Monday, August 5, 2013


Ok, where were we? Oh, yes, talking about Mr. Twitty and treating his EPI.. Ideally the way to treat EPI is to mix a powdered pig pancreas product called Pancreazyme into the food at each feeding. Unless you are dealing with a cat, of course. It's not that Twitty didn't like the taste, but it was the texture. You are supposed to wait about 15 minutes or so after mixing to let the enzymes start digesting the food which makes it a tad on the slimy side. Later studies say you don't have to wait, but most of the time he still won't eat it.

I searched and searched everything I could find online about Feline EPI. There isn't much. I finally found a couple of blogs that had suggestions from owners on how they got the Pancreazyme into their cats. One seems to be working for me. I take about a teaspoon of food and mix it with a generous 1/4 teaspoon of Pancreazyme and about a half teaspoon of water to make a gruel or slurry. I load that into a couple of 6 ml. syringes and let it set for 5 or 10 minutes. Then I put Twitty's food on a plate. Right now we are alternating between Natural Balance Duck and Green Pea and Fancy Feast Turkey and Giblets. After the first couple of bites I squirt one syringe of the slurry into his mouth so it will mix in with the food as he eats. About halfway thru the other syringe gets squirted in. It seems to be working fairly well as his stools have firmed up somewhat though not back to normal by any stretch of the imagination.

After a month or so with this routine, Twitty started gaining weight. Several weeks ago he was .4 oz short of 7 lbs. And then he got a bladder infection. The medicine dulled his appetite and down went the scales. He did complete his round of antibiotics and is now eating pretty well for most meals. There's always one he gets picky on. Sometimes I sprinkle some FortiFlora on top. Sometimes I squirt the contents of a couple of Vitamin E caplets on top. I try not to do that too often as I want him to eat the food straight out of the can. The interesting thing is that lately I've been successful a couple of times mixing the Pancreazyme directly into his Fancy Feast and he's eating it. But not always.

I also give Twitty 1/2 a famotidine tablet twice a day to keep the stomach acid from eating up the Pancreazyme before it can do it's job and it seems to be helping keep his stools firmer. You can get the generic version at any drug store at a very reasonable price. Of course check with your vet first. 

I am becoming very much an advocate of getting medications from the online pet pharmacies like 1-800-PETS and Doctors Foster & Smith. I was paying nearly $50 each for about 2 oz. of Pancreazyme from my vet. I found a 12 oz. bottle at Doctors Foster & Smith for about $139. I also order the FortiFlora on Amazon at a much cheaper price than I get at the vet. For those who aren't familiar with FortiFlora, it's a probiotic powder developed specifically for pets. It's great for treating diarrhea and my IBD cat, Barney, benefits from it greatly. And it seems to have a great taste.

Dealing with Feline EPI requires creative solutions. You have to try everything and then go with what works for as long as it works and then try something new. And keep researching. It's so rare among cats that few vets have even treated it before.