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Euthanized dog with megaesophagus.

Species: Dog
Breed: Labrador
Age: 5-8 years
3 days ago we had to put our dear dog Bailey to sleep:( he was diognosed with megaesophugus one year ago. Over that time we tried to feed him different foods, he was doing much better with soft dog food made into meatballs but that didn't help enough. He would still regurate his food and water almost everyday. He lost so much weight he was only 25 kilos and so sad to look at. He still had energy and was happy most of the time. 3 days ago he stoped eating and didn't have energy his breathing was hard, reading all the info about this horrible desease i knew he may have chest infectinon. Brought him to the vet right away and after xray of chest and stomache and blood work they told us he has chest infection, his esophugus is much worse then year ago and they found blockage in his intestines. The blockage could have been most likely tumor but maybe an object. In any case he was not a candidate for surgery and he probably would not respond well to meds and treatments. The vet said that his prognosis was not good, so we decided to say good bye to our so loved and amazing dog. Today i feel so guilty for not trying to help him more and i can't move away from this feeling. I want your opinion in this, do you think there was a chance for him to get better and still have good Quality of life, please let me know if we could have done more for him. Over a year watching him regurate food and water and saliva and to see him hungry all the time and so skinny to the bones was painfull but he was still our bailey, so gentel with our small kids and happy and we were feeding him in baileys chair my housband build. Still that didn't help enough. I'm devasteted over the though we could have done more.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Aw. I'm sorry to hear about Bailey's story. Megaesophagus can be devastating. There are some dogs that can have mild forms of megaesophagus where they do really well with eating soft/liquid food from a raised platform. But other dogs really do not do well.

When I hear about Bailey's case, I think that if this were my case I would definitely have recommended euthanasia. As I see it, he had three issues:

-Megaesophagus
-Possible aspiration pneumonia
-Possible intestinal blockage

If we just ignore the second two issues for now, just the fact that he had megaesophagus for a year and was not able to put on weight would be enough for me to recommend euthanasia. If he is hungry all the time, that is not fair at all. And it sounds like you guys were doing everything possible that you could.

Now, let's add the fact that he had aspiration pneumonia. This is very serious. Now, it is possible that the pneumonia could be cured with antibiotics, but in some cases it can be fatal.

Thirdly, let's add the fact that there was possibly an intestinal blockage. Most likely he would have needed surgery to fix this. Surgery would not be advisable in a dog with aspiration pneumonia. There is a good chance that he would have died on the operating table and you would have been left with a large bill and still no dog.

But, even if he did have a blockage and he made it through surgery successfully, this doesn't change the fact that Bailey had megaesophagus so bad that he was starving every minute of his life.

In my opinion, with what you have told me, as hard as it was, I believe you made the right decision.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much for your response, it made a huge difference. Now i have to deal with the pain of missing him so much, but i know that at least he is not suffering anymore and is somewhere happy and free of this horrible desease. Thank you!!


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.