Upright Canine Brigade

UCB Edit2 MShaw2013

Our Mission...
 
The Upright Canine Brigade Inc. educates dog owners on the symptoms and management techniques for Canine Megaesophagus (ME). Through education, we hope more dogs will be properly diagnosed and pet owners provided best-practices for disease maintenance.

The Upright Canine Brigade is a group of pet parents who attend events to spread awareness about Canine Megaesophagus and Myasthenia Gravis.  We want the world to know that ME is NOT a death sentence, and your dog CAN be happy!

All you have to do is get a little creative!

Anyone can be a member!  We've got photos, brochures, information, T-Shirts (for you AND your dog, too!), videos,and TONS of ENTHUSIASM and PASSION for raising awareness!  

Join us!  Be part of the Brigade! 

 The UCB Proudly Sponsors

Where we will be in 2017!
 
June 8th and 9th ACVIM Forum National Harbor, Maryland
Sept 23rd Woofstock Festival 2017 John Connolly Park, Voorhees NJ
Sept 27th and 28th 117th Penn Annual Conference Wilmington, DE
Sept 30th HOTC Dog Fair Huntsville, Alabama
Oct 7th Dachtoberfest Frederick, MD

S H A R E  Program

 
Since its inception in October of 2012, our sole purpose for forming the UCB is to spread awareness of Canine Megaesophagus and the diseases that can cause it. We are accomplishing this through our SHARE program SupportHeadLinesAwarenessResearch and Education.
 
Support
 
Through our interactive website and our ever growing facebook group, members come together to share ideas and offer support worldwide. Browse through hundreds of files on our facebook page. Upload a video or a picture and receive live help on the spot. Network with people from your area. Receive vet recommendations and recipe ideas. Exchange ideas and keep up to date on the latest research developments! 
 
HeadLines
 
ME dogs are making the headlines in magazines, newspapers, veterinarian newsletters, vet conferences, veterinarian text books, facebook pages, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and even National TV! June is International Canine Megaesophagus Awareness Month. The UCB kicked off a campaign called SHARE and INSPIRE and our members certainly did respond. Visit our Press Room tab on our website to view a sampling of ME dogs strutting their stuff! MegaE dogs can do anything!
 
Awareness
 
In our ME support groups it became painfully obvious that there were three issues that needed attention. 
 
The first was the general public was not aware of the disease or the signs and symptoms. Pet parents were not aware of the difference between regurgitation and vomiting. The veterinarian community, many times, were not asking that important question or explaining the difference between vomiting and regurgitation. Therefore, post after post we were noticing ME dogs were taking a long time to be diagnosed. Many times, the ME discovery would not be made until the dog had aspiration pneumonia and an x-ray was taken.
 
The second problem was many of the vets were not aware of the newer techniques, medicines and nutritional modifications that are in place now in the ME community. These new methods are helping these dogs live long healthy lives with the right management system in place. There was a lot of doom and gloom and talk of euthanasia. 
 
The third problem was there was not enough testing for possible underlying diseases that may cause the megaesophagus. For example; myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune, neuromuscular disease is said to be the underlying disease in as much as 25-30% of acquired ME. In the case of focal MG, the esophagus may be the only muscle group affected. Hypothyroidism and Addison's disease are other known underlying factors that can cause ME. With all of these diseases, the ME can resolve once the proper medicines are in place. In the case of a young puppy born with ME, PRAA (Persistent Right Aortic Arch) should be ruled out. Many times puppies with PRAA do not have true megaesophagus and once the stricture is removed the puppy can live a healthy normal life. 
 
In an effort to bring awareness to the general public and the veterinary world, the UCB produces and distributes ME and MG client brochures to offices worldwide. We also have a poster for vets offices that explains the difference between regurgitation and vomiting. Our "Brigade" of pet parents attend pet events and veterinary conferences like the ACVIM Forum to speak with pet parent and vets about management techniques and the latest research and developments. Every June, in honor of Canine Megaesophagus Awareness Month, we hold a Calendar for Research Contest. The post is shared with friends and family for awareness and the 12 pets with the most likes wins a month on the calendar! All proceeds from the sale of calendars go towards a megaesophagus research project! 
 
Research
 
Our group likes participating in research that will help other ME dogs and their parents! 
 
These research projects on ME and MG are currently available to participate in. 
- The University of California- San Diego has been collecting samples for a genetic study of Canine Acquired Myasthenia Gravis.
- Study of Congenital Megaesophagus in Great Danes, Clemson University is collecting blood or cheek swabs. 
- Washington State University Veterinary School is conducting a study on the effects of Upright Feeding and dogs with Idiopathic Megaesophagus with the use of fluoroscopic technology.
- University of Missouri has identified an "LES-Achalasia-like syndrome"  in some dogs with idiopathic congenital ME and have a new treatment plan with a possible surgical correction for some dogs. 
- University of Missouri is collecting samples for a genetic study of the Irish Wolf Hound with congenital idiopathic ME. 
Read more on our Research and Studies tab from our website!
 
Education
 
Education is the key to success. Our UCB Facebook page has over 300 files to access at anytime. You can find everything related to ME, MG and other chronic conditions associated with ME. There are helpful tips and recipes in there as well. Our website is one of the top websites accessed for information on the subject. The UCB is in full support of ongoing veterinary studies related to ME. 
The UCB supplies Client Brochures and Posters to Vet Offices Worldwide Free of Charge!
The UCB supplies Client Brochures and Posters to Vet Offices Worldwide Free of Charge!
Calendars for Research Fundraiser! 
 
Every June in honor of Canine Megaesophagus Awareness Month, the UCB holds a calendar contest. The top 12 pets with the most likes receives a month on the calendar. All proceeds from the calendar sales goes towards a Megaesophagus Research Project! We have donated $3,030.00 in just two years with just 150 calendars sold. Each year we hope to double or triple what we've sold the previous year to reach our goal of $50,000! 

The UCB - Creators of June is Megaesophagus Awareness Month! Our Month to Shine!

The UCB Creators of the #Barketlist

Barketlist flyer

 

30 thoughts on “Upright Canine Brigade

  1. Hello. So glad I came upon your website. I have a 12 week old German Shepard puppy that was just diagnosed with Megaesophagus. We had a regular vet appointment this past Friday for shots, and had mentioned to our vet that he vomited a few times that morning. He immediately recommeded an xray. I thought he was crazy as I have two children, and usually if they got sick, it would only last 24 hours. I never thought it would result in this!!!! The xray found his esophagus clearly showed it was full on the xray. Our regular vet sent us to an ER hospital that was able to scope him, and they found all food in his esophagus. They were able to extract it all, and see that his lungs were clear. Just yesterday, we went to Angell Medical Center in Boston (we live in CT, a 6 hour round trip drive), who ran bloodwork for Addison’s disease, hyperthyroidism and lead poisoning. All tests came back today at normal levels, which leads them to believe our pup has congenital megaesophagus……how devastating. Since Friday, we have been feeding our baby with a stepstool, which forces him to be upright. We then hold him like a baby over our shoulder for 20 minutes after he eats. Of course, he’s eating 3x a day, so it’s not easy…….but we are willing to stick with it to help him. Both our vet and the ER vet on Friday suggested EUTHANIZING him!!! Imagine – a perfectly fine, playful, ADORABLE 12 week puppy…..putting him down 🙁 Any information you can send would be helpful. I am also interested in joining your “brigade” and your 2018 calendar.
    Thank you again,
    Maria Gotch

    1. Hello Maria!
      I’m afraid that congenital ME in GSD pups is far too common. Both facebook groups, Canine Megaesophagus Support Group and Upright Canine Brigade are full of these precious pups. Angell Medical Center is a very good veterinarian group. Feeding Upright is very important. It allows gravity to do the work that the esophagus muscles can’t do. Make sure he stays upright for 15-20 minutes afterwards. Some need more time, some less. Food consistency takes some trial and error. Some dogs do well with a slurry concoction. others can eat wet food from a can if it’s a pate type of consistency (no large chunks), some do better with little meatballs dropped into their mouth from over their head, some do okay with soaked kibble. You can blend wet food in a blender and add some water to make a slurry. You can make meatballs from canned wet food (refrigerate it so its easier to roll) You can make them ahead of time and freeze it for a few days worth. Then take them out and microwave them for a few seconds to get warm. There are many recipes on our recipe file you can try. Look into gelatin cubes for hydration since many dogs have a hard time with straight water. Some people have used baby walkers, baby high chairs or a baby snuggler to keep them upright when they are puppies. Please join our groups. There are so many knowledgeable people there that can help you!

  2. Thanks, again, for all the help and guidance. Our situation has changed in that we now have 2 miniature schnauzer puppies rather than one. Greta joined our family this week. As for the Bailey chairs a friend of our is a master carver and he is making a pair of chairs for the girls. Actually he’s referring to them as thrones so it will be very interesting to see the final product. We’ll be sure to post some pictures of them. Another friend is setting up a blog so that our friends can be kept up-to-date on Ruby and Greta’s progress.

    Another thing we are not sure of. We’ve been using the mashed-up kibble with beef broth and gelatin and they both love it. We also made the frozen treat using pedialite and gelatin. Now my question — if we give them one of the frozen treats outside of their regular feeding do we still need to keep them upright for 15 minutes. I’m thinking that we do but I just wanted to make sure.

    Thank you all again for your help.

    Glen

    1. Hi Glen,
      Wow can’t wait to see those Thrones!!! Lucky pups to have friends like that and parents like you! Yes anything given orally should be given upright and you should keep them sitting until it reaches the tummy. You are doing an awesome job! Thanks for checking in!

  3. We have a 10 week old miniature schnauzer who has ME. Thanks to everyone for all the information that has been shared.

    Perhaps someone can help on another issue. We’re trying to find a Bailey Chair for our little girl. The companies listed on here don’t ship to Canada. I’m hoping that someone out there knows of a Canadian distributor.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Glen,
      To my knowledge there is only one company that makes Bailey Chairs and that is baileychairs4dogs.com. They are not hard to build if you are handy. Basically they are a 3 sided box with a door and tray or a paw bar. Since you have a puppy who is still growing you may want to look into alternative ways to keeping her upright. People have used laundry baskets, waste paper baskets, baby hi chairs, baby swings, strollers, walkers, bouncy seats, baby bjorn carriers, doll strollers well.. you get the idea. When you are ready to purchase, check the facebook pages for someone who may be donating a chair. There is a facebook page called Megaesophagus-Pawing It Forward that may have a chair available in your area. If you are up to the challenge of making your own, check out baileychairs4dogs.com. They have a video on how to measure your dog. Here is a article that explains how to make one. https://issuu.com/editorgrn/docs/bailey_s_chair_instructions. Best of luck with your little one!

  4. I have a 5 most old great Dane pup, I feed her puried kibble, after I feed her she acts like she is starving, she jumps on the counters, she tries to dig in the trash, ear the adult danes food, cat food, anything she can get to. Is this normal for an me dog? I feel like I am not feeding her enough.

  5. How do we join? Our 14 month old Standard Schnauzer, Cap’n Butler, was diagnosed with MG and ME. He got pneumonia and almost died. Would like to join and share
    stories and most of all learn from others.

    Dan & Fay George
    Sallisaw, Okla.

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