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My 4 y/o boy was diagnosed with megaesophagus 3 months ago. He also had his 1 st seizure back in december. Any others out there with dobes with megaesophagus? This is a rare condition so I was curious to see if there are others with same thing.
 

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Megaesophagus
(Dilated Esophagus)

Megaesophagus is a condition in which the esophagus is enlarged or dilated. The results of this condition are : regurgitation, loss of overall condition and frequently leads to aspiration pneumonia. Megaesophagus interferes with effective peristalsis thereby preventing food from passing down into the stomach.
Megaesophagus can be congenital or acquired. Some of the causes of acquired megaesophagus are : esophageal foreign bodies, esophageal tumors, strictures, neurologic disorders, autoimmune diseases and heavy metal poisoning. Treatment for acquired megaesophagus disorders are dependent upon the causative factors.
In the case of congenital megaesophagus in puppies, the symptoms generally manifest shortly after the puppies begin to eat solid foods. Affected pups will frequently begin to eat eagerly, then suddenly back away from the food dish, regurgitate a small amount of food, which they will eat again. By repeatedly eating the food, the meal is liquified, thereby making it possible to be passed into the stomach. Portions of the food can be aspirated into the lungs, making the puppy prone to aspiration pneumonia.
Treatment for congenital megaesophagus in puppies is primarily directed toward maintaining and improving the nutritional status of the pup. Food and water are usually given by raising the bowls up off of the floor (raising the bowls helps facilitate swallowing). Many owners have reported that feeding the pups a semi liquid or gruel mixture has shown good results. Other pups seem to respond best to being fed solids. Treatment has to be based upon which method the individual pup will respond to best. The first few weeks are the most critical. Pups that survive this critical time appear to spontaneously improve. Any dog with congenital megaesophagus should be spay or neutered regardless of how well it "outgrows" its conditions.
 

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Hello,
My red male(Jackson Brown) is 7.5 months old. We found out he had megaesophagus when he was about 10 weeks old, shortly after we got him. Once we figured out how to deal with it, it hasn't been that big of a deal. Now at seven months old he is 65 lbs. and doing great. We use a mixture of high quality foods. Chicken Soup, Natures Variety Raw Instinct(very, very high in protein), and Natures Ballance Beef or Lamb Rolls(the rolls smell so good i want to taste them). We soak this mixture of food in water and then blend it up in a food processor. I hold his bowl over the kitchen sink so that his back is almost straight up and down. It runs straight down through his esophagus and to his belly. At first we held it over a lawn chair, but he quickly got to big for that. It took a while to get it perfect, so that he would not regurgitate his food. For us, i think the trick was getting the consistency correct, and feeding him four times a day. He gets a total of about 5 cups of dry a day. Before I go to bed I Put 2.5 cups in the food processor and add about two coups of water. It soaks overnigt. It only take about 30 minutes to soak properly but I don't feel like getting up 30 minutes early. When I get up in the morning, I mulch the food that is in the processor until it is about the consistency of cookie dough. Then I add a little water and keep chopping, and adding more water, until it is the consistency of a thick milkshake, but not so thick you couldn't pour it out fairly easily. He eats half for breakfast, the rest in the middle of the day. then I soak about 2.5 more cups and repeat the process for a meal around 5 or 6pm, and before i go to bed. 4 times a day. With all that water, if i fed him all that food once or twice a day, it wouldn't all fit. With your dog being 4yrs old he may be able to handle more food per sitting. You'll just have to experiment. Consistency is important. To thick and it won't run down past his esophagus. If it is too thin, Jacks will easily burp it back up, especiall if he starts running around and acting crazy like puppies do. He gets so much water in his food that he hardly ever drinks water plain. Actually, when he goes out and drinks alot of water by itself out of a puddle or something, he tends to regurgitate it right back out. I never have a water dish out. With 5 cups of food he probably gets about 8 or 9 cups of water. Which is probably more than most normal dogs drink in a day. After i feed him, i will lightly play tug of war for a few minutes with his front feet off the ground to further help it all down. Then he goes out to go to the bathroom and then he goes in his pen for about thiry minutes to help let the food settle. Very rarely does he regurgitate anymore. The only time he fights it is if he goes outside for a while and eats a bunch of grass or something, or if he chews off a big piece of his rawhide. That crap always comes back up. I keep several rawhids so that when one starts to get soggy i pick it up and throw him another while the wet one dries.
The only real threat to MegaE is aspiration pneumonia. This occurs when food gets inside their lungs from lots of regurgitation, and they develope pneumonia. If you feed your dog in a way that keeps him from regurgitating very often, you will GREATLY reduce the risk of pneumonia. Our vet has been practicing for almost 20 years and has only seen 1 or 2 cases where pneumonia actually developed as a result of megaesophagus.

Other than a crazy feeding schedule, and liquified food. Everything else is pretty normal. He's an ace at obedience and protection work. On days when we go to obediance and protection training, i wait to feed him until after class. A full belly of dog food milkshake and a lots of intense exercise doesn't mix for a dog with MegaE. It will always come back up. I can't think of anything else but if you need anything just post. Good luck. My vet told us that Jackson's case was one of the worst she had seen when she looked at the initial x-ray, but with a little TLC, it has been very managable. Didn't mean to write an essay but i know how it feels to find out that your best friend has this condition.
 

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Wow....interesting information obtained by reading these posts! Prayers and luck being sent to you all with dobes and this condition. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to be apart of this board, I swear I learn something new everyday!
 

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rufusmom said:
My 4 y/o boy was diagnosed with megaesophagus 3 months ago. He also had his 1 st seizure back in december. Any others out there with dobes with megaesophagus? This is a rare condition so I was curious to see if there are others with same thing.
I've gotta say, I don't think it's that rare. It may not be an everyday thing, but puppies born with MegaE aren't that unusual. Most of the long term breeders I know have had at least one puppy born with MegaE over the years. You don't hear about them because many/most are euthanized quite young, prior to placement. In many cases, that *is* the most humane thing to do.

I've had a puppy born with MegaE, which was PTS at 5 weeks. Not anything I felt good about or did without a lot of thought and heartache..she was taken to two different vets who both made that recommendation, as she had a severe case.

I also had a geriatric dog (11 plus years old) who developed MegaE as a symptom of some disorder that was never able to be diagnosed. We were able to maintain her for the rest of her natural lifespan (about a year)..but its a difficult disease to live with.

It was virtually impossible to train a dog that old to eat in a totally different way..so she was fed liquified canned food from a raised feeder (something I usually never do). Then after she ate, I had her sit in front of me with her paws on my shoulders for about 10 minutes..the idea being to use gravity to get as much food down into the stomach as possible, rather than having it pack up in the throat.

She also was put on a drug called Cisapride. It was quite expensive and not easily available..I had to go to special compounding pharmacies to get it. I don't know if it really made that much of a difference or not..but it might be worth looking into.

Acquired MegaE can be caused by something like 30+ different diseases. One of them is hypothyroidism, so you might look into having this dog's thyroid checked.
 

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unfortunately, Mona, this thread is from 2006 and Murreydobe has passed away. she was the only poster in this thread who was active until recently.
 

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The best way to see if your dog has Megaesopahgus is with a Barium swallow x-ray mega can cause all of the symptoms the pneumonia, gagging, not keeping food down some times the water and or food can go in their nose that could cause the sneezing. My Bouvier had Mega I fed him from a raised feeding dish and water bowl it did help him but I was lucky. UC Davis is the best place to go might be a picture in the hallway there of a yellow Labrador name of Duncan he had a mom that tube fed him all water & food all of his life while he chewed on a Kong. Duncan had Megaesophagus.
If you google Mega there are some web sites up about it some inventive people have made high chir type chairs for their dog to be in while they eat holds the dog up right so the food can go to the stomach with gravity helping. Good luck with your dog.
 

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I worked in a kennels that had a megaE dog as a regular client, she was a lovely old girl and had the problem for many years but was otherwise in good health. She had her kibble soaked and mushed with canned food, fed 3x daily in small meals. She was trained to stand with her feet on a raised object and we would feed her from up high and slowly. It took awhile, but was worth it for the lovely old girl. She was a lab x spaniel.
 
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