You may recall from a previous post, that we have a dog with Megaesophagus. We are thrilled to celebrate her first birthday January 9th, 2015. She is a smallish, but very healthy Great Dane. We’ve had her since she was born, and the vet told us that most dogs with a severe case like hers don’t live very long. If you aren’t familiar with Megaesophagus, it is a manageable, but not fixable condition where her esophagus muscles don’t push her food to her stomach. Other than that, she is perfect and wonderfully talented. In this birthday picture to the left, you can see our solution to the esophagus problem. It is her special table that Doug built. She is standing on her hind legs in this photo. An older version was this bar stool, in the photo to the right, but she outgrew that rather quickly. The design of her current table is really tall now, just like a cocktail table at a bar. It has a rounded edge, is slightly padded and upholstered with waterproof material. She stands at this table, and eats her meal, then she has to stay there for 20 minutes for gravity to take the food to her stomach. We do this three times a day at 8AM, 2PM, and 8PM. She is like a coo-coo clock and at 8, 2 and 8, everyone knows what time it is. Training her to stand at this table self-sufficiently took a lot of patience and persistence, but was well worth it. We do not have to stand guard to make sure she remains there for her 20 minute interlude. She stays on her own, and, of course, lets us know when her 20 minutes are up. She will whine or bark, and we come over and tell her its okay to get down. We researched the Bailey Chair, which is an invention to keep the dog in an upright but sitting position. They can be adorably cute, but are more suited to smaller dogs. This wasn’t practical for us. Being a Great Dane, the chair would have to be massive, and she has grown so rapidly, and is still growing – so by now we would have probably built 5 different sizes. Also, as it is, we do not have to tote anything with us when we go places. We take her food in a cooler, and choose an outside restaurant preferably with tall tables or a bar. So far, this has worked out for us.
Some dogs can get Megaesophagus later in life usually due to other health issues or as a side effect from medication. If your dog is losing weight, regurgitates regularly or is aspirating food or water have your vet check for this condition with a simple x-ray. It is manageable, and for LilBit, she got a bonus… Awesome leg muscles that any dog would be proud to show off!