Weʼre raising £5,000 to Help fund treatments and essential medication for my 4 year old dog with megaesophagus
- Durham, UK
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Louis is a wonderful little Malshi dog (Maltese cross Shih Tzu). He was the runt of the litter and was the last dog to be homed, passed by other viewers. He was never a greedy puppy and was always an extremely gentle boy, friendly and loving to everyone. And now sadly at 4 years old he has been diagnosed with this life threatening condition. I live near a residential home for people with mental health problems and severe learning difficulties, and Louis has always been a source of happiness and joy for the residents, he always gets excited when he sees them. But in the last year he had been finding it difficult to get his food down with double and treble swallowing just to try and push it down, he is regurgitating his food almost immediately after eating. I tried changing his diet many times without much success. Eventually after many months of trying everything I could, I realised that when I hand fed Louis from a height with his neck elongated his food was not regurgitating as often, and it was then that I concluded that gravity seemed to be helping his food to go down to his stomach, and with some discussion with his vet, she agreed to do some tests involving blood test and a couple of x-rays using a barium meal (which the vet nurse ended up wearing more of that than Louis swallowed) which in turn confirmed the diagnosis of Megaesophagus.
Megaesophagus is the medical term for an enlarged oesophagus which is somewhat compared to a deflated balloon. The vital tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach and the associated nerves and muscles do not constrict and relax to propel the food after swallowing. The food accumulates in the oesophagus and is regurgitated. This is a dangerous condition as the food can enter the trachea and lungs resulting in a condition called aspiration pneumonia which is often the cause of death from this illness. This can also lead to glandular diseases, Addisons disease, hyperthyroidism. The food congeals in pockets causing infection and coughing, the condition requires regular blood tests, medication, a disciplined diet and lifestyle changes and in some cases a referred operation, but not in all cases. Feeding has to be from an elevated position with small frequent meals of specialist food. If feeding becomes too distressing an esophageal tube or surgical tube placement might become a possibilty.
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