Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday Sidney!

Sidney turns 4 years old today.  MegaE is NOT A DEATH SENTENCE!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our Megaesophagus Feeding Routine with a 2 Dog Household

Butters is 7 months old now and we've worked out our feeding schedule for both dogs.  The one thing that I think we may be extremely lucky about is that Sidney has been eating Knox Blox for so long (his whole life) in place of water, that if we leave a bowl of water down for Butters, he will completely ignore it.  Our main concern for introducing a new puppy to the house was keeping her hydrated while everything is on Sidney's schedule.

Also, we crate Butters and we give her a frozen puppy Kong™ with peanut butter when she goes in the crate.  So Sidney didn't feel left out, we put a small smear of honey inside a frozen Kong™ for him as well.  There isn't anything really to eat - just taste.  Some dogs can't even do this with MegaE, we are lucky it works with Sidney.

MORNING MEDICINE: 5mg Bethanechol and about 5 Knox Blox - sit time is 10 minutes.

We feed Butters in the morning while Sidney is in his Bailey Chair for his morning 5mg Bethanechol medicine and Knox Blox.  Butters eats REALLY fast, so Sidney will have no chance to eat leftovers!

MORNING FEEDING: 1 cup of Eukanuba Large Breed Dog Food soaked in 2 cups of water and blended with 5 Knox Blox- sit time 30 minutes.

Then - we feed Sidney his blended food 30 minutes after that and then he sits in his Bailey Chair for another 30 minutes.   Butters usually waits for Sidney to get done and lays by him.

LUNCH FEEDING: Sidney gets about 10 Knox Blox - equivalent to about 1 cup of water - sit time 10 minutes.

At lunch, Sidney gets in his chair for Knox Blox and Butters gets her water refilled.  Sidney sits in his Bailey Chair for about 10 minutes.

EVENING MEDICINE: 5mg Bethanechol and 2 Prilosec OTC pills - served to him hidden in Knox Blox. He ends up getting 5-10 Knox Blox - sit time 10 minutes.  

We changed our routine for Prilosec OTC - we give it to him separate from his food now.  We used to put it in his evening meal, but he was still kind of drooly and seemed uncomfortable - so we changed and give it to him when we give him his evening Bethanechol.  It seems to have worked.  We feed Butters her second cup of food while Sidney is in his Bailey Chair, same as the morning medicine routine.

EVENING FEEDING: 1 cup of Eukanuba Large Breed Dog Food soaked in 2 cups of water and blended with 5 Knox Blox - sit time 30 minutes.

Sidney gets his last meal of the day 30 minutes after the Prilosec OTC and the BethanecholButters is done eating already.  She only eats 2 cups a day just like Sidney does now.

This is our schedule - fairly routine and seems quite effective for us.  Both dogs are doing well - so we will keep at it like this unless something needs to change!  Both dogs are at a great weight and look healthy to me!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Portable Bailey Chair for Travel

Above is the bag that holds everything Sidney needs to travel - and if you can believe it - there is an entire Bailey Chair in there as well.  The other pictures show it in various stages of being assembled and Sidney is modeling it on our boat in the top photo.

If you want the plans - email me at - I put them into a word document with photos and instructions.  If I could figure out how to make them downloadable from here I would do that.  But for now - just shoot me an email.

Someone who reads the blog was nice enough to upload the files to a link for everyone to download:

Sidney's Portable Bailey Chair Instructions

Whether we go on vacation and family and friends watch Sidney or travel where we we take him with us, we need an easy way to transport Sidney and his Bailey Chair.  So we created a Portable Bailey Chair.  We've traveled before for weekends and to move all of Sid's stuff is a huge hassle. The main Bailey Chair is heavy, huge and cumbersome. Then to put all of his meds, food, toys, blender, etc in the car to travel takes like 5 trips.

I made him a Portable Bailey Chair, which is a huge convenience. It basically slides into place and is held together with a few dowel rods and grooves. It breaks down and is constructed very fast - like about 20 seconds. You can see in a photo above the broken down Portable Bailey Chair stacked in a pile.  I bought an Eddie Bauer lightweight roller-travel bag from Target that holds his Portable Bailey Chair, food, Bethanechol and Prilosec, Magic Bullet (that we blend his food with), feeding bowl, bottle of honey (his treat), towels, blankets, toys and his schedule instructions.  It has a botom ziper compartment that holds the Portable Bailey Chair, so everything fits in one duffel bag with wheels and a handle too!! HUGE difference. Now taking Sid away or having people watch him is much less of a hassle than it was before!!

Problem solved!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Meet Butters!

So we are finally ready to get Sidney a baby sister.  Sidney is now 3 1/2 years old and still loves to play like a puppy.  Meet Butters, our new 9 week old Yellow Lab.

We wanted to get a puppy so that we could train her to live on Sidney's routine. We wondered how to manage a MegaE dog and non-MegaE dog feeding routines.  Basically, we feed Butters when Sidney is in his chair and Butters has already figured out that Sidney's blender noise is her feeding time too.  So this is working out so far. We brought Sidney along with us when we picked out Butters.  We wanted to make sure they got along. Butters was the first puppy to show interest in Sidney.  So she won!
Sidney and Butters play really good together.  Sidney is impressively tolerant with Butters and it seems that he is helping us raise her and take out some of her puppy energy, while using up some of his own!  It is so much fun watching them play.  Plus, Butters plays with all the million toys we bought for Sidney that he chose to ignore! We try and be mindful of Sidney when giving treats to Butters for her puppy obedience and house training.
We use the Lickety-Stick for Sidney and Butters gets the training treats.

One main thing for us is making sure Butters doesn't drop any food that Sidney can eat - or us forgetting to pick up Butters' food and water bowl when we let Sidney out of his Bailey Chair.  

With Butters, we are trying to make sure she gets enough water - the food part is easy - she eats her food up fast.  We will give Butters water when Sidney isn't in his chair - we just keep an eye out to make sure Sidney doesn't try and get some for himself.  He is usually pretty good about not doing that.  He is more used to the Bailey Chair and Knox Blox. We're happy to have Butters as part of the family and Sidney is happy to have a sister to play with every day.  Plus, Butters likes to hang out with Sidney when she is done eating while Sidney is still in his Bailey Chair.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sidney Honored with the Ceremonial Puck Drop!

The Lake Erie Monsters Hockey Club (The AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche) had their annual Pucks and Paws hockey game vs. Rochester on March 3rd at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH.  This is where you are able to attend the hockey game with your pet.  An assemblage of 8,136 humans and 500 dogs attended.  Pretty cool - we also went last year.

They offered to let us drop the Ceremonial First Puck at the game (which is fitting since Sidney is named after a hockey player), honoring Sidney and his success at living for over 3 1/2 years with Congenital Megaesophagus and surviving long past the month he was given to live way back when he was only 10 weeks old.
The PA announcer did a really nice introduction and story on Sidney, his Megaesophagus condition and how we were able to manage it and give Sidney a great life and what a big hockey fan he is.  It's nice to let people know that MegaE is not a death sentence and the crowd gave us all a great round of applause.  Which was really cool.

I like to think we were there representing all of us who are managing this condition with our special MegaE friends.  We all put in the time and effort to give our dogs a great life.  Our story is just one of many.  But I can say this - Sidney has led a way more interesting life than he would have if he wasn't born with MegaE.  Pretty sure he wouldn't have been on the ice in front of a large crowd dropping the puck at a hockey game!  He's just taking us along for the ride!

Thanks again to everyone at the Lake Erie Monsters organization for this great honor!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Excessive Drooling

For the past month or so, Sidney seems to start drooling a lot when he isn't feeling well.  Well, it has been happening longer than a month - but this month seems like it is more constant.  He will sit up as straight as he can because it might make him feel better like his Bailey Chair does with his food.  But it's one of those things where we don't know really what else to do.  We will put him in his chair for a while - but that doesn't seem to do much.  I think he may just need to regurgitate to get out whatever is making him feel uncomfortable.  But I really can't force that to happen.  And don't want to.

Basically we just sit with him and pet him while he is sitting up and drooling and wipe his mouth.  These episodes pass - but I really hope they go away.  He doesn't seem like he is in pain or anything.  He just seems uncomfortable, like indigestion.  I am guessing something is stuck in a pocket in his esophagus that causes him to feel like this and drool excessively.  Poor guy.  For now we will just do what we can to make him feel better and loved.  Because that's all we can do when this happens.

Well, to be safe I took him to the vet.  They checked him out and did X-Rays, etc.  Basically he is fine - nothing like Aspiration Pneumonia or something stuck in his esophagus.  It could be he has more acid reflux than normal getting out of his stomach and into his esophagus - making him uncomfortable.  The Vet looked up to see his maximum Prilosec (omeprozale) dosage.  We can increase it for a dog Sid's size and weight to 40mg (which is 2 pills at night instead of one).  We will give this a try and hopefully it helps!  I know some people use a Pro-Collar to try and keep their dog's head elevated which he sleeps.  We tried this for a while and ended up having to buy a few because Sid chewed them up - he just doesn't like wearing them.  We'll see if he will need to get used to it at night again this time - but we will wait and see if it comes to that.

UPDATE 2/13/13 - It seems like the 40mg of Prilosec (Target brand omeprozale) has worked - he seems to be much better now.  My only concern is what if he gets used to this dosage and it comes back - this is our maximum dosage.  I may try and decrease him down to 20mg at the end of the month and see if nothing changes, that way when he gets bad like earlier I can up his dosage back to 40mg until the episode passes.