments are made to her diet to help. I decide to put her on a “grain free” diet as recommended on the Epi4Dogs Foundation website.
New blood work done on April 5th show Lexi’s B12 level has again dropped to a “low normal” reading of 215. Vet feels Lexi is still at a good B12 level and wants to see if she can maintain this without anymore injections.
August 2017 – October 2017
New blood work done on August 22nd shows Lexi’s B12 level has dropped significantly and is now at the lowest it has ever been with a below “low normal” reading of 142. Lexi is put on a series of 6 - B12 injections over the next 6 weeks (one injection/week) starting August 29th and ending on October 4th. A final injection is given at a 3-week interval on October 24th to complete the B12 injection series.
New blood work is done on October 31st and shows Lexi’s B12 level has returned to a “normal level” with a reading of 411. Our vet feels it’s now clear Lexi is unable to maintain a good B12 level on her own and the decision is made whereby Lexi should receive regular B12 injections for the rest of her life. Lexi is not quite 2 years old.
I mentioned to my vet about an oral B12 product recommended on the Epi4Dogs Foundation website made by WonderLabs called PET Factor B12 w/Intrinsic Factor in the USA. A decision is made to try the oral B12 product with follow-up blood work on Lexi’s B12 level.
Lexi begins oral supplementation of WonderLabs PET Factor B12 to her diet on November 3rd with no issues. She weighed in at 74 lbs. so was started on the two capsules/day regime. One capsule in the AM and one capsule in the PM. It was not necessary to open capsules and sprinkle on food, we gave them to her whole mixed in her dog food which is kibble mixed with a few spoonfuls of canned food and warm water. It is important to note that the capsules are not added until after the 20 minute activation period of Pank-Aid (digestive enzymes) which she requires now for food digestion in every meal. Once the 20 minute digestive enzyme activation period is complete the capsule is stirred in and her meal is served.
It is recommended by the Epi4Dogs Foundation that B12 should be maintained at a “high normal” level in EPI dogs. On February 6th new blood work was done on Lexi. Not only did Lexi meet this “high normal” B12 level but she surpassed it with a reading of 729.
Our vet was thrilled with this reading and stated that any excess B12 above the required level is naturally peed out in urine. Since Lexi had improved so much our vet suggested lowering the dosage by alternating the 2 pill/day dosage with a 1 pill/day dosage every other day.
Lexi's EPI Journey Summary
Lexi’s lab results speak for themselves and prove the effectiveness of WonderLabs oral B12 canine supplement on a scientific level. Liquid B12 injections have helped to improve Lexi’s B12 levels from “low normal” to “normal” readings since her diagnosis in November 2016. It wasn’t until the introduction of WonderLabs oral PET Factor B12 w/Intrinsic Factor to her diet in November 2017 that she was able to reach the “high normal” B12 level recommended by the Epi4Dogs Foundation.
I would like to thank WonderLabs for making a great product and highly recommend it to owners of EPI dogs.
Lexi’s owner - Linda Cronk