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Early last month, Calli began regurgitating her food while eating. I researched the difference between vomiting and regurgitation (it’s definitely the latter), and put her on canned food only, raised her food bowl off the ground, gave occasional doses of Pepcid, etc. The symptoms disappeared for a couple weeks so I slowly transitioned her back to moistened kibble (with some canned food). She was OK until last weekend, when she started again, so we’re back on the softened canned food. What was really scary was she aspirated food during one episode and, as I was preparing to dangle her upside down or try something Heimlich-like, she coughed it up – with blood.

 

As if this isn’t bad enough, she’s started leaking urine in the past month. Related? I could find nothing online to indicate. No other symptoms. I feed premium kibble (usually Nature’s Variety rotated with Whole Earth). She’s quite fit and healthy otherwise (spayed); she’ll be 3 in February.

 

Any notions of what I could be dealing with are appreciated. We have a vet appointment Monday morning.

 

Thanks, all...

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Donna, I'm so distressed to hear of sweet Calli's difficulties. I hope you can get it figured out.

 

Is Calli wolfing her food? Juno (her littermate) is *always* the first one done eating, so I thought it was worth asking. If so, you've probably experimented with ways to slow her down. I can think of using a food ball, feeding one of the kibbles that have huge pieces that have to be chewed (I can only think of the Science Diet oral care formula where chewing the kibbles reduces plaque), but there may be other ways.

 

Is there anything she might be sneakily eating? Juno is one for the kitty litter box if it becomes too tempting, enforcing the discipline of daily scooping...

 

For what it's worth, and I just present the information here hoping that it might be of some use as a comparison and with no claim of expertise, here's what her littermate Juno (also spayed) is fed twice daily: 1 cup Kirkland Premium Lamb & Rice kibble to which I add 2 or 3 tablespoons of canned pumpkin and 1/4 can of Kirkland or Whole Foods brand canned food. Additionally, in the morning feeding I add 2 healthy squirts of Plato brand Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil and one Cosequin or Dasequin glucosamine/chondroitin joint supplement. Juno weighs about 36 pounds and has not had any digestive issues or wharfing up of food. She's sleek and fit, as is Calli.

 

Best wishes on getting this cleared up at her vet appointment, and please let us know how it goes.

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Thanks for the great suggestions and for your concern, Jan. And I'm glad to hear Juno is doing so well. Cal is about 32 lbs. In fact, she could use an additional couple pounds, but I haven't found a way to get her past the 32# mark (including additional fats, oils, etc.).

 

Anyway, I've pretty much tried everything you suggest. She's not wolfing her food or eating any differently. I feed twice daily; about 1 cup at each feeding. Never straight dry kibble; always some water, canned food, fish oil, yogurt, etc. Last night she couldn't even keep down a small canned food meatball I tried to give her as a treat -- however, I did give it off the ground, which seems to exacerbate things. The food is not entering her stomach; it's just sliding back out as if it's backing up (no wretching, etc.). That makes me suspicious she's having esophageal issues, which could be anything from esophagitis (maybe ulcerated due to reflux?), to an obstruction (including foreign body or lesion) to megaesophagus (damn, I hope not).

 

And the urinary incontinence came out of nowhere... I have no idea if the two symptoms are related, but I do know that some statistics suggest up to 20% of spayed females become incontinent between the ages of 3-5 (however, there was debate on that statistic just the other day on Sheepdog-L).

 

I'll let you know what the vet says; hopefully it will be something definitive. In the meantime, thanks for your good wishes.

 

(sorry for the dual identities - it's a long story ;) )

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Quite a while ago, Dean started regurgitating his morning kibble. He never regurgitated his raw bones in the evening, only the kibble. He would regurgitate, re-eat, and then be fine.

 

I took him to the vet and she prescribed a couple of meds, which helped. Then it started up again when he finished those. She put him on a round of Flagyl and that cleared it up for good. We never got a diagnosis, but whatever the problem was got taken care of.

 

I hope it turns out to be something simple like that for you.

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I hope your vet visit turns up something helpful. We once had a new dog who turned out to have regurgitation problems (he was about 4) and the prognosis was very poor. Hard to avoid aspiration pneumonia, etc. (he did not have megaesophagus, but rather esophogeal dysmotility). The good news is that we were able to manage it and he lived quite long time with a great quality of life. Even when the human drug he was on was taken off the market, we tried acupuncture and it did wonders (and he did not need it indefinitely). IOW, fairly scary initially but a great outcome, so hang in there! :)

 

B.

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I took Cal to the vet this morning. Radiograph was inconclusive on esophageal malformity (but showed no obstruction or lesion); urinalysis showed no bacteria or elevated PH. He is concerned about megaesophagus; next step will be endoscopy or fluoroscopy at the referral center. I read that when megaesophagus is found, myestenia gravis should be tested for - and vice versa. Megaesophagus can also be idiopathic - but I don't buy that as a diagnosis - if its not congenital, something must cause it. Anyway, we're treating her with Prilosec until after the holidays in case it's esophagitis caused by reflux. If she can tolerate kibble after a few weeks, we'll assume we had a case of reflux esophagitis (I was feeding Evo to put a few lbs. on her - the 42% protein/20%+ fat may have been too rich). As far as the incontinence - the vet is thinking the switch to canned food may have been too much water so we're taking the conservative approach there as well and just letting her out more frequently for a while. In the meantime, I'm managing her carefully as there is a high risk of pneumonia in dogs that regurgitate repeatedly due to aspiration.

 

Wish us luck... thanks for your concern.

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I read that when megaesophagus is found, myestenia gravis should be tested for - and vice versa. Megaesophagus can also be idiopathic - but I don't buy that as a diagnosis - if its not congenital, something must cause it. Anyway, we're treating her with Prilosec until after the holidays in case it's esophagitis caused by reflux. If she can tolerate kibble after a few weeks, we'll assume we had a case of reflux esophagitis (I was feeding Evo to put a few lbs. on her - the 42% protein/20%+ fat may have been too rich). As far as the incontinence - the vet is thinking the switch to canned food (78% moisture) may have been too much for her system so we're taking the conservative approach there as well and just letting her out more frequently for a while. In the meantime, I'm managing her carefully as there is a high risk of pneumonia in dogs that regurgitate repeatedly due to aspiration.

 

Wish us luck... thanks for your concern.

 

That would be great if it's a reflux esophagitis you can put behind you. Crossing fingers and hoping for a good outcome for you.

 

FWIW, our guy was tested for myasthenia gravis and other things, all came back negative and we never did know the cause of his esophageal trouble. What kept him from getting repeated bouts of pneumonia (after the first one) was feeding him his canned food formed into meatballs, and feeding those to him with his front feet up on a step stool, & teaching him to stay up there until it was all safely in his stomach (about ten minutes). Once we discovered acupuncture, though, we didn't need to keep him elevated after the meal, and he never had any further problems. We also switched him to pre-made raw at some point (also made into meatballs), which he took to fine.

 

B.

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I was thinking megaesophagus, but I hope I'm wrong. Hopefully, it's something simple and short-lived. I know how frustrating it is to not know what is wrong. So, I'm praying that you'll get some answers soon and that Cali will be feeling like her old self again in no time.

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