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.
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. 
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. Hi! I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you. I recently adopted a 7 month old jack russel/hound mix, we took him to the vet, and poor thing has Pneumonia and M.E. I’ve never had any experience with the disorder, but this website has given me so much hope for him. This is the sweetest dog I’ve ever met, and I’m sure with time, patience, and the information from this website, he’ll be happy and healthy 🙂

    1. Hi Meghan!
      Thanks for the sweet comment. We are glad the website has been helpful. Please join the support groups on facebook as well. There are hundreds of people on their everyday with helpful tips and suggestions. Hope to connect with you there! Best of luck with your pup!

  2. Hi my Golden Retriever Teddy was diagnosed with ME about 2 months ago. He is 12 next month. He ended up in hospital with pneumonia when the diagnosis was established. He has had another milder bout of this a few weeks later. We have built him a Bailey Chair but is very reluctant to use it. He starts to shiver and appears in pain. Can anybody help us. We need more advice from someone who’s been there!!

    1. Hi Beryl,

      Sorry to hear about Teddy having a hard time. One of the things we see often is dogs are not put on two different antibiotics at the same time for 4-6 weeks. Aspiration pneumonia can be very stubborn so the milder bout Teddy experienced a few weeks later could have been pneumonia still left over from the first bout. You really need a second set of xrays (from different views) to confirm that the pneumonia is completely gone.

      Try to ease into the Bailey Chair. Feed Teddy next to it at first. Let him get the idea to associated the chair with food. Praise him. Tell him he’s a good boy (that phrase goes a long way!) Believe it or not, you can teach an old dog new tricks! Slowly build up your time in the chair. If he can handle soft treats like peanut butter smeared on a paper plate or Gerber puffs that melt in their mouth, you might try that as a reward also.

      Make sure your Teddy was tested for any underlying causes of ME like Myasthenia Gravis, Addison Disease and Hypothyroidism. This is very important to eliminate any primary disease that may be causing the ME. Once the primary disease is treated many times the ME is more manageable or in the case of MG can resolve completely.

      Best of luck with Teddy. Please feel free to join the support groups on facebook. There are collectively over 5000 members there that have a lot of experience.

  3. Hi. Our 12.5 year old Golden Retriever was diagnosed with ME in late March. She immediately went on a steroid (Prednisone) and Pyridostigmine. We also built a Bailey chair. Our vet said he 25 years of practicing he’s seen 5 cases. The Bailey chair worked well but we noticed after about 3-4 weeks she was doing remarkably better. We decided to try without the Bailey chair. Much to our surprise she was doing well without it.

    We took her back to the vet after 2 weeks they were all stunned that the ME was gone! We removed the Bailey chair and for 60 days it was back normal. Then out of the blue she began coughing as she had before. We knew the ME returned. Off the to vet we went. Xrays proved to be negative for ME. They began searching to another sympton as it was not ME. No luck.

    She is now home and we and the vets don’t know what is causing this issue

    Everytime she eats it’s like dry heaves. Water seems to be worst than food.

    If anyone else has this issue please let me know.

    Thak you,

    1. Hello Ed!
      Your pup was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis with Megaesophagus being a symptom of the disease. Pyridostigmine and prednisone is commonly prescribed to treat MG. You can learn more about MG by clicking on the MG tab. In many cases dogs with MG go into remission in 4-6 months. Some take up to 18 months to achieve remission. Many times the megaesophagus resolves. I would continue to feed your pup upright and follow all megaesophagus feeding instructions until your vet runs another AChR antibody titer test to confirm remission from Myasthenia Gravis. Note that your dog must be off of prednisone for a period of time for the results to be accurate. Once you receive the a negative titer for MG you then can taper off of pyridostigmine. Also radiographs should be taken of the esophagus to rule out megaesophagus. You may want to do a barium xray or have a certified radiologist confirm the absence of megaesophagus. Best of luck!

  4. Thanks, very helpful information. She weighs 9 lbs. now and will be 4 months May 10th. Her sire was 14lbs. but am I feeding her to much? How do you know? She is 18inches long, butt to nose. Very, very active. thanks Molly

    1. Hi Molly,

      She will probably let you know if she’s getting too much for her tummy to handle. Here is a link to a site that has several calculators for dog food, calories and water intake. Our groups on facebook have found this link very helpful. http://mycockerspaniel.com/feed.htm. Hope that helps your little girl!

  5. Why don’t all the ME dogs wear PRO collars, My Ruthie has trouble breathing when sleeping and hers protects her in play and helps her head be up in sleep. Can a ME pup ever grow out of it ? and or ever have pups without threatening herself? or is she guaranteed to pass it? Any miracles of one ever been healed, YET??? There’s always a first time. You saw Babe’s Barium x-ray, we’re keeping charts and she’s gained an inch in length and chest girth just in the last week! Here’s her “before us and after 3 weeks with us. Oh, guess I can’t send pics but I guess only another x-ray could show a change? Molly & Ruth

    1. HI Molly,
      Yes Pro Collars and Neck hugs by wagtail farms are very effective ways to help a dog with ME, particular at night when lying down. Saliva can pool in the esophagus and they are not able to swallow it down. It causes gagging, choking, regurgitation and sometimes aspiration pneumonia occurs. There are cases of congenital ME resolving. Usually around 6-8 months. It is said to be delayed motility. They aren’t sure why this happens with some dogs and not others. It is recommended that ME dog not be bred and that the dame and sire are neutered that produced the ME pup. Currently Clemson University is conducting research into this matter with the Great Dane. Best of luck with your Ruthie. Unfortunately your xray pics are not coming through but I think that is a very smart thing to do. Keep checking those rads to see if there is improvement!

  6. I sent you some pictures of the various ways Iv’e kept my ME puppy upright, enertainet, bouncing and not bored, allfor under 10 dollars. I also sent the barium x-ray and vet diagnosis. molly kiuchi

    1. Thank you Molly! Yes there are many ways to get them Upright! Upright is the optimal word. We know ME parents that use car seats, baby strollers, baby bouncers, baby bjorns, johnny jump ups-you attach to the doorway, baby highchairs etc..Many can be purchases for next to nothing at garage sales. It’s amazing what people come up with that works! Thank you for your response!

  7. Hi….My name is Maggie, and I am a Bedlington Terrier. I just turned 7 years old. My Mom bought me for my Dad when I was 5 mons. old. My Dad had never owned his own dog..ever??? But, when he married my Mom…he had to Love dogs, if he was going to be in her life!! My Dad Loved me to pieces….he took me everywhere with him, he shared his food with me.. :/ and slept with me every night. He was the Greatest Dad. My Dad passed away a little over 2 years ago….I miss him very much! Yes, we do mourn…I did! Right around that time, I started getting sick. My Mom thought at first it was because I was sad. When it didn’t go away…she started to worry. After a lot of vets, (approx. 2 years) different foods, different meds….finally a Dr. asked..is she vomiting, or regurgitating??? My Mom wasn’t sure what they meant…? Is she heaving or does it just come out?? Well, the big light went on….I wasn’t vomiting at all…We did an x-ray and sure enough….It was the worst case they had seen. My Mom was so sad, she didn’t know what to expect..But, she read up on ME and contacted Bailey Chairs 4 Dogs….and I have been doing AWESOME!!! I have gained weight, Love my chair…and I love feeling full!!! I can’t Thank everyone enough…I am one HAPPY Girl!! I even have my own Facebook page…..I am a Super Model….Check it out!!! Having ME isn’t that terrible….and together we can live long, full lives!!!! WE are SPECIAL….. my family already knew I was!!! 🙂 <3

    1. HI I just saw you comment on one of the upright canine brigade pages and I just wanted maybe some words of encouragement my dogs just got diagnosis with me and she is 7 I just thought maybe talk to some one else who has been though this would help…

  8. I would love to support what you guys are doing in getting awareness for this horrible condition. I live in Scotland and there doesn’t seem to many people who have dogs whom I have come across with ME. My Golden Retriever was born with ME and I am a member of the support group on Facebook which is fantastic and I would love to give any support I can to other people who have dogs with this horrible condition.

    1. Wonderful! Laura, please find us on facebook from our home page. In the file section we have printable brochures that you can take off to veterinarian offices for educational purposes. We also have signage, t-shirts, labels, mugs and more good things for UCB on our zazzle site. Check the tab for “Shop for Stuff We Love”! Do you have an experienced vet you would like to add to our list of Experienced Vets and Specialist? Just email us at uprightcaninebrigade@gmail.com with your info or add your story about your Golden. Love to include her in “our Stories section”. Thank you. Check back for updates on this site!

    1. Welcome! You will find some good information here related to ME. Don’t forget to check out “Our Stories”. We would love to include yours! Please send to uprightcaninebrigade@gmail.com with some pictures of course! Please check out our support pages for Facebook on our home page if you haven’t already joined. Great people there. They have inspired me!

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