Megaesophagus is mouthful of a name for a rare condition that affects dogs, cats, and humans too! Those in the know refer to it as “ME” or “Mega E” and many are passionate about spreading the word to help pet owners and potential adopters understand that megaesophagus can be managed and dogs can lead fairly normal lives with ME. Sadie Mae is a shelter volunteer who is doing just that, and she’s documented her discoveries in a wonderful in-depth article here about her personal journey of ME discovery. “As a volunteer at various shelters, I had heard of this condition only once before and knew it had something to do with the esophagus and the digestion of food,” she writes. “After speaking with members of Megaesophagus Support Groups, I have learned a great deal about the condition, and I certainly do understand how overwhelming this condition, with possible underlying conditions and varying degrees of severity and symptoms, can be.” Read on to find out more about ME and see if you’re one of the compassionate adopters who are willing to incorporate the routine of a homeless Mega E Baby into your home!
So what is megaesophagus? “Megaesophagus refers to a syndrome in which the esophagus becomes weak and flaccid, and subsequently becomes much larger than normal, hence the term megaesophagus. Megaesophagus is diagnosed by taking radiographs (x-rays) of the chest,” says the Michigan Veterinary Specialists. A pet with ME needs the help of gravity to transport food to their stomach after they eat. They don’t throw up, but rather regurgitate their food before it reaches their stomach.
While for many pets there is no cure (see “Will it ever go away or be cured” in the veterinary publication here), there are proven management techniques that help many ME dogs and their owners enjoy long and happy lives together! A good DMV is key for proper diagnosis. Depending on the type and severity of the ME, they can help owners figure out if and which medications and surgery will help the most. One of the more popular – and quite adorable – techniques is the use of a “Bailey Chair” to help an ME pup stay upright. Above you can see a photo of adorable JellyBean sitting in his chair just chillin after his dinner! You can read more of Sadie’s stories and information in her in-depth article here.
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