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Discussion Starter #1
...will it hurt her?

If I think she has EPI based on her symptoms (eating alot, pooping alot, yet getting skinny) and yet she doesn't, will giving her the extra enzymes for processing her food (which is a fix for EPI), will it hurt her?

I am not sure I can persuade my vet to let me try so I am asking. He seems fairly open to suggestions though.

I have another current thread too.

My boxer has been possibly (but not confirmed) diagnosed with liver cancer.

But yet she eats and eats to the point that she eats TWICE the recommended amount of food (Fresh Pet Select or Vital) a day, and then "poops." Her stools are slightly yellow but still nicely formed.

And she is very skinny.

So, if I want to rule out the possibility that she has EPI by giving her the enzymes will it hurt her? I know they are not cheap, but within a month I would know if the problem is "only" EPI.

I just cannot sit here and assume without ruling out the possibility.

Cancer symptoms don't seem to include extreme hunger.

Having asked all that, today she seems to have stomach pain and is eating less. I think it is because she had some snacks yesterday. I know...she should not have had them. Otherwise, we have entered a new phase of whatever she has. Time will tell.
 

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This is a really great group, and they can tell you all there is to know about EPI. They also can answer the enzyme question, and give you resources to get it.

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. I will look into it if the need arises.

I did get answers today from the vet. He will do a test to see if she has EPI. However, giving her the enzymes without knowing if she has it would not harm her.

Knowing for certain if she has EPI will be better as opposed to shooting in the dark and using enzymes to fix a problem that may not exist.

I figured it may help someone else if I posted what I have learned thus far. More to follow as I know more.
 

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This might be helpful. I know Mary does lots of research before writing on a health topic. That Dachshund sure looks skinny!

DogAware.com Articles: EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) in Dogs

An Internist prescribed Viokase for a Boxer I had with chronic pancreatitis! The TLI test showed no EPI, but it was given because it's thought it helps some dogs with the symptoms of chronic pancreatitis. For us, we didn't really see much change, and the dog reacted to the "Pork" because of his IBD so we had to discontinue. Sounds worth a try if your vet said so. Our vet gave us a bottle of the Viokase that had been already opened at her practice. It was less expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
She had the blood test today. In a few days, we will either rule it out or find it to be true. If it is EPI (Endocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency), then there may be time for some healing. I am doubtful that there is and am not hopeful that it is EPI.

But I want to have some peace of mind that it is or isn't something fixable, and this is the last possible thing that is. If this is negative, then liver failure, whether by cancer or not, is the most likely diagnosis based on the signs and tests and symptoms.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Unfortunately, it was not. She does not have EPI. This means that she has liver failure and most likely cancer. I haven't confirmed it via a biopsy, but the symptoms point that way. As I type, she lies quietly beside me after eating again. Her stools look normal and she loves to eat. But while she eats over two pounds of food in a day when her amount should be about half of that, she is getting thinner. Her attitude is good and her eyes are perky, but she is weak and walks slowly.

If she wasn't so skinny, then it would be easy to even realize that she is sick.

I am told it is a matter of time. So, we will enjoy each day while dreading what tomorrow will bring.
 

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Sorry to hear this. There's a Yahoo Canine Cancer group that I found very supportive. It's so hard to say goodbye! I wish I'd listened to the gentle suggestions by my vet that it was time. I didn't, and we missed the chance for having him leave this world at home instead of the vet's office. Hug her as much as she'll let you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for your kind words and advice.

Emma passed two weeks ago during the early morning hours. She never showed pain and ate until almost the last day albeit not much.

She simply got weaker and weaker until she could no longer walk. Thankfully, she showed little pain and suffering.

The day before she passed I knew that if she did not go during the night, then I would have to "put her down." As they say, I simply knew it was time. On that last day, the "light went out of her eyes."

We were all able to spend time with her in the last evening, and somewhere around 11 pm, she slipped into a coma. At 2:30 in the morning, I got up and scratched her head as I do if I wake up, and she stretched her paws as she usually did. She never looked at me nor could I tell if she was there beyond that movement. For some reason, I like to think that she knew I gave her that last scratch. When I awoke at 5:30, she was gone.

It was a wonderful almost twelve years. We hit the jackpot with her.

Grief is an interesting thing. One never knows how it will hit you. Since I have been grieving for Emma over the past four months, when she actually was gone, a certain amount of relief was mixed with the grief. Oh, I still cried, and even as I type this, I feel the tears just at the edge. But it was also a relief knowing that it was over for her, and yes, for us.

It was not nor is it easy. She was by far the best dog I have had, and definitely the best my wife and family have had.

We have so many memories, and the house is emptier despite all of the noise from the boys. I look at her corner where her bed was and miss seeing her. I miss seeing her head as she would gaze expectantly out the window at me as I drove into the driveway. I miss her happy run as she would follow me into the backyard. I miss her paw on my leg as she let me know she really, really was starving and needed the tidbit of food in my hand. I miss those eager eyes asking me to do whatever it was that she wanted.

And I simply miss that beautiful dog that somehow knew what I was thinking and what my next move was going to be. And yes, for some reason, I always was able to understand what SHE wanted when she made a whine or bark or simply looked at me a certain way.

Yes, I will look for another boxer to fill the void. I know that the next one will create her own memories and bring joy to our house in her own way, but I also know that Emma will always have a special place in our family and especially in my heart as she looked to me with love and respect as her "master" and trusted that I would do what was best for her. I was always told and finally realized that I was her person. While she loved the rest of the family and certainly was not a one person dog, I was the one she first bonded with and was the one who was with her at the end. I have never felt so close to a dog as I did with her, and I can say that I have very few regrets of how I was able to care for her all of these years.

I always dreaded the day she would leave us, and now that it is past, I can only cherish the memories of the best dog I ever knew. There will be tearful moments for many days and months to come, but I also realize that moving on and bringing a new canine member to our house is what will be best for our family and will honor her memories.
 
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