Life With a Sick Puppy, We Almost Lost Him

Life With a Sick Puppy, We Almost Lost Him

I never thought that it would be so fun to have someone else in the house with us! There are always new snuggles ready to go and playdates scheduled for every day of the week! Unfortunately, not all have been rainbows and butterflies since my pup came home. She started chewing on everything we owned minutes after she arrived. And then, she started puking up every single thing we feed her on the first bite of her food. 

Taking Your Puppy to a Vet

So, I did what any other new pet parent would do in my situation; I took to google to see if this was normal behavior for a Havanese puppy! After reading everything from possible allergies to parasites and every other possible ailment, I decided to take her to the vet. 

So, after a few hours and $250 later we came back home with a clean bill of health! She didn’t have worms or fleas. The vet took special care to thoroughly examine every inch of her body (and she enjoyed it!). However, this still didn’t solve the problem of her puking up food. 

Switcing Dog Foods

The vet said to feed her for a couple more days and see if it improves, so I did. But just as before, she would eat her food on the first bite and then promptly throw it back up. After a week of this, I was getting really frustrated with her! I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t eat her food when we were willing to buy anything she would eat. 

So, this led to a new game of “Let’s see how long it takes you to go broke!” A few weeks had gone by and I was getting really desperate for an answer. I tried every expensive dog food and food brand. I tried mixing the different brands and flavors together and just plain ol’ brute force-feeding her until she would just take a bite! But nothing worked. 

Megaesophagus

Finally, after her fifth visit to the vet with no results on why my dog won’t eat we decided something had to change! And here is where it gets pretty crazy. As we were in the car ready to head home from her last visit, I was talking about how I thought she had a growth spurt and needed more food. The vet mentioned that it sounds like my dog has something called Megaesophagus.

So, before we went back home I did some research on this mysterious condition that my dog supposedly had. This disorder can also lead to a bunch of other serious problems including vomiting, swallowing difficulties, and even malnutrition as the dog may not be able to eat enough to get proper nutrition. 

So, after coming home from the vet I fed her dinner and then placed her in her crate. As soon as she was away from my eyes, she rushed to vomit up everything on the carpet! She even vomited two licks of my ice cream cone earlier that day! 

Megaesophagus Is a Condition That Makes It So the Muscles Around Your Dog’s Esophagus Don’t Contract Properly

After this horrifying discovery, I did some more research and found out that Megaesophagus is a condition that makes it so the muscles around your dog’s esophagus don’t contract properly and thus they can’t have solids or liquids go down. I was told by many others who also had dogs with this disorder that most of the time, they won’t eat if they feel full as their stomachs will get full before the food even enters their digestive tract. 

Some Dogs With This Disorder Will Eat Everything Without Any Problem

However, just like all other things, there are exceptions to every rule. Some dogs with this disorder will eat everything without any problem as long as they have easy access to food and water and never get too full! My dog also happens to be one of these special cases. I think it has to do with her being a puppy or the fact that she throws up everything we feed her already. 

Feeding Time Has Become My Most Stressful Part of the Day

Since I have this special case, feeding time has become my most stressful part of the day. We first purchased an elevated dog bowl that is supposed to help with this problem as it allows food and water to flow down more freely than a normal bowl. This did not work at all, so we looked into getting a feeding tube surgically implanted into her stomach to solve this problem. 

However, my dog is small and the surgery would be very expensive (around $1,500). If that wasn’t enough of a reason to put it off, I also found out that these tubes have a very high failure rate and so do the bag holders. Many dogs with these tubes will puke up everything they eat or drink anyways!!! 

Natural Approach

So, after doing some research I found out that we could try a more natural approach to curing my dog’s Megaesophagus. So after about three months of not knowing what was wrong with my puppy, I finally started to see improvement! My dog now eats small portions of food more frequently as opposed to her tiny bowl once a day. She also drinks plenty of water and eats treats every so often just like the perfect healthy little doggie she is. Although this disorder hasn’t gone away completely, it has improved greatly in the past three months.

Slow Improvements

I’m happy to say that in the past two weeks, I finally saw some improvement in my dog’s eating habits! She now eats her tiny bowl of food every hour or two and even had a little treat here and there without throwing it up! It is still far from where we want it to be but at least she’s eating more! 

So, if you have a pet with this disorder and you are willing to try a few tricks that seem next to impossible (ie: holding your dog upside down) then I would definitely recommend the natural approach. And don’t get frustrated. It will take some time before seeing any improvement as it did for me. Just keep trying and before you know it, your pet will be enjoying life like any other dog!!

By Rosa Norris

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