Monday, June 21, 2010

A day at the dog park

One of Sidney's favorite places is a place called Bow-Wow Beach. It's a great dog park with a lake that he makes sure he plays in all the time. One of the tough things about having an ME dog is the ability to let him be a puppy. You can find yourself getting caught up in everything he puts his mouth on and wondering "will this cause him to get sick, again get Aspiration Pneumonia and die?" The fact that you can actually see him smiling the whole time at the park makes everything worth it. He always finds some other puppies to play with and just has a great time playing, running and getting dirty!

We try and play fetch in the water, which has some success. He still is unsure of the full swimming thing, but is always running in the water. I do worry that sometimes he may get a gulp of water when he's in there, but I just try and hold him up after he gets out for a while. We've been there about 30 times and he hasn't had any problems, so far so good. He does RG there sometimes with all the running around and whatever else he gets in to, but better there than on my carpet and couch!! He seems fine when he's there overall and is just having the time of his life, so we'll keep going.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Trying Bethanechol - AGAIN.

Last time we tried Bethanechol, we had some bad RG weeks. But what I didn't realize was that we shouldn't give Sidney the Metachlopromide AND the Bethanechol. It's one or the other. We did both and it obviously didn't work well.

So we decided last week to try and change from the Metachlopromide to the Bethanacol to see how it works. Instead of getting the 2.5 ml of Metachlopromide 3x per day (1/2 hour prior to each meal), we now just give him .5mg of Bethanechol 2x per day.

So far he has done great and has had ZERO regurgitation. Another big reason I hope this can be a permanent change is time we can save. With both of us working, the 2nd (after-work) meal limits what we can do that evening when you have to administer the Metachlopromide 30 minutes before he eats. With the Bethanechol only twice a day in the morning and evening, that middle medicine session is eliminated!! Why is that important?

Let's say I get home after work at 5:30pm. I have to get him out of his cage and walk him. Maybe I can get him the Metachlopromide by 5:45, which means that he cannot get his meal until about 6:15pm. Then, 30 minutes in the chair and it's almost 7pm. Plus we like to take him to the dog park, but given that we do not want to risk food sliding out of his stomach and back into his esophagus, we really need a minimum of an hour after that for digestion. So, to get Sidney to the dog park at 8pm? Heck it's almost bed time. Plus, a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game may be on. I need a life too!

So what I am getting at is that I can skip the Sucralfate I give him at lunch (and switch it to after work) and feed him his 2nd meal instead, since there is no 30 minutes to wait prior to his meal and we can go straight to the dog park after work at 5:30pm instead of at 8pm. HUGE difference. As for the Sucralfate? I just give him it before we head out to the park. This will free up my time and his time to exercise.

Goal here is a happy and exercised puppy, as well as a parent with some sort of life. So far, so good.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Portable Bailey Chair

If you want my plans for the Portable Bailey Chair I made for Sidney - email me at

I uploaded the instructions on the Facebook Canine Megaesophagus Support Group's Files Section:

Sidney's Portable Bailey Chair Instructions 

So one of the big problems with Sidney is moving his Bailey Chair when we travel or if someone looks after him. The main one he uses is in our kitchen and is built heavy-duty because it never dawned on us that we would be needing to move it around. If anyone reading this needs to know how to build a Bailey Chair (regular version), Donna Koch from the Yahoo Support Group will send you a DVD on how to build it for just what she spent in postage. Her dog Bailey is who the chair is named after.

Anyways, our main Bailey Chair is large, bulky, heavy and cumbersome for us to transport on any regular basis. So what I did Friday was build one that is portable and can be built and disassembled in about 20 seconds. It has 2 sides, a back and the bottom base. I also have the Paw bar and a bottom spacer that holds the sides in place and dowel rods that holds the sides and back together. I made it to slide into supports so that it holds together without actually screwing it it place. Now that I am trying to explain it, I realize I'm not too good at explaining it. Anyways, trust me - it works great and is light and easily broken down for transportation.

Sidney had a great time on the boat this weekend and was well behaved and 'gasp' didn't have one regurgitation problem at all, even though he didn't sleep in his elevated cage. We did put a pro-collar on him when he slept which keeps his head elevated to avoid any esophagus irritation. All in all it's great to know that Sid can travel and spend the day somewhere fun without worrying about his feeding routine!!