Species affected: Dogs (occasionally cats)
Background: This problem is especially common in German shepherd dogs, but is occasionally seen in other breeds. When the pancreas is unable to secrete the digestive enzymes (mainly consisting of amylase and lipase) into the common bile duct, malabsorption and indigestion occur.
Symptoms: Excess gas production, loose stool of a light color and clay-like consistency containing noticeable undigested fats, and eventually weight loss and malnutrition.
Diagnostics: May be confirmed by blood testing as well as a fecal trypsin test.
Special Notes: Some of these dogs do better on low carbohydrate diets; some do better on low fat diets. However, many commercial, low fat diets tend to be high in fiber, exacerbating the problem.
Principles for Supplementation: Treatment requires high levels of enzymes; if a particular preparation is ineffective, it is important to try others (with varying proportions of lipases and proteases). Plant source enzymes are usually not as effective as animal source enzymes.