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Elliot's Memorial: A Story of Megaeosphagus And Loving Enough To Let Go.

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Uploaded on May 6, 2011

Our memories of Baby Elliot who died shortly at 9.5 weeks after being diagnosed with megaesophagus. Mega is an enlargement of the esophagus do to a blockage from a foreign object or a flaw in the immune system not allowing the smooth muscle in the esophagus to produce contractions that push the food down to the stomach. Elliot's mega was NOT caused by constriction of the aortic arch. mega is extremely rare in Cavaliers. In fact, I didn't even know it existed in the animal world. I have met other families who have other breeds and are living with mega. We were't fortunate enough to have this choice as it happened so quickly. We had to reach deep down inside ourselves and find enough love and compassion to let Elliot go. The start up cost to repair mega begins at $8 which includes diagnostic testing and open chest surgery, and in some breeds heart surgery. While some dogs have a Bailey chair to hold them upright during feeding, others need feeding tubes. Theses tubes need to be changed surgically every 5 months or so approx $1500 each time. That along with specialized formula, the risk of pneumonia from acid reflux scarring the lungs, and a possible permanent tube must be installed, several grand more..plus treatment and even hospitalization for each case of pneumonia. We saw 2 vets, then went to two animal hospitals in two states to help Elliot. Both hospitals strongly advised to stop treatment, but for peace of mind I needed that second opinion. Elliot would have to grow up in pain. He would suffer thru pneumonia, surgeries, IV's. He would feel the tug of the feeding tube sewn to his chest wall when he moved about. He would never be able to taste the human or dog food that he'd smell, or eat with his parents. never in his life would he be able to chew on a rawhide bone. He'd never be able to jump up and chase butterflies with his dad. There was even "no guarantee" that he'd make it alive thru his first surgery. As his breeder and his mom I knew I had to be the one to be strong and say, "I'm taking him home."

Elliot was 9.5 wks old when he passed away. My daughter was having some issues with not having a father who loved her, a brother who moved away to a boarding school in another state, and my MS causing a deterioration this winter. I gave her Elliot ($1500 RV) to offer her some stability, unconditional love, and companionship. She helped deliver him, she took shifts with me holding him upright 12 hours a day to keep food in him, and he died in her arms. I made things worse for her, and had I'd of known the outcome at his birth I would have not done this to her. Unfortunately the symptoms of mega do not appear until solid foods are started on a pup. I start mine at 6.5 weeks.
Elliot regurgitated everything, even milk replacer, watered down soupy dog food, the pedialyte we pushed into him, and the pureed baby food and rice cereal we tried on him. If he didn't gurge it right away he'd vomit it up later even from the slightest movement. When we pushed the pedialyte and formula he would suffer from the pain of it in his pouch as it pushed up against his heart and lungs. I have 3 barium scans. If anyone suspects mega and wants to see what it looks like, send me a message. Elliot was a brave little boy who tried so hard to sit still for us and kept swallowing fighting down the nausea and the urge to vomit. If you have a puppy who gurges when given solids, and by gurges I mean it comes up after a minute or two of eating with no noise, and often has a lot of foamy vomit, your pup has mega. My first vet did not take my self diagnosis seriously. Don't fool around with it. Take your puppy to a hospital for barium scans and see if anything can be done. Elliot was gone in 2.5 weeks. But I'd rather have loved him and lost him, then to have never known this love at all. We received an outpouring of love from our Cavalier family as well as all our facebook friends. In losing Elliot we gain a new family or friends world-wide.

This video was created using Roxio 2011 software.

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