Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs is a medical disorder characterized by an abnormal large esophageal pocket (distention). This abnormal distended esophageal pocket collects the recent meal and in doing so prevents it from reaching its normal destination, your bulldog stomach. This food is often “hacked up” whole as undigested food medically described as regurgitation.
In the brachycephalic breeds like French bulldog, American Bulldog and English Bulldogs, this regurgitated whole undigested food often ends up slipping down the wrong pipe (Trachea) landing in your bulldog lungs. That inhaled material triggers inflammation and often infection of the lower airway known by the medical term “Aspiration Pneumonia”. Although the cause of megaesophagus in pets is often unknown, there are several different potential disease processes in dogs and cats which can lead it: esophageal obstructions due to a foreign body, stricture, mass, neuromuscular diseases, infectious diseases, immune system abnormalities, hormonal disorders, and toxins.But Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs is most commonly due to inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis). There are many tests that should be considered but in bulldogs the evaluation of the soft palate plus chest and abdominal x-rays are the most important.
Managing your megaesophagus in bulldog and French bulldogs puppies requires multiple steps, first it is best that you feed smaller meals in a gruel consistency. The feeding should be done in an elevated position using gravity to move the meal downhill toward the stomach (see our video with demonstration showing a custom made chair made by Kelly, one of SCBR volunteers we named “Kelly’s Chair”). elongat or/and stenotic nares are some of the most common reasons to megaesophagus in bulldog and French bulldog, thus they should be repaired by an experience bulldog surgeon as soon as possible.
Bulldog puppies are rarely born with a Megaesophagus, the majority of megaesophagus in bulldogd and French bulldogs are acquired mostly due to esophagitis which is the inflammation of the esophageal mucosa lining due to chronic gastric reflux often compounded by one or few brachycephalic airway syndrome problems.
Dr. Kraemer’s Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Tip #1 (Vet4HealthyPet.com): The content expelled after regurgitation due to megaesophagus in bulldogs and french bulldogs is often whole and expelled soon after your dog ate. In contrast vomiting contain gastric content which is usually partially or totally processed and digested and is typically bile stained.
Dr. Kraemer’s Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Tip #2 (DrKraemers.com): Chest and Abdominal radiographs combined with barium dye contrast material are recommend when attempting to diagnose Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs,
Dr. Kraemer’s Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Tip #3 (StemCell4Pet.com): For serious cases of bulldog megaesophagus I recommend a special chair that forces you bulldog puppy to eat in an upright near vertical position. Try to keep you bulldog puppy at that elevated position for additional 10 min after feeding (see our “Kelly Chair” Video)
Dr. Kraemer’s Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Tip #4: For Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs I recommend a blend prescription smooth watered down gruel puree like diet, you can also add a daily anti-vomit and anti-reflux / anti-acid medication.
Dr. Kraemer’s Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Warning #1: Due to their undeveloped immune system bulldog and French Bulldog puppies are especially vulnerable to life threatening compilation from aspiration pneumonia. Bulldog aspiration pneumonia due to megaesophagus should be treated aggressively with antibiotics. All of those case should be considered serious and potentially life threatening.
Dr. Kraemer’s Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Warning #2: Bulldogs and French Bulldog puppies suffering from Brachycephalic syndrome, like elongated palate, stenotic nares and hypoplastic trachea are at a higher risk of incurring megaesophagus
Dr. Kraemer’s Megaesophagus in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Warning #3: large dry lumpy food, is more likely to get trapped in the dilated pocket of the megaesophagus, the food should be smooth and have even consistency. You can blend it in a food processor or soak in water