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Everyone, meet Jake! Jake was born on August 6th, 2017 with congenital idiopathic megaesophagus. He was not diagnosed until he was 5 weeks old, when he began regurgitating every meal and losing weight.
Megaesophagus is a deadly disease. The nerves lining his esophagus are "dead" and do not function properly. Therefore the muscles that normally push food down into the stomach, do not work. Jake's esophagus is unable to empty the food out into the stomach, and so expands unnaturally. Food then will sit in the esophagus and then fall right back out of his mouth - which is regurgitation (very different than vomiting). Jake has to eat a special diet of blended foods and thickened liquids. He cannot eat normal food or drink water like a normal dog can.
He must also be upright while eating - he uses what is known as a bailey chair. The bailey chair holds him vertically while he eats. With the bailey chair, gravity helps the food travel down into his stomach. If we do not follow these methods, Jake gets very sick. He regurgitates his food, and can aspirate very easily. Aspiration pneumonia (AP) is our biggest danger with this disease. Many dogs with this disease unfortunately pass away from AP, even though every effort has been made to manage and treat them. There is no cure for megaesophagus.
Jake and his bailey chairs
Jake's life can certainly be very hard at times. He is on several special medications, which were made possible by a story written about him by GoFundMe.
While Jake has his bad days, his good days far outnumber them. He is a happy, mischievous, and an exuberant guy. He loves playing keep away and "you can't catch me". He has a love of life, and gives everything he does 110%. Jake's life expectancy is unknown - we didn't think he'd make it to his first birthday... which was on August 6th. Jake never gives up, so we will never give up on our Jakey boy.
Color photos in slideshow above by Erin Adams Photography and courtesy of GoFundMe