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! 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*


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.  


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

Your dog CAN live a long and healthy life!

328 thoughts on “Canine Megaesophagus

  1. Hi there, My name is Michelle. I rescued a dog a little over a year ago (July 2015) who was completely paralyzed. He was initially diagnosed with ACIP (acute canine idiopathic polyneuritis). He was going fantastic, I was doing physical therapy with him and he began to walk again, and eventually run too!! His biggest issue at the time was that his laryngeal cords were still paralyzed. He would have trouble breathing and panting like a normal dog. It actually sounded like stridor, or a severe asthma attach. Around December he started vomiting, most of the time is seemed (still seems) like he would suck all of that air into his belly and then regurgitate it when he burped. This started to become VERY frequent. I took him to MULTIPLE vets including a very well renowned Veterinary Medical School. He was then diagnosed with ME. He has all the tests done for MG, Addison’s, and hypothyroid too. ALL were negative. No one knows what is wrong with him!?!?!? His breathing is a BIG culprit on his regurgitation. When he breathes good, NO VOMIT … When he is breathing bad … Vomiting 6-15 times a day. There is a procedure called the “tie back” however now with the diagnosis of ME, no one will do it because of aspiration possibilities. I am at a loss, Scooter just keeps losing weight and i fear the worst is coming. He as not QUALITY of life right now. Honestly, I feel like he was much better a year ago when he couldn’t walk. ANY ANY ANY help or advice or vets that may be able to give their thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Thank you for the comment! You are faced with a difficult decision. Because he is regurgitating he is susceptible to aspiration pneumonia. AP is not the end of the world. It can be treated successfully when caught early and treated aggressively. The tie back surgery probably is your best option. While going under anesthesia is avoided as much as possible for ME dogs, they do go under for different reasons like when they are neutered. There are certain precautions that need to be done like tilting the table, removing the tube slowly, giving Reglan ahead of time to empty the stomach and holding upright while coming out of anesthesia. You could go with a gastric feeding tube, bypassing the esophagus all together but that will not help with his breathing and he may still aspirate. There is a vet on the Yahoo group that may be able to help you with this question more than I can. LP comes up quite a bit in our facebook groups and the yahoo group. I suggest you reach out there and to our facebook groups for more information on LP and what can be done. Canine Megaesophagus Support Group and Upright Canine Brigade on facebook. On Yahoo, go to groups, type in Megaesophagus and it should pop right up. Best of luck to you!

  2. hello, my 13 year old smooth fox terrier started regurgitating a month go. 3 doses spaced 8 hours of – 2 cc of carafate was prescribed along with cisapride – 30 minutes after, then wait 30 minutes and offer food along with 5 mg of pepcid and Metronidazole( twice a day). offer multiple small meals. i’ve read the recipes here, and have tried a variety of food combinations – nothing has been that successful. the vet suggested ‘hills i/d’, which Tula will often refuse ( i’ve embellished the canned meat with yogurt, oats, bone broth, nothing has any long term success. Tula has lost almost a 1/3 of her body weight. she has always been a big water drinker and now since her water bowl has been put away she paces constantly looking for water, she will run to the fountain in the back yard jumping to try to reach the water. i give her ice chips to lick in a bowl and she licks the open door of the dishwater when there are water drops there. she urinates every day and has little BM’s not every day – so some food is getting to her stomach. but i’m witnessing my wonderful dog slowly starve.
    i’m at a loss and feel i don’t receive enough support from the vet. the test for MG was negative.

    1. Hi Corinne,

      Sometimes it is the food consistency that makes all the difference. If you are feeding a slurry and that is not working, try making small meatballs and dropping them into her mouth at an elevated position. The idea behind the meatballs is it is heavy enough to drop straight down into the stomach bypassing any pockets that may have formed. They can be made with canned food that is refrigerated (easier to form the ball) you can still add those healthy items you mentioned. You can make them up ahead of time and freeze them also. They should be swallowed whole and not chewed. If she can handle straight water, you can try a hamster style bottle (they make them for dogs as well) attach it high enough so that she has to reach up to take a drink. You can also add “thick-it” to the water to make the water thicker. You can find that in the drug store. You can also try knox blocks or gelatin cubes, the recipes are on the recipe tab. Some additives for weight gain that work are Nutri-cal and Dyne. Coconut oil and coconut milk are also great for putting on weight as well as goats milk. You can buy powdered goats milk in some grocery stores. A lot of success with goats milk and they really like it! Some have had luck with Cocolicious canned dog food. It has coconut oil in it! Others have had success with The Honest Kitchen. There are more ideas on our facebook groups from hundreds of other pet parents! Best of luck!

  3. My 8 year old Pomeranian was diagnosed with ME 4 days ago. Reason we initially took her in was because she had been constantly coughing and regurgitating for a few days. Every since she was diagnosed we have immediately started feeding her upright for 20 mins and giving her Knox blocks. For the most part she had been keeping her food down and not regurgitating as often. However, she still continues to cough throughout the day and it sounds like she’s trying to clear her throat but most of the time nothing comes out. She used to sleep under my bed (her fav spot) but I’ve now put her in her kennel and propped her on pillows to maintain her elevated. She sleeps fine for most of the night but she starts coughing every morning about 3-4 am. Doesn’t always resurg but she coughs for about 5 mins at a time. Does the constant coughing go away? Or is there anything I can do to minimize it? My wife and I work full time and the lack of sleep is starting to catch up. My wife insists that we have her sleep downstairs but I feel bad because I know my baby doesn’t like that and even then her coughing is so intense I can still hear it :(.

    1. Hi Reyna,
      The coughing at night is largely because dogs sleep with their head lower than their body. Because the esophagus muscles are weak they are not able to swallow their own saliva. The saliva tends to pool in the esophagus and that leads to a dog coughing and gagging to try to get it up. The solution is a simple one. Elevating the head. A “neck-hug” or pro-collar helps keep the head elevated at night. You can buy one at They have very nice neck hugs that are wide enough to keep the snout up. Pro-collars are inflatable collars that can be found at Petsmart or Petco or on line. Kong makes an Cloud E collar that you can find on Amazon. You can try elevating her crate if she sleeps in one. Some have made do with a babies boppy pillow or even an airline pillow. This usually solves the issue. Your vet may prescribe an antacid that can also help out. Hope you pup is better soon!

  4. Hi! My husband and I have a 9 month old Great Pyrenees who was just given a diagnosis of ME. Unfortunately, we were not seen by our regular vet, and we were not given very much information at all. We are scheduled to have a consult with our longstanding vet next week, but I was hoping to reach out for some answers and support. I only know what I have been reading the past few hours, but I am very worried about what the future holds for our precious pup. I don’t know if there are different severities, but our dog doesn’t seem to regurgitate as much as other stories I have heard… So much so that we let her symptoms go unnoticed for a few months, not thinking it was anything severe. We have not been given any specific information about etiology of her condition or even about how we should proceed with treatment. I’m kinda of at a loss for what to do.

    1. Hi Kelsie!

      It sounds like your pup may have a mild case of it. That’s great! Yes there are different forms and different stages of the disease. There is a chance that your pup’s ME may resolve with age. This happens sometimes! Even if it doesn’t, you can help your dog by feeding in an upright position, ensuring the food and water makes it to her tummy! If you notice night time regurgitation, you may need to make or purchase a neck hug or pro-collar to keep her head elevated at night. A bailey chair is an essential tool to keeping your dog upright while eating. Also try to keep your pup in that upright position for 20-30 minutes afterwards so that gravity can do the work her esophagus isn’t doing so well. Your main focus to make sure everything that enters the mouth travels safely and entirely to the stomach to prevent regurgitating which can lead to aspirating into the lungs. If the xrays showed an enlarged esophagus, you want to try to keep it from stretching out any farther. Small more frequent meals may help her out. You may have to play with the consistency of the food. Some do well with a slurry or milkshake consistency, others with small meatballs dropped from an elevated position so they are not chewed, rather swallowed whole. If water is an issue, you can try gelatin cubes or a product called “thick-it” to thicken up liquids. Please refer to our recipe page for goods tips! Lastly, please join the facebook pages, Canine Megaesophagus Support Group and Upright Canine Brigade. There you can network with thousands of other dog parents with ME! Best of luck to you!!!

    1. Acquire ME (not born with it) can resolve if there is an underlying disease that can be treated as in the case of acquired myasthenia gravis and other primary diseases. It has also known to resolve after treatment of esophagitis. If you know the cause of the ME, and can treat the underlying issues, there is a chance that the ME can resolve. See the tab marked “Why M.E.?” from the menu bar. As far as it getting worse, sometimes it does indeed get worse. Sometimes with proper management regurgitation can diminish quite a bit. Smaller more frequent meals may help keep the esophagus from stretching farther. Sounds like you are doing a great job with your pup! Thank you for weighing in!

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