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Old 01-21-2013, 11:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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possible megaesophagus...

my lab just turned 2 in november.... it so hard...
we dont have a definant diagnosis.. but xrays confirm a enlarge esophagus, but looks different.....
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm sorry to hear.

It does not always have to be the death sentence it used to be. Particularly with adult onset, or "acquired" megaE.

My George has been living with this dx for over a year and has a mostly normal lifestyle, and a good quality of life.

Read this, and discuss with your vet:

Megaesophagus & The Bailey Chair Pet Project
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thanks.. its nice to have support. im definatly going foward. do you use a bailey chair
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm sure you're very scared and upset. Hopefully it turns out to be something curable.

Please keep us posted.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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thanks.. its nice to have support. im definatly going foward. do you use a bailey chair
Yes, he eats every meal, fed by hand, in the Bailey Chair/upright position.

In addition, he's been helped some by sucralfate and ranitidine, due to the reflux that is so common with this condition.

We have regular checkups and monitor closely for signs of "feeling off."

It is generally the aspiration pneumonia that gets 'em, with megaE. Gotta be really vigilant in preventing that.

He still runs and plays and wrestles with the other dogs, and enjoys his life.
Discuss your options with your vet, but don't give up. This can be very manageable.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My Bouvier Jake had it for 9 & 1/2 years,fed him from a stand also water from a stand drinking water seemed to bother him more than anything else he coughed,blew water out his nose at times. I fed dry food he did not seem to have a problem with it he never got aspiration pneumonia but you have to be very aware of its possibility. There was a lady that lived in Calif. she had a Labrador Retriever name of Duncan she tube fed Duncan all his food and water his whole life he had many tubes placed she was extremely dedicated to Duncan. I think there is a portrait of Duncan at UC Davies Veterinary, Duncan was a patient there many times. If your Fur Kid ever gets aspiration pneumonia you might ask how to do postural drainage you cup your hands and lightly beat on both sides of the rib cage helps get gunk up but have your vet show you how do not do it with out vet permission. Dogs generally do not do well with aspiration pneumonia but some have survived the sooner it is caught better the chances. Good Luck. Oh forgot Jake had a Barum X-ray for his esophagus is how he was diagnosed.Some think it is a genetic disorder. Another thing comes to mind with my Jake when he would sit his front legs would shake vet never did figure it out.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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first feeding out of the bailey chair went great, no regur. lastnight either. i guess were looking into keeping his head elevated at night... and another thing is keeping him hydrated.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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and i forgot to mention, we have a diagnosis of megaE, we didnt a barium series and xrays. we sent some blood work out.. my vets checking for thyroid now, i think were doing MG today...


So.. how we made the diagnosis.......


The week prior to friday the 11th, i noticed he was grunting, which was very strange, the he bark was so different, excessive salivation, "coughing" while eating kibble, so we sedated him friday the 11th to look in his mouth/throat.. his tonsil we very inflamed, the right side had puss coming out, and there was a blade of grass and some dobe hair in the crypt, behind the tonsil.. so we were excited easy fix, right? no... he was completely fine for 4 days.. the tuesday night he was regurgitating.. and it went down hill from there.. the vets were a bit confused and we started some more meds, cough supp. inj antibiotics, reglan, and more. well by friday i knew he had something more, i searched the web and saturday i ran across megaesophagus and when i read it, i knew. i knew in my heart, this was it. i cried, not even knowing for sure. i work at a vet, i knew something was wrong. its tough but i love him and hes only used his bailey chair twice but he knows it helps, he sat there post meal all by him self without us coaxing him...
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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and i forgot to mention, we have a diagnosis of megaE, we didnt a barium series and xrays. we sent some blood work out.. my vets checking for thyroid now, i think were doing MG today...


So.. how we made the diagnosis.......


The week prior to friday the 11th, i noticed he was grunting, which was very strange, the he bark was so different, excessive salivation, "coughing" while eating kibble, so we sedated him friday the 11th to look in his mouth/throat.. his tonsil we very inflamed, the right side had puss coming out, and there was a blade of grass and some dobe hair in the crypt, behind the tonsil.. so we were excited easy fix, right? no... he was completely fine for 4 days.. the tuesday night he was regurgitating.. and it went down hill from there.. the vets were a bit confused and we started some more meds, cough supp. inj antibiotics, reglan, and more. well by friday i knew he had something more, i searched the web and saturday i ran across megaesophagus and when i read it, i knew. i knew in my heart, this was it. i cried, not even knowing for sure. i work at a vet, i knew something was wrong. its tough but i love him and hes only used his bailey chair twice but he knows it helps, he sat there post meal all by him self without us coaxing him...
Wow, you already have a Bailey chair? Did you build it, or actually find one that fast?

I think the MG test is important to do, because there is a medication to help with that.

It's spendy, cost me about 300 bucks for that one test, but if you work for a vet you might get some discount--and even if not, you need to know if that's the cause, or not.

George's MG results were negative, as well as a bunch of other dx's we ran. At this point I've had to accept I may never know the "why" but just manage the condition.

He sounds like a really good boy, as is my George. I think they know we are helping them.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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we built it, we had to do something soon. Levi has slight asp. pneumonia, which was expected because he was sick a week before dx. so we started him on inj. antibiotics. He is doing so well, im happy but i still haven't gotten over the initial shock... but he is doing so well in the chair!!

question RFR... how do you give him water? and with another dog in the house, i dont want to take his water away.. i dont know how to manage that...?
any advice helps...
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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also we added the MG lab test to his bloodwork we sent yesterday... it says it usually takes 6-10 business days... its going to San Diego according to idexx
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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we built it, we had to do something soon. Levi has slight asp. pneumonia, which was expected because he was sick a week before dx. so we started him on inj. antibiotics. He is doing so well, im happy but i still haven't gotten over the initial shock... but he is doing so well in the chair!!

question RFR... how do you give him water? and with another dog in the house, i dont want to take his water away.. i dont know how to manage that...?
any advice helps...
Water and treats can be tricky.

I'm not sure I feel comfortable even trying to advise you on that, since I am (obviously) not a vet and don't know how severe your fella's enlargement is, nor how weak his swallow muscles.

I wil just tell ya what works for us, but please clear anything with your doc, first, okay?

With George, I do some water twice a day, with his meals, and I syringe it in sideways (you know how to syringe without aspirating them, right?) in the Bailey position.

I have not taken up the water everyone has free access to, but I have noted George really doesn't try to drink much, if any, on his own, as long as I "water" him twice a day.

I also make sure to squirt water down him when we go on hikes or it's hot weather and so forth. I use a 60 cc oral horse syringe, with the narrow tip cut off.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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We got the results.. Its Myasthenia Gravis.. my vet order the meds today.. they should be here by monday...

Atleast we know what were dealing with..
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:59 PM   #14 (permalink)
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We got the results.. Its Myasthenia Gravis.. my vet order the meds today.. they should be here by monday...

Atleast we know what were dealing with..
Well, as you said, at least it's an answer. And thank goodness there are some meds to manage it.

Please let us know how he does with it, okay?
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Well, as you said, at least it's an answer. And thank goodness there are some meds to manage it.

Please let us know how he does with it, okay?

I will, the vets and I are surprised with how well he is physically... he still plays, runs, jumps and everything in between... we use his bailey chair, and i think we finally got a routine,, his food is blended with water, yogurt, and some canned food.. he gets knox blox in place of water, and he absolutely loves them. our biggest struggle is keeping him out of toilets and Diesels water bowl.. other than that things are better than i imagined... but that doesn't mean its easy.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:44 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I will, the vets and I are surprised with how well he is physically... he still plays, runs, jumps and everything in between... we use his bailey chair, and i think we finally got a routine,, his food is blended with water, yogurt, and some canned food.. he gets knox blox in place of water, and he absolutely loves them. our biggest struggle is keeping him out of toilets and Diesels water bowl.. other than that things are better than i imagined... but that doesn't mean its easy.
The routine will feel more natural and manageable with time. It just kinda becomes second nature.

I guess you spoke with your vet about managing other symptoms, right? Like keeping his stress levels to a minimum any way possible, not letting him overexert, that sort of thing, careful in the heat, etc, etc.

Such a shame, at so young an age, to have to think about all that for him, but he can still have a good life.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:13 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The routine will feel more natural and manageable with time. It just kinda becomes second nature.

I guess you spoke with your vet about managing other symptoms, right? Like keeping his stress levels to a minimum any way possible, not letting him overexert, that sort of thing, careful in the heat, etc, etc.

Such a shame, at so young an age, to have to think about all that for him, but he can still have a good life.
Yes, they have. It is tough, but we'll manage. He's always been laid back and calm to be young and a lab at that. So it won't be to hard. And I have finally been able to talk about it without crying. It was such a hard diagnosis for me, ME one week and then MG the next.. it was a lot to take in.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:57 AM   #18 (permalink)
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It is a lot, and it's okay to cry, but he will do well, with everything you're putting in place for him.

I'd love to see a pic of him, if you have one.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:49 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I will post them after I get off of work at 4. I can say day by day he's doing better! fingers crossed! How's your ME dog doing? Is George a doberman?
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:49 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Nope, George is not a Doberman, although his world is ruled by a Dobergirl.



He's a presumed pit cross, just a big beautiful mutt:



We had just started running novice agility, which we both love, when he started acting "off," and we ended up with this dx.

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Old 02-04-2013, 09:26 PM   #21 (permalink)
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He's too cute! Do you and George do any agility now?
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:35 PM   #22 (permalink)
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My Levi pre-dx.


With his favorite toy..typical lab..


Diesel and Levi...


My boys..


Diesel after his "run in" with the neighbors car in OUR driveway...with them speeding...


First xray...


boys.


Bailey chair...


our bailey chair was a tad too big..but we put plenty of padding in that he fits perfectly now...


After Myasthenia Gravis dx..


And my pintrest project..
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:03 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Aw, your boys are very cute.

I guess I'd missed that, about Diesel getting nailed in your own driveway--that happened to another member's dog here, Burns, and her boy Red. My own Whip got slammed almost in front of our own house, just off a path we walk most evenings--on leash, yet, but she yanked away from me that awful night.

Life can turn on a dime, and then there is always "Before Event X, " and "After Event X." Ya know?

George and I have not returned to agility, no, although he is cleared by his many vets to do so.

It's mostly that I have broken my left leg twice this past twelve months, and skipping long boring details, had some huge complications in healing, so between that and his dx, we are sort of on hold for now.

I'm hoping to return to it soon, and my little AHT Mina is going to be a rising star, so if George decides he'd rather hold down the couch, I will still have a little partner to learn with, but I had so hoped to have George as an agility partner, too--time will tell.

Hope Levi continues to do well.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:46 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Life sure did turn fast. Diesel got hit on a Friday and Levi was dx on the following Monday... We have decided to not get anymore dogs as long as we have Levi, which is for the best.

I hope you are able to return to agility soon! Life sure does throw us curve balls sometimes
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:29 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I'm just catching up now and wow ladies, just wow. Okay mega hugs for ((((((((Levi and George)))))))). Hugs and hang in there thoughts for both of you. I have never had experience with this/these issues and am learning a lot.
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