I can’t believe it has been about 3 months since my last post! I seriously hate neglecting my food blog baby, but I’ve had my hands full taking care of the newest addition to my little cave. I’m so excited to formally introduce Jaxson, my 4 month old pitbull-boxer puppy!
Isn’t he adorable? Jaxson was one of seven in my sister’s litter of puppies. I was given first pick of the litter and when I held Jaxson at just one week old, he immediately nuzzled into my neck. It was love at first snuggle.
At seven weeks old, the weaning process began, and a puppy chow was introduced into their diets. Naturally, the whole litter had some trouble adjusting to the new diet, but Jaxson wasn’t keeping any food down at all. He was losing weight rapidly, lethargic, and we knew something was seriously wrong. A trip to the vet later, along with extensive testing and x-rays, it was confirmed that Jaxson has congenital megaesophagus.
Let’s break it down. A normal esophagus continuously contracts to pass food through to the stomach, a process that should take place fairly quickly. With megaesophagus, peristalsis (the contractions of the esophagus) does not occur because the esophagus stays enlarged. So the food sits until the dog eventually regurgitates and then eats the food over and over until the food liquefies enough and gravity helps move it through to the stomach. I’m still getting used to that part.
Unfortunately, there is no “fix” for dogs with megaesophagus. Jaxson would have to be on a special wet food diet and feeding schedule for the rest of his life, if he even survived at all. My heart was heavy as the vet warned me to prepare for the worst. If he didn’t start retaining food, he wasn’t going to pull through.
That being said, I decided to take him from the litter a week early to nurse him back to health. His diet was a mixture of wet food and formula three to four times a day for the first two weeks. After each feeding, I had to hold him upright on his hind legs for about 10 minutes, so that gravity could help get the food into his stomach. There’s actually a chair out there for dogs with megaesophagus, called the Bailey chair, that does the same trick. I totally want to get one for Jaxson, along with a bib, like the dog in this video. If we’re going to deal with megaesophagus, we’re going to do it right! Right?!
The few weeks were hard on Jax and I, but we made it through! In just one month, Jaxson nearly tripled his weight. At almost 4 months, Jaxson has caught up to the weight of his sisters and continues be in good health. Sure, he’ll always have megaesophagus, he’ll always be on a special diet/feeding schedule, and doggy puke will be an every day occurrence. But he’s a happy and overall healthy puppy now, and that’s all that matters to me. I love my sweet puppy – he’s been such a blessing to me!
Running around after Jaxson has been a full time job, and I’ve had very little time for kitchen experiments. Major bummer, right? But stay tuned, because I will be posting a new recipe for peach empanadas that you will just love to pieces! Look for it in the next week.
Have a great weekend!