9 January

Hard Day For Gus, For Us

by Jon Katz
Troubled Day For Gus

It is true that megaesophagus is an up-and-down disease, it is an emotional thing for us and a difficult time for him. Every time we get a clear day or two, it is followed a hard day of uncertainty and disorder.

I wrote the other day that we seemed to have a handle on Gus and his illness, I barely wrote that when Gus began a very difficult two day period of vomiting, spitting up, a re-gurgitation of his food. He seems to me to be losing some weight, and today, I don’t believe he was able to digest any of his food, at least not as of 6 p.m.

We are seeing Dr. Fariello again on Thursday, and I’m not sure she has too much more to offer us. We spent a good deal of the day mopping up a lot of Gus’s food, but off of the floor and carpet.  You know the drill, some of you, a smell mess, all day.

The poor guy.

I believe the next step, if he doesn’t improve radically, is to see an internist, a specialist in this disorder, probably in Albany. We would have to have a long talk with Dr. Fariello about that. We have never consulted a veterinary specialist, it is a major stop for us, and it raises a lot of questions about how far we can go and wish to go.

Today, I thought Gus was suffering a bit, he was not himself, and that is understandable given he lost all of the food he had eaten. This could be a one-day phenomenon unrelated to his megaesophagus, or it could be getting worse. He could be sick, or he might have eaten something he shouldn’t.

We just don’t know. Gus does not seem in any way to be an unhealthy dog, at least not until today, he is lively, playful, affectionate, and energetic. This does not look like a sick dog, yet he is, and that makes this disease  especially confusing and emotional. We love Gus and are committed to figuring out just how to live with this disease.

Today, for the first time, he did not seem himself. We’ll see about tomorrow, this is a one-day-at-a-time thing.

The next three days might be fine but I see that doesn’t really mean anything, as I was told. The disease could return with a vengeance at any time. If Gus is losing weight and  suffers from starvation or malnutrition, that is new terrain for us.

But I do not believe he is there yet, and we are not there yet. I don’t want to be yo-yo’ing up and down every day, in my head, or on the blog, but I do wish to share the experience with you, as I promised.

We’ll figure this out on Thursday, but my guess is we will have to think about some other treatment options. We are prepared to do that.


  1. What a difficult situation with a young and otherwise healthy dog! I know you and Maria will do everything within reason to help Gus; I’m hoping for the best. .

  2. Did the vet say if maybe giving him some broth to drink would at least get some calories into him? I have also used a sort of gooey high protein gel when one of my older cats or dogs was refusing to eat. I’m sure the vet would tell you if it might be helpful, just tossing ideas out there. I wonder if cats can be affected with this disease as well as dogs.. we have a little former feral who seems to throw up any food we give her every few days, regardless of what it is. My husband has commented that it is like she doesn’t digest it, which is what got me wondering. I will have to do some research!
    Hope the good days outnumber the bad ones for Gus. So enjoy reading of his adventures!

    1. Margaret, thanks, I post updates on Gus but I don’t discuss the details of his treatment beyond that. It would make me crazy to do this online beyond what I am writing, thanks for your infor.

  3. So sorry to read this….hoping Gus has a good day today…he is such a happy little guy it’s upsetting to know he has this disease…it has to be very difficult to see him struggle..

  4. IF and that’s a big IF, you decide to try a Bailey Chair, please enlist the wonderful group of “makers” whom you have written about so eloquently in the past.

    With just a few simple things that you or they most likely have (boards, hinge, screws/nails) a functional, suitable chair could be made.

    My only concern is those “makers” would whip up a chair to end all chairs.

    Absurdist vision follows:
    No he doesn’t need a built in butt/back massager.
    No he doesn’t need headphones/speakers playing “Music to Make the Food Go Down”
    No he doesn’t need a LCD screen to watch TV (Animal Planet?)
    Or aroma therapy disfuser
    Or a heated seat
    Or …all manner of “silliness” like we seek for ourselves and then foist upon our animal companions too. (I think I’m reacting to current radio ad for a dog “spa” that features “in room massages” that owners can follow via an app on their phone. Talk about over the top!

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