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Thread: Does anyone have any experience with Megaesophagus?

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    Pet Sitter Emily's Avatar
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    Default Does anyone have any experience with Megaesophagus?

    My 2 year old Bully was diagnosed with Megaesophagus, which means he aspirates some of his food & water, & that is why he has had a previous history of Pneumonia. My Vet wants me to feed him canned food from now on, but I don't like the idea of canned food, so I have been blending his kibble with water. If he would just chew his food instead of literally inhaling it he would be fine. Is this common in bullies?
    Last edited by Emily; 06-08-2013 at 08:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Does anyone have any experience with Megaesophagus?

    We went through this with our Clyde, who suffered with chronic aspirate pneumonia from the time he was a puppy. We worked with a veterianian nutritionist who formulated a home cooked diet for Clyde and we hand fed him two times a day. If he ate on his own, he ate too fast, making the risk of aspiration too great. Home cooked diets are alot of work and proper supplementation is vital, but we were happy to do it for our sweet boy. In return, he gave us eight wonderful years of joy and love. An added bonus of Clyde's diet... no gas :-) Praying for your boy... they really have a way of grabbing hold of our heart strings!

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    Pet Sitter Emily's Avatar
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    Thank you Bulldogmoma! That is great feedback, what a good idea! He would LOVE some home cooking! I will have figure out a good recipe. Thank you for the prayers too.
    Very true, they do have a way of grabbing hold of our heart strings! I love him more than anything.


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    Default Re: Does anyone have any experience with Megaesophagus?

    I don't have experience with this, but I have heard of it. I would be careful of mixing his kibble with water, if he inhales because that may cause him to inhale even more water. My female also tends to inhale her food, but she doesn't aspirate it. If you can't find a solution, and you do end up having to feed him canned food, there are a lot of the better quality dog foods like Fromms, Go Natural, Wellness etc that also carry their brand in a canned soft food, or there's always the alternative of home cooking for your guy, I home cook some of my guys food, and it's not really too hard or time consuming if you do a whole batch at once. I'll usually cook up a batch on a Sunday, and it takes me about 45 mins, and then I divide it into 12 one cup servings, so this does the two of them for 6 days. Good luck, I hope you find a way to feed him without him aspirating.



    What Is Canine Megaesophagus?


    Megaesophagus is difficult to detect and diagnose, and the medical options are few. But, many of these pets can be managed and lead relatively normal lives. The condition is reported in humans, dogs, cats, ferrets and other animals. (For simplicity sake we will use the dog as the typical patient in discussions on this site.)
    The muscles of the esophagus fail and it cannot propel food or water into the stomach. (Its like a balloon that has been inflated several times and then hangs limp.)
    The result is that ingested food sits in the esophagus within the chest cavity and never makes it to the stomach.
    The most serious complication is that digestive fluid/food will at some point pool in the esophagus which generally results in aspiration of digestive fluid/food, leading to pneumonia. (Aspiration Pneumonia)
    Megaesophagus can occur at any age as a puppy, or as an older dog. If it afflicts a puppy, the cause is usually genetic, or can be due to a surgically repairable condition called PRAA (Persistant Right Aortic Arch). If not secondary to another disorder in adult animals, it is called "idiopathic" (cause unknown).
    Megaesophagus can be secondary to other diseases such as Myasthenia Gravis, Thyroid, Addisons and other Neurological disorders.
    Symptoms:
    Regurgitation of water, mucous or food. (Regurgitation is throwing up without any warning; "vomiting" is associated with retching.)
    Loss of appetite or refusal to eat.
    Sudden weight loss.
    Swallowing difficulty, exaggerated and/or frequent swallowing.
    They will also try to clear their throat frequently with a "hacking" sound.
    Sour and/or foul smelling breath.
    Many canines may be mis-diagnosed with a gastro-intestinal problem.
    Aspiration pneumonia is a frequent complication.
    Management:
    Your canine needs to be placed in a vertical feeding position immediately to avoid starvation and/or aspiration pneumonia. (Note: Not an "elevated bowl." Elevating the bowl does not place the esophagus in the proper orientation so that gravity will work.)
    Vertical feeding can be accomplished with the Bailey Chair. The canine must remain in the chair for 20-30 minutes post feeding to allow gravity to work.
    A low-fat or low residue canned food fed either in a milkshake consistency or in "meatballs" works best. (If using the meatball method, they must be swallowed whole.) Each dog is different and experimentation with food consistency is required.
    Multiple feedings, 3-4 meals per day, is also suggested.
    Fluids must be consumed in the vertical position as well.
    Medications may include an acid reducer (like Pepcid-AD or Prilosec) 1 or 2 times per day; motility drugs (metoclopromide/reglan, cisapride/propulsid/, low dose erythromycin) to help empty the stomach to minimize reflux from the stomach into the esophagus; and/or an esophageal "bandage" for esophagitis, (carafate/sucralfate). Antibiotics for aspiration pneumonia, or for antibiotic responsive gastroenteritis may also be required.
    Page last updated on 09/14/2011 16:09:40
    Last edited by Vikinggirl; 06-08-2013 at 08:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Does anyone have any experience with Megaesophagus?

    There are many here that home cook and you can get ideas from... there is a forum for it as well.
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    Thank you so much, everyone, for caring & helping me! I feel much better!


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    Default Re: Does anyone have any experience with Megaesophagus?

    Vegas was diagnosed with mega esophagus back when he aspirated after having a seizure. During this same time...he was throwing up every 15 mins. We ended up taking him to the ER where he was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia secondary to mega esophagus. I believe he was mis diagnosed. Once he recovered from pneumonia, lost some weight and we raised his food dish....he hasn't thrown up since. But....it is now in his medical records and VPI wouldn't cover him because of it. So we now have trupanion.

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    Default Re: Does anyone have any experience with Megaesophagus?

    Raising his food bowl and hand feeding are musts in his case. Some cases of magaespophagus even require a specialized feeding chair (called a Bailey Chair). We had a dog come into rescue with this condition. Your vet probably wants you to feed him canned because it is softer and easier to go down the throat.



    If home cooking is what you want to do there are a lot of recipes in that forum here. All of the ones that I posted also include nutritional information such as calories, protein and fat amounts. If you need more specific feeding guidelines PM me his weight and any blood test results that you and I will work something out for you but if he is otherwise healthy any of those recipes will do.

    For me, her name was Abby
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    Default Re: Does anyone have any experience with Megaesophagus?

    No help but it looks like you have gotten plenty already.

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