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Welcome to our new series from the Wonderful Dr. Barry Baum, Chief of Staff at Center-Sinai Animal Hospital.  If you have a question for our Virtuoso Vet, he'd love to see it.  And he will answer all that he can.  Just use the form that follows below, beneath the column. Please note: If you feel the condition of your pet is critical, Dr. Baum suggests you contact your local vet ASAP!

For previous questions and answers, see the buttons under this week's article.




Dear Dr. Baum --

I have a problem with my 13 month German shepherd.  His diarrhea has been on and off since 4 mo.  3 mo. ago he began losing weight, so I went to a vet.  Blood work and stool tests were normal but x-rays showed that his colon was huge and thick.  He had Albon, Metrodanzanole, and Metoclopramide to be on the safe side.  He eats a hypoallergenic food and has 3 to 4 times the amount of food for his size but will
not put on weight.  He should be 25 lbs more.  He looks very emaciated, but his
coat, energy level, and everything else are normal.  Thank you for any ideas

Warren, MI USA

Dear Stephanie --

There is a good chance that your dog has a digestive enzyme deficiency.  The pancreas produces enzymes which are important in the breakdown of proteins, starches and fats.  Failure to adequately produce and excrete these substances leads to a situation in which the nutrition provided by the food cannot be absorbed through the intestinal wall thus resulting in severe diarrhea.  This dog is literally starving because the nutrients contained in the food are really not available to his body. 

The condition is readily detected with non invasive blood tests like pancreatic TLI which measures the levels of the pancreatic enzyme Trypsin.  But, what is even better, is that the condition can be successfully treated by premixing the food with a medication named Vio-Kase.  This product pre-digests the food through its enzymatic activity, thus rendering the nutrients absorbable. 

This condition is especially common in German Shepherds.  Please let me know how this case turns out.


To find out what others have asked, click our Critter Query archives button:

Do you have a question for our Virtuoso Vet?  Just use the form below. Dr. Baum will answer as many of your questions as possible.  For Your Pet's Health: Please contact your local vet if you feel your pet is having an emergency to insure getting attention in time to meet his/her needs.

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If you are lucky enough to live in Los Angeles when you need a really good vet, you can call
 to set up an appointment with Dr. Baum or another of the highly skilled staff at
Center-Sinai Veterinary Hospital.  The number is 310-559-3770.

Check out the new site! Your questions and answers appear there, with a link on our site, too, and more pet care information and special features! Just close the window after visiting, or hit your browser's back button to return to InasPawprints.

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