Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mega Esophagus

I haven't been posting much lately. Things around here have been a bit difficult.  But I think I am ready to talk a bit about it.

Tuesday Grace was diagnosed with Mega Esophagus.  This is a condition where the muscles in the esophagus essentially stop working and it gets all stretched out.  Basically she has very little ability to swallow. In adult onset, its often due to another condition called Myasthenia Gravis. We are still waiting on the lab test for this, but her symptoms are very likely.

What this means for us and Grace is that we now have to be much more involved in her eating process. Since she can't swallow, all her food has to sort of flow down her throat. We now have to feed her in a totally vertical position and then continue to hold her up for about a half hour for the food to get all the way down. Otherwise she coughs it back up which can lead to aspiration pneumonia, which the radiologist thinks she was already developing. And she needs 4-5 small meals a day.  She can't drink any water herself either, and must get her fluids from her foods. 

Its been a tough week absorbing all this and starting to change the way we do things here.   We are going to build her a baily chair which is used for feeding, but we havent been able to do that yet. None of us are woodworkers, nor do we have the proper tools, but I am hoping we can figure this out.  I think it will make her life and ours a little easier.

I am going to try to not let this condition take over the blog, but this is a huge part of our lives now, so I will apologise in advance. 


ronstew said...

One approach to feeding:

Yeah - it's the loldog site, but it is a practical solution for that dog.

manymuddypaws said...

So sorry for you guys- I've never heard of that in an adult dog.

Have you considered placing an ad on craigslist or kijiji for a woodworker? I bet you could find someone who would be happy to help!

I'll be thinking of you and Grace as you get this new challenge sorted out.

Jules said...

I am so glad you have a diagnosis, Dawn. And it seems like there are a fair amount of resources out there. I don't think you should be worried about letting it take over your blog. It will be a big part of your life and the learning curve is steep. I think it is really helpful for people to hear about different conditions in dogs and how people deal successfully with them. If there weren't blog posts about such things there would be no resources for the newly diagnosed.

Personally it helps me to hyper-focus on new conditions because it gives me a sense of control, but that is how I deal with things!

I hope Grace adapts beautifully to this situation. From what you have said about her she is a very special dog.

Taryn said...

I saw you post about this on ShowCardi-L the other day. I am SO sorry you are going through this.
I hope things can improve and get easier as this goes on. My thoughts are with you.

penni said...

Poor Grace -- but dogs are resilient and she will learn the new routine. It's one more chore for you and your husband to take on. I know you will work it out. Hugs!

Lani said...

Grace has such a good humans. Sorry to hear about her condition. It will be interesting learning more about mega esophagus from your blog.

k9krazy10 said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Grace's diagnosis. I know it will be a tough road to travel, hang in there. Cardis are pretty sturdy dogs and with your care Grace will adjust and thrive.
Take care

Jamie said...

So sorry to hear about Grace's diagnosis! Best of luck to you all as you adjust to everything. We'll be thinking of you!
-Love, Jamie and Griffin