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At A Glance
Ahoy there Matey...& yes, it is Matey, with a long "a". Matey is a 5 month old female purebred golden retriever that has recently joined the RAGOM family. She has been with us for a couple weeks now, while we were trying to get to know each other & figure out her medical issues. Matey is a very special little girl. She came from a family in northern Minnesota where she was supposed to be a mascot at a campground. Unfortunately, though, Matey has some swallowing issues and was referred to the University and was thusly surrendered to RAGOM instead.
Matey met our clan without any issues at all. In fact, she has become the family clown, keeping us entertained with her puppylike antics. She gets along great with our 5 goldens (one of which is Bo 09-300) & our 3 kids (ages 7, 13, & 16). She LOVES to play with Bo, her partner in crime, and play, play, play they do. Matey has not been exposed to cats yet, is mostly but not completely potty trained, kennel trained (settles nicely when in but needs a little coersion to go in), doesn't seem to have any issues with separation or thunderstorms, and is up to date on vaccinations and is microchipped.
Now for the complicated part...Matey has some swallowing issues...she gags on water and regurgitates the majority of her food. Thus to get keep hydrated Matey eats ice cubes instead. When Matey first came to us we tried a few things...thickening her water, raising her food dishes, but no avail, so off to the vet we went. The xrays didn't show any abnormalities so Matey was started on a medication trial. She was given Reglan 30 minutes before each meal to try to relax her esophagus, but unfortunately that didn't help either. Don't get me wrong...Matey is growing & gaining weight (she's up to 38 pounds) but she takes the round about way of getting her food down. She eats her food but then regurgitates the majority of it, which she then eats, and regurgitates and then finally eats and keeps down. So off to the University we go. There Matey had a test called an esophagram where they watched her under xray while she was eating and drinking. This showed that water and food have a hard time passing through her pharynx (the area in the back of her throat that connects the mouth and the esophagus). Once enough accumulates there the material will then pass to the esophagus. And even when it gets there the motility is still slow. This is most likely an issue that she was born with, with the muscles and/or nerves to that area not developing properly.
So now what?? Surgery is not an option, thus Matey will need a forever family that understands this will be a lifelong medical issue for her. Management will be on how Matey is fed...ice chips, preferably from an elevated water bowl...feeding Matey small, frequent meals, preferrably from a flat bowl rather than the typical round one and trying to keep her upright for 10 to 15 minutes after a feeding. If she doesn't improve with the dietary management, then drug therapy may be necessary. The good news is that Matey does great with treats. We make her sit nicely when she gets treats, so I think keeping her upright definitely helps. We have also tried putting her food in a cupcake tin recently so that she has to take a little bit from each section and that has also helped tremendously...no more regurgitation YEAH!!
If you are interested in this special little girl please contact your placement coordinator.