Feline Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a disorder in which the pancreas does not produce an adequate amount of digestive enzymes. This deficiency results in maldigestion (poor digestion) and malabsorption (poor absorption). EPI is rare in cats.
EPI is seen most commonly in older cats secondary to chronic pancreatitis (pancreatic inflammation).
What to Watch For
Diagnosis of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in Cats
Veterinary care includes diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations. Diagnostic tests are needed to identify EPI and exclude other diseases. Your veterinarian will take a complete history and perform a thorough physical examination. A thorough knowledge of the history and clinical signs is very important in the diagnosis of EPI. Tests may include:
Treatment of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in Cats
Cats with EPI generally feel well and are otherwise healthy. Treatment often is administered on an outpatient basis and may include one or more of the following:
Home Care and Prevention
Administer any medications that your veterinarian has prescribed. Feed your cat as directed by your veterinarian. Watch your cat carefully for resolution of symptoms, especially resolution of diarrhea and gain in body weight. Contact your veterinarian if improvement is not observed over the first few weeks.
The cause of pancreatic acinar atrophy is unknown and this cause of EPI cannot be prevented. Diets high in fat can predispose pets to pancreatitis. Thus, feed your pet a diet low or moderate in fat content and avoid feeding high fat table scraps.