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Question about megaesophagus in dogs

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meaniemouse posted 4/26/2013 21:14 PM

I think my dog might have this. This is kind of gross so if you have a weak stomach you might want to quit reading now.

He started what I thought was vomiting several months ago, but after doing some research, I think it's actually regurgitation. It happened once or twice a month in the beginning and I just attributed it to him eating too fast, having a nervous stomach or getting into something that he shouldn't have.

I've been keeping track for a month or so and it's been happening more frequently, three times so far this month. He has shown absolutely no other symptoms of illness at all before or after any of the episodes. No problems in behavior or in eating, sleeping or eliminating. Other than the barfing, he seems fine, plays like always and loves to go on walks and in the car.

From what I've read about this condition it seems like dogs who have it can't ever eat or drink without it coming back up right after. There really isn't any treatment for it but some people recommend a special chair for eating or holding dogs upright so gravity can help them digest their food. If it's really bad dogs can even aspirate their food/water into their lungs and get very sick.

Has anyone ever heard of this or does anyone have any experience with this? I don't know if he is just in the beginning stages and it will get worse or if he doesn't have a bad case or what.

I just hate for him to feel bad, it makes me

tired girl posted 4/26/2013 21:25 PM

Yes, our first rottie developed this. We had to have him stand on a stool to eat, liquefy his food, and then keep him sitting for 30 min after every meal. We also had to feed him 3-4 times a day as his meals had to be small. This was after I finally got it diagnosed. We tried to find out what had caused it as it is fairly unusual in an older dog, but before we could do the last test, he developed lung issues and muscle weakness, which we figured was related to the disease we were going to test for. We ended up having to put him to sleep. His started out the same way as your dog.

meaniemouse posted 4/26/2013 22:39 PM

Thanks so much for your response tired girl. I am very sorry about your dog. I did read that sometimes the megaesophogus can be a precursor to myesthenia gravis in older dogs and can cause the symptoms you mentioned. My little guy is not quite 2. How long did it take your dog to progress from being ok to becoming so sick? How old was he when you first saw symptoms?

My little guy had such a rough start in life. I rescued him and he has pretty serious anxiety issues but has really made progress in the last year. I'm not sure I can handle him getting so sick. This is so scary. Again--thanks for taking time to respond.

[This message edited by meaniemouse at 10:39 PM, April 26th (Friday)]

FeelsSoRight posted 4/27/2013 06:42 AM

My daufhter rescued a German Shepherd who had this. Like tiredgirl's rottie, he also developed the lung issues and she had to have him put to sleep. He was such an amazingly sweet dog.

tired girl posted 4/27/2013 08:28 AM

We were almost 100% positive that it was myasthenia gravis, we had ruled out everything else, and the first test we ran for it was inconclusive. We could do one more test for it, but he became to sick before we could do it. It had taken some time to diagnose the megaesophagus, so we lost time there.

I believe if you can use the Bailey chair and find the underlying cause for ME and treat that, you could stand a shot with your dog.

ETA: Do you know for sure if it is megaesophagus?

[This message edited by tired girl at 8:30 AM, April 27th (Saturday)]

meaniemouse posted 4/27/2013 12:23 PM

No tired girl--I don't know for sure--just thinking it might be because of the symptoms. He's going to the vet this week for shots so I plan on checking it out then. But I also read if it is MG then shots can make it worse. I'm really worried about it.

purplebreeze posted 4/27/2013 13:41 PM

We had 2 dogs with it. The first one, we didn't know what it was. He had a few episodes and then aspirated on some and passed. He was a 10 year old mastiff. The second was a 9 year old mastiff when he got it about 6 years later. He was extremely healthy and by following the feeding suggestions, we were able to keep him comfortable for another year and a half. We put him down when he really started to not be able to keep anything down and started loosing weight fast. He went from 140 to 92 pounds in less than 3 weeks. He had x-rays and they told us his heart, lungs and everything were in good condition. He was just starving. We did make our decisions based on his health and his age as 7 is and old dog with that breed.
If yours gets diagnosed with this, it can be manageable. It depends on the severity of the pouch in his neck and how early it is discovered. There is a support group here that helps. It is mainly people with that experience but there is a vet that posts there also with general information.

ETA: He was diagnosed by a neck x-ray where you can see the pouch in his esophagus. Just before he was put down another x-ray showed how much larger it had gotten.
I still read the support group and it seems that some have had a bit of success with a stomach tube, but not sure if I would want to do that.

[This message edited by purplebreeze at 1:46 PM, April 27th (Saturday)]

meaniemouse posted 4/27/2013 16:26 PM

Thanks for the replies. From what I've read it seems that it is certain larger breeds that can be prone to the condition. My little guy is shih tzu/poodle mix and only weighs about 6 pounds.

I guess there's a trip to the vet for xrays in my dog's future. Not looking forward to this.

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