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 Support, HeadLines, Awareness, Research and Education.
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!
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!
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!
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 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.