Canine Megaesophagus Week
It is canine Megaesophagus Awareness Week 25th July to 1st August 2021
I first heard about canine Megaesophagus in 2019 and wrote an article about it.
You can read it here: Tigger Investigates...Canine Megaesophagus
What is Megaesophagus?
“Megaesophagus” occurs when the muscles of the esophagus fail, and it becomes a non-functioning organ. At this point, the esophagus can no longer propel food or water to the stomach. Thus, it will appear that the dog is “throwing up” and it can be mistaken for Gastro-intestinal issues.
The vertical feeding method is the best option for the management of MegaE. With a medium to large size dog, the “Bailey Chair” is the best option for maintaining the vertical position for feeding and for post meal “sit time.” This allows food to travel to the stomach via gravity and varies from 15-30 minutes. Smaller dogs can be held, or other apparatus have been used to keep a small dog vertical.
(No bending over to eat.) Other key points include food type and consistency (dry kibble does not work), possible medication to reduce acid reflux and the management of fluid intake.
Remember, not only is it important for the dog to stay vertical for feeding and post-meal sit time, but it is best to hold the food bowl UP to the dog, as illustrated in the photos.
The “bowl in the tray” design that was independently designed a few years ago forces the dog’s head into the same incorrect position as if he/she were eating from a bowl on the floor, or an elevated dish.
It is NOT recommended by Roxie’s MEGA Mission, the original vet advisor to the Megaesophagus group, or by Bailey’s mom, the original designer of the concept and chair.
When holding the bowl up to the dog, he/she will still need to bend their head a bit.
However, the angle will not be as severe as the position in the tray. It is important to create the straightest path through the esophagus so that gravity will work.
While Canine Megaesophagus is not a “common” condition, it is not “rare” as was once thought.
It was often misdiagnosed or missed entirely. In addition, prior to the vertical feeding concept developed by “Bailey” and his mom with the “Bailey Chair”, Megaesophagus was considered unmanageable.
With continued awareness & education of the proper management techniques, many dogs can still enjoy quality of life!
How can you become part of the mission?
Save Tigger’s newspaper so that you can easily access it if you hear of a dog diagnosed with “Megaesophagus.”
Tell them it is NOT hopeless.
However, the quicker they move to the necessary protocol, the better the chance the dog will have for quality of life.
During Megaesophagus Awareness Week, information will be posted daily.
History, tips, success stories, etc. You can share those posts if you feel it is appropriate.
Do you know a veterinarian that would be receptive to a postcard, flier, or brochure?
Roxie’s MEGA Mission are currently sharing information through a mailing to large veterinary specialty / ER hospitals around the world.
The veterinarian does not need to be in a large hospital, but they do need to be receptive to information.
Roxie’s MEGA Mission has been saving dogs around the world since 2008 with Megaesophagus through awareness and education.
For questions and requests for posters, here are Roxie’s MEGA Mission contact details:
Facebook: Roxie’s MEGA Mission.