If you do a bit of reading on the internet, you will find that there is really very little scientific knowledge on coprophagia. Sometimes there appear to be health reasons for the behavior. These situations are relatively rare, and to be sure, there are many perfectly healthy dogs that eat poop. However, it is always a good idea to get your dog checked out prior to starting any treatment for coprophagia.
So, what are the possible medical conditions that may sometimes cause coprophagia?
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency: EPI is brought about by a malfunctioning pancreas that is not creating enough digestive enzymes. This malfunction in the pancreas is due to a progressive loss of cells, usual caused by something called a pancreatic acinar atrophy. This atrophy can be the result of simple genetics, a blocked pancreatic duct or past infections. Symptoms of EPI don’t usually present until the pancreas loses 80-90% of it’s enzyme production. German Shepards are the most commonly afflicted breed for this condition.
- Pancreatitis: This is an inflamation of the pancreas that can be caused by any number of factors. Infections, metabolic disorders, high amounts of lipid or calcium in the bloodstream trauma, certain medications, and obesity are all possibilities. Middle aged dogs are most susceptible, with Yorkshire Terriers and Schnauzers being the most commonly affected breeds.
- Intestinal infections: Infections can happen for any number of reasons, but parasites are usually the culprit with dogs. All breeds are susceptible.
- Malabsorptive syndromes: The exact cause of this disorder is unknown, but there is speculation that it may be related to allergies to the proteins in certain cereal grains. In some cases, causes may also be a result of abnormal lymph drainage of the intestine.
Please keep in mind that I am not a veterinarian and this is in no way meant to be medical advice. If your dog has coprophagia, get advice from your vet!
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