Canine Megaesophagus

 We are so glad you've found us!  You're probably worried, scared, and feeling slightly hopeless after your dog's diagnosis -- Don't Be Discouraged!  It CAN get better!

CanineMegaesophagusInfo.com is your one-stop destination for:

  • Information (We're all experienced with the condition, so we know how it works!)
  • Management Tips (Chairs, Food, Treats!)
  • Recommended Veterinarians (We know they're good because we use them!)
  • Awareness Events (Let's get ME off the "rare" list!)
  • Support (Who better than ME parents to laugh, and cry with you throughout your journey!?)  

Welcome to our family -- Welcome to our crazy ME world -- Let us help your dog live a long and healthy life with Megaesophagus  ♥

*DISCLAIMER* We are NOT veterinarians, and we are NOT speaking on behalf of any companies or others.  We ARE a community of pet parents with ME/MG dogs.  The information contained on this website is not meant to diagnose, treat, or take the place of advice from your vet.  Utilize this information at your own risk. - Thank you*

 

What is Megaesophagus?

Megaesophagus (ME) is basically a "floppy" esophagus. The esophagus is a tube connecting the mouth to the stomach. A normal esophagus moves food to the stomach with wave-like contractions called peristalsis. An ME dog's esophagus loses its muscle tone, becomes enlarged, and can develop pockets where food can become trapped. Since the esophagus does not function normally, food sits in the esophagus and doesn't make its way to the stomach. This can cause malnutrition and regurgitation of vast amounts of undigested materials.
ME can be idiopathic (no known cause), or a result of a secondary disease. The most common secondary diseases causing ME are Persistent Right Aortic Arch (PRAA), which is most commonly seen in puppies and can sometimes be successfully treated with surgery, and Myasthenia Gravis (MG), which is a neuromuscular condition that can be treated with medication. Please see the links on our homepage for more information about PRAA and MG.
One of the main symptoms of Megaesophagus is regurgitation. Regurgitation is different than vomiting. When a dog regurgitates, it does not usually require much effort from the dog, and the food comes out looking a lot like it went in (undigested), sometimes in a tube shape (like the esophagus). When a dog vomits, there's a lot of effort involved. A vomiting dog will exhibit a heaving motion (the ribcage and stomach will rapidly contract multiple times) before partially or totally digested food and/or bile is expelled. A dog will also lick his lips often prior to vomiting (this is a sign of nausea). It is important to know whether your dog is regurgitating or vomiting, as it aids in diagnosis. Often, a vet will not even consider ME if he or she is told that a dog is "vomiting."
When a dog regurgitates, some of the regurgitated material (food, water, saliva) can be inhaled into his lungs. Inhalation of foreign material into the lungs can cause another, more dangerous, symptom of Megaesophagus, Aspiration Pneumonia (AP). It is imperative that your dog be seen right away by your vet if you suspect AP. In some cases, a bout with AP is the trigger for an ME diagnosis.
Common symptoms of aspiration pneumonia in dogs include trouble breathing (heavy panting without strenuous exercise), shuddering/shaking/shivering, lack of appetite (not drinking water or eating), lack of activity (not playing), and fever. Not all of these symptoms may be present at the same time if your dog has AP. Again, if you suspect your dog has inhaled material into his or her lungs, it is our recommendation that you seek veterinary treatment.
The most common method of diagnosis for Canine Megaesophagus is an x-ray (radiograph). Since an enlarged esophagus can be difficult to see on an x-ray, often a Barium Swallow will be done. In a Barium Swallow, the dog is fed a contrast material that makes the esophagus stand out on an x-ray. This contrast material is used regularly in humans to provide clearer x-rays.

With proper management, ME dogs can live long and healthy lives!

The most important management technique for ME is Vertical Feeding.  Since the esophagus isn't working correctly in an ME dog, gravity is needed to get food to the stomach.
# 1 Feed your Dog Upright - You can use a “Bailey Chair," a high chair, a laundry basket, ANYTHING that keeps your pup vertical!  After each feeding, have your dog remain upright in the chair for at least 10 minutes.  Some dogs may need more time upright than others -- this part is trial and error.

*Please check out the Bailey Chairs 4 Dogs link here or on our homepage to purchase a chair, request a chair donation, or even get plans to make your own MegaE chair!*


# 2 Food Consistency- Yet another area that requires some trial and error.  Some dogs do well with a slurry or milkshake consistency.  Some dogs thrive on soaked kibble (water or broth overnight to make into a "mush"), and some dogs do better with food shaped into little meatballs (be sure that they are small enough so that your dog can swallow them--chewing negates the benefits of the meatball shape).
Many ME dogs do not do well with water, so water is added to their food (in addition to the softer easy-to-swallow consistency of softened food, it's a great way to incorporate water into your pup's diet).  Dogs that eat meatballs can get their water with something called Knox Blocks -- basically jigglers for your pup!  *See Recipes under link on homepage* Other dogs may do well with a large hamster style bottle mounted high enough to keep the throat in an elevated position.
There are several recipes you can try to add nutrition and weight to your dog, like “satin balls,” or you can try adding coconut milk or “Ensure” to their food.   Please continue to check the Recipes link for new concoctions!

What works for one dog may not work for another, so keep track of what you try so that you can find what works best!  


# 3 Smaller more frequent meals. Some dogs can eat twice a day while others may tolerate smaller, more frequent meals better.  Say it with us, "this requires trial and error!"

Don't get discouraged and don't give up -- you'll find something that works!


# 4 Try a “Pro Collar” or “Neck Hug”.  These devices help to elevate your dog's head while reclining.  Keeping your dog's head elevated helps keep any food that's still in the esophagus, or saliva (face it, that's always there), from being regurged.  Some dogs take a while to get used to this large fluffy collar -- This elevates your dog’s head off the floor when they are laying down.   You can find inflatable Pro Collars at Petsmart or Petco.  The Neck Hug from Wag Tail Farms is a stuffed elizabethan collar.

Please check out the Wag Tail Farms website here or via the link on our homepage!


# 5 Try medications - Antacids, like famotidine or omeprazole can to help to control stomach acid. Your vet may also prescribe a motility drug.  One more time, "this requires trial and error!"

Each dog is different, so don't be afraid to try new things! Don't give up!

 Bully shows us how it's done! Click Here to see Bully eat!

Listed here are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs associated with Canine Megaesophagus.

Not all ME dogs take the medications listed below - trial and error (and the advice of your vet) will help you to find what works best.


Antacids The sphincter between the esophagus and stomach in ME dogs does not work properly and often allows acidic stomach fluids to reflux (leak back) in the esophagus. Acid can cause burning and ulcers and lead to esophagitis. Here are some common antacids that your vet may prescribe:

  • (esomeprazole magnesium)
  • (famotidine)
  • (omeprazole)
  • (cimetidine)
  • (ranitidine )
Antibiotics to treat AP (Aspiration Pneumonia) It is very important to recognize the signs of AP and act on it right away. If your dog shows signs of being lethargic, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, increased respiration rate, fever, off of their food or water, incessant panting it’s best to get them in for x-rays.
Many times a vet cannot tell just by listening on their stethoscope. Your vet may take two x-rays of the lungs –one with the dog on its stomach or back, and one with the dog lying on its side.
Often, two antibiotics will be prescribed for 2-6 weeks, consisting of a broad -spectrum antibiotic, like Enrofloxacin, along with one other. If a dog has chronic or recurring AP, the drugs can be administered through a Nebulizer to avoid taking orally.
*Each of these meds has side effects that may or may not impact your pup. Clavamox, for example, can cause nausea, loss of appetite, or vomiting. You will need to monitor your pup while taking this medication for any complications.
  • (enroflaxacin)
  • (Clavamox)
  • (cephalexin)
(azithromycin)
Esophagitis Prevention/Treatment
(sulcralfate)- is an anti-ulcer medication used in the treatment of ulcers of the esophagus, stomach , or small intestines. Give orally on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after feeding or giving other medications). It is best to crush them and mix with water (can be given with a syringe), so the medication is better absorbed.
(maropitant) - Severe Esophagitis can cause nausea. This is an anti-emetics drug that really works!
(neurontin) – Esophagitis can be painful for your pup, causing him to avoid eating. This is a medication that helps manage your pup's pain.
Slippery Elm
Slippery Elm is an herbal treatment prepared from the inner bark of the Slippery or Red Elm Tree. The term “slippery” refers to the remarkable sticky gel that is formed when the powdered bark comes in contact with water. It is a protector and lubricator for pets with gastrointestinal disease and esophageal diseases. It is very soothing to the esophagus.
Recipe for Slippery Elm Soup can be found here
(Tramadol) - Pain medication that is used often for pain management associated with many illnesses/injuries in dogs.
(ondanestron) - anti-emetics for nausea caused by severe Esophagitis
Pro-Motility Drugs
Pro-motility drugs help open up the sphincter between the stomach and small intestines, allowing stomach contents to more quickly enter the small intestines, so that it is less likely to reflux back up into the esophagus.
(Propulsid )- helps with reflux –give 15-30 minutes to an hour prior to eating
(metoclopromide)- helps empty the stomach – give 15-30 minutes to an hour prior to eating
(Bethanechol)- increases the speed of rhythmic contractions in esophageal muscle
Note: Again, some dogs do not require drugs to manage ME, though most are on some sort of antacid. Some have had success with the pro-motility drugs and others have not. Keep trying until you find what works for your pup!
*Any and all medications and dosages should be regulated by your veterinarian.*

Reno's Satin Balls Recipe

5lbs ground beef
6.5 cups of a corn flake cereal
7.5 cups of quick oats
5 raw eggs with shell
2 cups organic wheat germ
5 packs of unflavored gelatin
1.5 cups vegetable oil
2/3 cup of molasses
2 tablespoons of elk velvet powder
6 tablespoons of powdered puppy milk
4 tablespoons of cranberry powder 

Mix together raw, and shape into meatballs that are the appropriate size so your dog can swallow without chewing.  Separate meatballs into meal sizes and store in freezer bags. Feed in upright position.   Recipe courtesy of  Reno's Mom, Chrissy Wilson.

 

Reno
Reno

Megaesophagus is NOT a death sentence! 

There is a frustrating lack of information accessible to pet parents given the Megaesophagus diagnosis;  it often seems as if there's no hope.  Our group,  pet parents living with ME dogs (congenital, idiopathic, Myasthenia Gravis - young and old) and a family who have been inspired by an ME story, have decided that it's time to dispel the myth that ME is a death sentence.  

Member Recommended Vets and Specialists

This list is made up of veterinarians and specialists recommended by members of the ME/MG community.  This list is only a starting point - please choose your vet based upon your own criteria.  

There are many knowledgeable vets that are not included in this list... YET!

Please send us your recommendations!

 Click Here For Recommended Vets and Specialists

 

Savannah in Chair

 

 

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!  (Before & After Pics!) 

 

MEatball!  MEatball Before and After

 

 

Foster!  Foster Dog Before and AfterFoster's After!

 

 

 

Shiloh!  Shiloh BeforeShiloh After!

 

Bully! Bully's weight gain

 

Reno! Reno before and after

Kris Long

Mom to ME dog, Shade.

"I've had Shade since she was a puppy. She was fine her first year. The older she got, the worse her regurge got. I had been in and out of the vet for years trying to figure out what was wrong, and they just gave her Pepcid and told me to feed her sensitive stomach food. No X-rays or other tests. I finally got a diagnosis a month and a half ago when I insisted on a better answer- clearly it wasn't just a case of food sensitivity or acid reflux. I had never even heard of ME, so I didn't know to ask about it. It amazes (and irritates) me that it took YEARS for vets to figure out what was wrong [...] It took 4 years to get an accurate diagnosis."

How to give subcutaneous fluids

Carter

 

Click here for Carter's Story

 

Carter's Story ♥

Carter is a Boxer/St. Barnard mix.

We call him a Boxnard.

Until 2013, he was a perfectly healthy 140+ pound lover boy.  Around April 2013, he began regurgitating everything he ate and drank. Our vet started treating him for acid re-flux, but nothing seemed to be working.  

We watched as he dropped in weight to just under 100 lbs.  

We were afraid we were going to lose him.

On Memorial Day weekend he developed aspiration pneumonia.  We took him to a pet ER and we were promptly sent to MedVet Animal and Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. 

It was there that he was properly diagnosed with hypothyrodism. 

Once we got him back home it took a bit to get his meds and food regimen squared away, but he just couldn't handle any liquids.  We tried it all: ice chips, ensure, thickening agents, gelatin blocks - you name it, we tried it. 

I would even make him an Elvis smoothie.

Anything with even the slightest amount of liquid would be promptly regurgitated.  We would end up in the vet's office 3 times a week getting our boy re-hydrated.  

Our vet finally told us we could give him fluids at home.  He instructed us how to do it and my husband does it every evening.

We want to share it so that you can see that it isn't as scary as it sounds.  

We feel very blessed to still have our boy with us.  While he may never achieve his 140+ pre-diagnosis weight, I am happy to say that at his last vet visit he weighed 127lbs.

Since Carter was diagnosed, our vet has been amazing.  He apologized over and over for months of misdiagnosis.  Carter is his first ME patient (he did have a mega-colon cat, though).  Our vet has become our champion. 

*Sweet Carter lost his battle in 2014.  His spirit lives on in his story and video -- helping others manage and thrive with ME.

Your dog CAN live a long and healthy life!

A ME pamphlet to SHARE with your vet and others!

302 thoughts on “Canine Megaesophagus

  1. We were diagnosed about three weeks ago with idio ME. Tanks an English Bulldog 10 yrs old,still upchucking using cisapride but just read a review saying don’t use it, had been using pepcid also but that didn’t seem to help. so stopped but continued with cisapride. We mix aslurry with p.n. butter, pumpkin, and canned prescription dog food. also high protein plain yogurt and water, and rice and baby cream of wheat. Some days he’ll make it a whole day and not upchuck and others he’ll start in real quick. Have been using bailey chair from start. He doesn’t mind getting fed in it but gets fed up real quick with the 20 min wait afterwards. Has lost a good 20 lbs from start.

    1. It is a tough disease to navigate through for sure. Cisapride was taken off the market for human consumption some years ago but remains safe for animals. It is widely used and as far as I know the risk is minimal for any serious side effects. So if it’s working for your dog there isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t feel comfortable giving it to him. Was Tank tested for an underlying disease that may have caused his sudden megaesophagus? Dogs that suddenly come down with ME should be tested for a few common diseases such as Myasthenia Gravis, Addison disease and hypothyroidism. Sometimes, especially in the case of MG, once the primary disease is treated the megae can resolve or at least be easier to manage. Hang in there. It sounds like you are doing an awesome job. A neck hug also really helps. See the tab on our website wagtailfarms.com.

  2. Our 13-year-old terrier was just diagnosed with myasthenia gravis (MG) and her chest x-ray showed the beginnings of megaesophagus (ME). I don’t think the ME is a big problem just yet (and I don’t know how quickly it will get worse), but we’re trying to change feeding behaviors as we’ve been told that the MG can lead to the ME.

    Because she has arthritis in her back end and had a lot of weakness with the MG (some strength coming back with meds, thank goodness), we’re trying to find a feeding position which her back end would be strong enough to handle. At the moment one person sits on the floor with her between his legs in a 45-degree sitting position and the other feeds meatballs from a kneeling position slightly above her over a 3-5 minute period, then we try to keep her sitting there 15+ minutes afterward. I don’t think she could handle a bailey chair right now, but I also don’t know if this is doing any good.

    Other questions:
    – What about treats? A big part of her day has traditionally been getting treats. She often gets small, hard Fruitables biscuits, but she has to chew these and normally gets them when standing w/o time sitting up after. Should we just stop all treats? If she’s eating three times a day, does she really not need anything more? (She would, I’m sure say, yes, treats are needed.) I saw recipes for the knox blocks…how do you feed those?
    – What about water? Can she just drink out of an elevated bowl as always? Should we offer it with or after her meal, or just let her get it when she wants? She is still early with the ME. Is there a point where water may need to be taken away?
    – How are the meatballs made? Do you want to get rid of all chunks in dry and canned food in meatballs? Do you try to add a little extra water here?
    – How slowly do you feed meatballs? Right now I’m trying to take a little time in between each one, but I’m still done feeding in 3-5 minutes.
    – What about meds? I’ve traditionally given her a little piece of sliced turkey, popped the med at the back of her tongue, then given her a little more sliced turkey (small pieces). I don’t know if I can keeping doing this if she’s in a standing position or if I need to start trying to put them in a meatball…she’s historically been really good at pulling meds out of anything they’re hidden in.

    Thank you so much for any questions you can answer, any insight you can give. Just trying to get my brain around all this new information I’d never even heard of two days ago!

    1. Hi Shannon. It is a common problem with an older dog that suddenly comes down with MG and ME. Some do not adjust to the bailey chair because they are arthritic or your right, the weakness from the MG makes it difficult to sit up. If she is holding down her food the way you are doing it, she maybe okay. If she starts to regurgitate her food you will need to find a more upright solution. Some people have their dog sit on the couch and either sit backwards so their body is facing the back of the couch and then place their paws over the back of the couch. Some have sat their dog on the couch with their body draped over the arm of the couch. You can support their body to make it more upright with pillows. I think the meatballs are a good feeding method right now. Treats- Yes she can have treats. Just not hard treats or large treats. Some do really well with Gerber baby Puff or Gerber yogurt melts. Think baby when you deal with this disease. Knox blocks are a great way to stay hydrated and they usually like the taste of them too. You can use many things to mix the gelatin with. Some use water and honey, others have used coconut water or milk, pedialyte, or chicken or beef broth. You can also try “thick-it”. Its a powder solution you add to their water to thicken up their water. You can find it in your local drug store. Its made for humans that have suffered a stroke or swallowing disorders. To make meatballs you can use a pate like canned dog food (not to many chunks) stick them in the frig first so it will be easier to form. There are also recipes on the recipe file you can try for homemade meatballs. Teddy’s are good! Meds- you can give them in some cream cheese or butter and the small pieces of turkey maybe okay. Hopefully the ME will remain mild and resolve once the MG goes into remission. That really does happen sometimes! Best of luck!

    2. I empathize with your situation. My 12 year old male lab was recently diagnosed with ME. Waiting on further test results for underlying conditions. He lost 10 lbs. Within 48 hours I’ve trained my lab to step up onto the lower step of a wide two step ladder. The top step hold a “slow feeding” bowl that I Velcro into place. Easily removable for cleaning. I use a round slow feeding bowl to feed water. 1/4 cup at a time. Feeding low fat high protein and fiber canned food. Scooping 1/2 can at a time with a melon ball scooper. Also giving probiotics ever day (Honest Kitchen dehydrated goats milk) and starting acupuncture. Before this routine Jack was vomiting 6 to 8 x per day. Worse at night. Since the ladder training, he hasn’t vomitted once. Back to gaining weight and regaining energy.Jack also had difficulty sitting upright. At 75lbs he is difficult to hold up. For now this is working.

  3. Hi there,
    We have an 8year old blue heeler that has been verbally diagnosed having ME but we are still officially waiting on the results. For the mean time I am really struggling with the amount of drool, snot and foam she seems to be bring up. It’s been a week now with every night only a few hours sleep as we are up with her. It’s also the struggle of listening to her what sounds like she’s struggling to breathe. It’s only day 1 now of being back from the vet and now knowing how we have to feed her. It’s hard to watch our poor baby go through this. A week ago she was fine, now this. At the moment she’s having no good quality of life. Does the drool, snot and foam get any better?

    1. Hi Kimberley,
      Be sure to have your girl tested for an underlying disease such a myasthenia gravis, hypothyroidism and Addison Disease. All are simple blood tests. Particularly MG. That tends to come on suddenly like that and they usually drool quite a bit with that. Please try a neck hug for her for overnight or when she is lying down. This will help keep her head elevated so saliva doesn’t pool in the esophagus and cause more regurgitation. You can buy one at Wagtail farms (see the link at the top of our page or from the menu bar) Or petsmart, petco sells pro-collars or Kong makes a “Cloud” collar. Along with a bailey chair to keep her upright while eating, the neck hug is an essential tool in managing ME. You might also ask your vet about giving your girl an antacid. This may reduce the acid reflux she may be encountering. Carafate/ Sulcrafate is also a common drug vets will prescribe if the esophagus is inflamed or irritated (esophagitis). The body will naturally produce more phlegm when the esophagus is irritate to help soothe it. I hope she has had a better week this week. <3

  4. Hi there. I am sorry I am not on Facebook so I am writing here. We have a 10 year old Dobe, Volker. He has had ME for about 9 months. He originally only had problems with water and only rarely with food. However since a terrible bout of pneumonia which saw him collapse and hospitalized for 5 days, he now also is having serious problems keeping his food down. When it comes back up it is not at all digested so I know it was sitting in his oesophagus. We had be feeding him a specialist loaf while elevated and keeping him upright for 3-10 minutes (experimenting), which was working fine til suddenly it wasn’t He has now gotten his second bout of pneumonia and is back on an IV at the vet. I am terrified he won’t be able to digest oral antibiotics and we will lose him. Have you seen this kind of change before and do you have any thoughts about such a change and the antibiotics issue?

    1. Hi Fionn,
      Sometimes what has worked for awhile suddenly stops working and you have to switch gears. He may need to eat completely upright now. Not with just elevated. You may now need to keep him upright for a longer period of time after meals. You can try gently massaging the throat to help the food pass by any pockets that may have formed in the esophagus. You may also need to change up the consistency of the food. If you are feeding a slurry, try small meatballs. Check out our recipe file for more ideas. Antibiotics can be injected instead of given orally. If he is having trouble with pills, you could have them compounded into a liquid. There is a lot of trial and error with this disease. Sometimes as the disease progresses the esophagus becomes larger and loses tone. Changing your methods sometimes helps with this. Best of luck!

  5. Hi. We have an 8week old staffie, which was diagnosed with ME on Friday. We grind his food very fine and mix with a bit of water and Montego steak sauce, to make it easier for him to digest. We then give him a tablespoon every 15-30 minutes. Any other suggestions to make life a bit easier for the little guy.

    1. Hi Angelique,
      I’m not familiar with the steak sauce but be sure it doesn’t have things in it that dogs shouldn’t have like onion and garlic. Be sure to feed him in an upright position and keep him upright for 15-20 minutes- some need shorter hold time, some longer. Elevating his head at night is also a good thing to do. It cuts down on the gagging of saliva that occurs when the dog is laying down. You can achieve that by buying an neck hug from wagtailfarms.com or you might want to use something less expensive until he’s done growing like an airplane pillow or there are several blow up types you can use like the Pro Collar, Kong Air Pillow etc.. You are right on with the small more frequent feedings. Please feel free to join the facebook groups for more ideas!

  6. Hi my name is Sharon and my 12 year old whippet was diagnosed with ME about 10 months ago. Her diet is royal canin canned white fish which I feed her with a spoon while she is sitting and I am standing over her. I add about a teaspoon of Thick it to it and about a tablespoon of water and stir it up. She gets a half a can of food 3 times a day. She is 22 lbs but a year ago she was 30 lbs. the only time she throws up is when she has eaten poop. She acts like she is starving all the time and tries to show to steal food constantly. I would like help understanding why she does not seem able to gain weight since the food should be getting to her stomach. She has been tested for the other diseases associated with ME and doesn’t have any of them. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Sharon,
      It seems to be a common problem keeping weight on these dogs. Some have had to go to supplements like Nutri-Cal or Dyne to keep the weight regulated. Some have had good luck with Goat’s Milk. Anything you add to the diet, add it slowly and one new thing at a time. The food seems to travel through the digestive system quite rapidly. Perhaps because it is a fast drop from mouth to stomach. If metoclopramide (reglan) is added that helps the food move even quicker out of the stomach and into the intestines. The dog may not have the sensation of actually eating and may feel hungry. That is just a theory. I’m not sure if there are any facts to back that up. Many people have comment on that issue though in our facebook groups. Feel free to join. Thank you for your comment and good luck!

      1. Hi,

        Im here for advice basically at this point i have no diagnosis the one vet ive seen so far will not even test for ME because he doesnt believe me. I will be seeking a second opinion on Monday, but until then I need some maybe answers. so, heres the story…
        I picked up a 4 month old French Bulldog from the breeder a week ago. He threw up 5 times on the 2 hour trip home (ALOT of undigested food) i texted the breeder his response basically being “motion sickness.” So here we are a week out of the car and he is still vomiting/regurgitating after every meal and any type of activity, last night the food came back up faster than it went down, but that is his only symptom. He is a normal weight, has a normal amount of poop, most of his regurgitation occurs with a slight heave, but no sound, and mostly liquid with the occasional pieces of undigested food.

        Does this sound like possible ME to you?

        1. Hi Taylor,
          That does sound like Megaesophagus. We see many french bulldogs on our page with it. An xray of the esophagus should bear it out. Please join the facebook groups for more support and ideas on how to manage the disease once you get the diagnosis. It can be managed and they can enjoy a good life. Best of luck!

  7. Hi. My 12 year old Westie has just started throwing up seconds after eating or drinking water. Max can keep only 1 teaspoon down at a time every two hours. I have not heard of ME and we are just starting all of the testing. He was a perfectly healthy dog before this. Does any of this sound familiar? I want to be proactive. My vet has been wonderful in pursuing this.

    1. Hi Joan,
      Many times there is a primary disease that is behind the megaesophagus diagnosis. In about 25% of the time a disease called Myasthenia Gravis is the cause. It does come on suddenly and often times it is passed over if the dog is not experiencing other classic clinical signs like hind leg weakness. However, symptoms do vary and a dog can have focal MG where as only one group of muscles are effected. They see this more often with dogs with megaesophagus. The hypothyroidism can also called this kind of weakness as well as Addison disease. Check the document Why ME? for more clues. The good news is if there is a primary disease that can be treated many times the disease will go into remission or at least be easier to manage. The other good news is even if it is deemed idiopathic (no known cause) your dog can live a good life with the properly management tools in place. Best of luck Joan with your Westie!

  8. Hi there
    I have an 8 year old St Bernard that has just been diagnosed with ME. I feed her chicken balls i have made with rice, mashed veg and chicken. She seems to be doing ok on them. I feed them very slowly to her and keep her upright for about 15 to 20 minutes.
    The past 2 days she has been having a rough time with water. I keep her upright, and give it to her from a height. It seems to be taking so much longer to stay down than her food. She has also started bringing up slimy mucus for quite a while after her water. I bought a tin of thickener, in the hope that it will help. Didn’t seem to do anything. Now I’ve made up water jello, hoping that helps?
    I’m so stressed, can anyone give me any ideas for my girl.
    We are due to travel to germany to live tomorrow night and i can’t bear to leave her.

    1. I’m so sorry Wendy. I read your post on Upright. She was a beautiful dog and so loved. Saying goodbye is the hardest part of being a pet parent. Sending love.

  9. just ordered a bailey chair for my 6 yr. old brindle boxer. i am very intrerested in feeding preparations for her. recipes will be greatly appreciated. thanks for any help.
    mike

    1. Hi Mike,
      Finding the right concoction to feed is always trial and error. Some do well with a slurry or a milkshake consistency. You can achieve that by taking canned dog food and blending in a blender with water. Choose a canned food that is more of a pate form rather than one with large chunks. Some spoon feed their dogs and others just feed the slurry out of regular bowl or you could try a “slow bowl feeder” to help them slow their eating down. Other do well with a meatball consistency. Form small meatballs out of refrigerated canned food (easier to ball and roll if its cold) There are several recipes you can try. Teddy’s recipe is a popular one from our recipe tab. Make sure your boxer is checked for underlying causes such as Myasthenia Gravis, hypothyroidism and Addison Disease. More on the tab “Why M.E.?” Best of luck with your boxer!

    2. My 6 yr old boxer, Finnegan, was just diagnosed yesterday. I am overwhelmed by the prospect of hand-feeding him 3-4 times a day and holding him upright for 20 minutes post-feeding. As a busy working mom, I don’t know how I’ll find time to do this. I love him dearly, but I need easy suggestions that will make this do-able for me!!!

      1. Hi Shari,
        The use of a bailey chair is going to help a great deal. The bailey chair frees your hands up so you can go about your business in the house without having to hold him up. You maybe able to get away with feeding twice a day, many do that work full time jobs. You could also enlist a friend or family member to do one of the mid day feedings. Feeding itself doesn’t take so much time. It is the wait time afterwards. You can pre-make your food ahead of time. Some will make a whole batch of food a week in advance and freeze it. Then you simply take what you need out a day ahead a place it in your refrigerator to thaw or nuke it! Many more really good ideas in our facebook groups. Please feel free to join!

  10. Hello, i am having trouble with my Sassy. We adopted her in December and based on my diagnosis, she may have ME. it seems that i wasnt getting the attention from her vet to which i felt i was entitled, until today. i insisted on an endoscopy, scheduled it and i brought her in this morning. Instead, they started listening to me and are doing ultrasounds, x-rays, barium test and something else. They want to hold off on endoscopy probably because it involves general anesthesia. My question to all of you is this: In your experience with ME, does your dog have intermittent bouts with it, or is it a constant problem. Sassy’s is intermittent. i can now read her when she is going to have a bout with it and i stay very intune with her needs as far as water and food is concerned. I do feed her a slurry about 6 times a day, hold her upright for 15 minutes each time. i do this every day because i dont want to take any chances. I fear that she will aspirate the regurgitated food and i hate seeing her suffer and the panic that goes with it when she cant catch her breath and gasp for air. it’s horrible! i’d love to hear from anyone. Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie,
      When ME is managed well- right consistency of food and upright feeding, a dog may not regurgitate at all anymore. A simple xray of the esophagus usually is all that is needed to diagnose MegaE. It is pretty easy to see on an xray. An xray with barium will high light the esophagus. You are wise to continue your feeding protocol until you get a firm diagnosis. Be sure to check Sassy for underlying causes of ME. Check our tab “Why M.E.”. Best of luck with Sassy!

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