Megaesophagus & The Bailey Chair

I get so many visitors to the site looking for information on Megaesophagus & Bailey Chairs, I’m updating the post. If your dog has just been diagnosed, I want you to know there are lots of people out there who are dealing with the same thing and want to share what they’ve learned.

I recommend joining the Yahoo megaesophagus group—they’re active, responsive, & helpful.  Look under “Files” for years worth of invaluable information on everything to do with megaeshophagus.  There is now a Facebook support group for megaesophagus which is also active & growing.

Megaesophagus is a condition in which a dog’s esophagus is enlarged to the point that food remains in the esophagus and never makes it down to the stomach and is instead regurgitated. The muscle contraction and relaxation that normally takes place to move food down to the stomach doesn’t work. Megaesophagus can be present since birth or can develop in adult dogs. If left untreated, it can cause a range of problems, including starvation and aspiration pneumonia.

  • The Mar Vista Vet site has a crash course on megaesophagus, including:
    • how regurgitation differs from vomiting
    • x-rays comparing a normal esophagus to a megaesophagus
    • interactive videos demonstrating megaesophagus
    • plus information on cause, diagnosis, & treatment

The Bailey Chair was designed by, Donna & Joe Koch, the owners of a dog (Bailey) diagnosed with megaesophagus. The dog sits in a “begging” position to eat, drink, or take medication and gravity does the work to bring what’s ingested to the stomach. There are a few ways you can acquire a Bailey Chair:

  • The creators will send you a DVD or video of instructions for building your own Bailey Chair for $6.00 to cover costs. Send email to Matthew1@earthlink.net to inquire about the address.  (Find out more in the Yahoo Megaesophagus Group.)

This “highchair” for dogs can be made of different materials and in different sizes to accommodate small and large dogs.
smallbaileychair.jpg largebaileychair.jpg

With proper eating position, diet, and medication, these dogs can have almost normal lives. Like Roxie, Rocket, Jasmine, Mattie, Diyoji, and in particular Tobin, whose caretakers’ describe their trials, errors, and successes in ongoing journal entries.

192 thoughts on “Megaesophagus & The Bailey Chair

  1. I have not seen a version for cats. Clearly they’re going to be harder to restrain. I’ll keep my eye out for it and post any information I find. And please let me know if you find something.

  2. my dog nala needs a baileys chair, i am so not a handy gal LOL , i need a chair made does anybody know of some where u can buy one, any help is appreciated, thanks

  3. Please send email as to where I send the $6.00 for inst ructions for the bailey chair. I need an address thanks

  4. I have a Bailey Chair I made for my Airedale Terrier who has passed. He weighed about 65 lbs
    I’m in North New Jersey, its free to anyone who wants it

    Joe

  5. hello,

    My beautiful wolf/husky who weighs about 90lb. has been through hell these last few days. He was having trouble breathing and turned out to be aspiration pneumonia and also pneumothorax caused by megaesophagus. They lost him on the operating table Wed. night, but was brought back and given a second chance. I am terrified of this happening again and am looking for information on this chair. Anything I can do to give him a long good life, I will do. He was diagnosed last year with epilepsy after having several seizures and has been on medication ever since and knock on wood hasn’t had a seizure in over one year. Now this happened, he is so special and smart and so beautiful that it hurts to look at him! Any help from anyone is greatly appreciated! By the way, he was 6 years old yesterday on Thanksgiving.

  6. Several of you have contacted me privately regarding the Bailey chair inquiring about the cost, etc. Please note that all of these chairs are custom made based on the individual size of the dog. The chair is NOT a one-size-fits-all. There are several measurements that must be obtained on your dog before we can accurately make the chair.

    Please note that my husband and I are more than willing to help you. If you still are interested, please contact me at my email address listed above. Thanks

  7. Joe, I am also in North New Jersey and have an akita/border collie mix who was 72 pounds but has lost some since megaesophagus took over. I am looking for a Bailey chair. If yours is still available I would definitely be interested in it. Thank you.

  8. Hi everyone – thank you for everyone’s interest in the Bailey chair. I have added a new email that I would like you to use when inquiring about the Bailey Chair. The new email is baileychair01@yahoo.com.

    As I have stated in earlier replies, the Bailey chairs are custom made out of wood for durability, but are very reasonably priced. We recently shipped one to California (from Michigan) for a 90lb lab and the total charges (for materials and shipping) were $125.00.

    If anyone is still interested, please do not hesitate to contact me at my new email address.

    Thank you for your time,
    Oleisa Moor

  9. I am looking for a Bailey Cahir for my 8 month old German shepherd puppy, Paige. She has megaesophagus. I don’t knwo how to find these chairs and could sure use the help for my girl. I could probably have one built if I knew the components or had a diagram.
    Thanks to anyone who is able to guide me.

  10. this site states:
    They will send you a DVD or video of instructions for building your own Bailey Chair for $6.00 to cover costs. Send email to Matthew1@earthlink.net to inquire about the address.

    I emailed on 4/22 and am still waiting for a reply. can someone help me?

  11. I am looking for a Bailey chair for my cat. Am most likely going to have to get creative. Anyone know of any designs?

  12. I am looking for a Bailey chair for my Border Collie – male weighing about 40 lbs.

    Can anyone help?
    Dec. 20, 2009

  13. I want to suggest you join the Yahoo megaesophagus group and post about your needs for a chair there. You should have more luck.

    Also, there is now a Facebook support group for megaesophagus.
    I suggest also posting your question in the Discussion area.

    In addition to the video you can get on how to build a chair (not sure if this address matthew1@earthlink.net is still active), apparently a couple has started building the chairs and sells them for the cost of the materials. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the info. and photos of the chairs.

  14. I am looking for a bailey chair for my 40lb border collie that was just diagnosed. I live in Lake St. Louis, MO.

  15. Anyone looking for info on building a chair should go to Yahoo Groups and join the megaesophagus group. If you simply send an email to Matthew1@earthlink.net with your address, she will send you a DVD detailing how to build the chair. (Her husband demos all the way through) There are only 3 measurements to your dog to take and, it’s really not that difficult. In the group site you can also see pictures of chairs with dogs in them as well as various other options that owners have come up with such as a young german shepard in a trash can, Jack Russell type in a mailbox stood on end, etc. Until you can get a chair (or its equivalent) feed your dog in an upright position, such as from the top of the dresser, kitchen counter, etc. whatever is tall enough that he or she is almost as vertical as possible, except for the head. Good luck!

  16. I am looking for a Chair for a 4 month old Great Dane Im fostering.I picked her up 4 days ago and being a Great Dane should weigh 40lbs and she was only 15lbs,Her owners who gave her up couldnt deal with the conddition and Marsha was slowly starving to death.Luckly since comming to me she has already gained about 2lbs.
    I feed her 6 times a day the liquidy diet,after each meal I sit with her 5-10 mins,If its a bad sitting meal I have tosit holding her up for almost an hour.She is well worth it but a Chair would make a huge diffrence.
    I have an ad up on Kijiji and got an email from someone with the school district saying they are thinking of making Marshas Chair a class shop project it they get instructions for the kids that are easy to follow.I copy pasted the instructions from this site to them and also gave the the addy to this site.Hoping to get a video to them as well.

    :)

  17. Sabrina, how lucky for Marsha that you took her in. That’s wonderful! Have you joined the yahoo group linked to in the post above? They’re very active and helpful. I hope you’ll let me know how the class project turns out. What a great project for them.

  18. hi there
    i work for dogs trust in scotland and we currently have a dog with ME
    WOULD ANY OF THE MAKERS OF THESE CHAIRS BE WILLING TO OFFER A HOMELESS DOG ONE OF THE CHAIRS FOR FREE ?
    HE IS A CROSS BREED STUNNING BOY AND IS LOSING WEIGHT BECAUSE OF THIS PROBLEM :(
    PLEASE EMAIL IF YOUS WANT A PHOTO OF HIM!
    VIVA_VIOLA2004@YAHOO.CO.UK

  19. My dog was just diagnosed with Megaesophagus and I am going to make a bailey chair I found on e-how written instructions on how to make the bailey chair. I don’t want anyone sending me a video in the mail DVD or VHS I would rather be able to look it up on you tube or something instead of waiting for it in the mail. So there is an idea maybe someone could do an instructional video of the chair being constructed and post it to youtube and save some of us the hassle of waiting for a video in the mail. I am still angry and frustrated that my beautiful, playful, lovable dog who was absolutely normal 2 and a half weeks ago has lost 15 lbs and now can’t eat normally like before. He was diagnosed with idiopathic megaesophagus. I love him so much and it hurts so bad to see him struggle and I am going to make his chair asap but they could make it easier to find the plans for the chair.

  20. After a lot of research, we believe our cat (Bailey) has this. We bought a crate to place her food bowl on. We also mix her kibble in with canned food and pat it all down. She eats way too fast, so this helps to slow her down to also reduce any regurgitation. I was not aware there was a yahoo group, so thank you for posting this!

    Bonnie & Bailey (the cat)

  21. My french bulldog was just diagnosed with megaesophagus.

    I have tried to elevate her dog bowls, but she grabs the food and wants to eat from the ground. She also wont take the food from me when I brace her between my legs. I have tried a few things and nothing seems to be working.

    I would love to get her a bailey chair. I’m not handy. Is there anywhere to buy one? I like the plastic looking one in the top picture as it looks comfortable.

    Thanks!!!

    Vanessa

  22. My 12 lb miniature poodle has just been diagnosed with ME. (scary) I am in Vancouver, BC and am looking to get a Bailey Chair. Does anyone know of someone who builds them?

    Thanks,
    Brenda

  23. We have a 13 year old Havannese who has been diagnosed with Mega esophagus as well. We are awaiting test results for Myasthenis Gravis as well. He has a hard time walking and is regurgitating due to the Mega Esophagus. We just had a peg tube placed to give him nurishment and medications to try to help. I currently am feeding him on the couch with his body leaning against mine in a totem pole position for the feedings and for 30 minutes after. I am not sure the bailey chair will work for him because his weakness in his back legs. Does anyone have any ideas on what we could do to make his feedings more pleasureable? We love him dearly and do not want to lose him to this.

  24. Lori,

    I built a Bailey Chair for some friends whose Retriever “Charlie” had ME as well as hip displasia.
    The chair absolutely will work for your dog as it actually sits on it’s butt and doesn’t need to use it’s rear legs. The front legs also help it stay upright. If you get the video and use the proper measurements the chair is self supporting. Charlie actually learned to back into the chair and only need help to sit up until the front leg support was slotted in.

    Hope this helps as I know the chair does the job. Charlie lived for a further 14 months before he died of other causes.

    Robbi

  25. Where do we get the video on how to make the Bailey Chair?
    Or better still, does anyone have one to fit a 70lb (and dropping) Golden who’s the love of our life.

  26. Does anyone have a Bailey Chair that will fit Reggie, our 67 lb. Boxer x AmStaff ? He is a smooth coated, fit, and deep chested guy…just diagnosed with ME. We live in Bend, Oregon.

  27. i am looking for a bailey chair (small)we live in london please email back asap thank you Graham

  28. My australian Cattle dog, Dingo has megaesphagus. what is the cost of a bailey chair. Medium size dog.

  29. I have a 60 lb Lab that has been diagnosed with megaesophagus and I would like to get a Baily chair built for her.

  30. I need a Bailey chair for my chocolate lab who weighs about 65 pounds. Can someone make one for me, or does someone have one? Thanks so much.

  31. Hi to all.
    My 7 yr old “mix of many breeds” has just been diagnosed with ME and M. Gravis! The M. Gravis is fixable we hope but for some reason the ME doesn’t get better. I am going to build a chair (note that I am texting without having first built one and used it) from the directions on this website and it doesn’t seem all that hard. I’ll hand saw if I have to (Hand saw very cheap at hardware store) to build it and I am amazed at how many people have commented about desperately looking for one without trying to build one! The only hard part about the directions is that the “plywood pillow circular” thing is confusing. I think it is a dowel type thing which I will wrap in a towel to increase the diameter and comfort. I also expect to add a footing to the front as my dog is a spaz and will slide forward I’m sure.

    As far as a CAT goes, could it be built as for a small dog but with a harness on the cat and a hook to the back to hold the cat in? Be sure that the harness doesn’t put any pressure on the stomach or the throat. This part may have to be creative. Straps around the ribcage and shoulders should be ok.

    Wish me luck, heading to the hardware store now…..

  32. My elderly chow has been diagnosed megaesophagus. Why does noone sell Baileys chairs? I live in London, England. i saw one other person looking for one in London..Im not handy, I would have to find someone to build one for me, anyone know of anyone who has a baileys chair for sale? I am desperate..Also does anyone know the best way to give water to a dog with megaesophagus? I have been holding her upright/vertical for feeding and sometimes for drinking and then after eating I hold her up for an additional 20 minutes so that all the food goes down. I just want her to make it! The vet doesnt seem too optimistic..help

  33. I have an 18wk old / 5lb dachshund puppy that was recently diagnosed with megaesophagous. His name is Jawz. We are looking for someone to build him a bailey chair. I am a vet tech and I know to well the back issues that come with having a dog with a long torso, so I am concerned with making sure it has enough support to help him withstand a life time of sitting upright. I am willing to pay although I cannot pay a lot.

  34. Thanks so much for all of your comments – its been helpful in the construction of our own Bailey Chair. Everyone seems so positive and I appreciate that. I do wnat to say however, that I have felt discouraged and upset that my 2 year old dog, Pete, will probably require this care for life. Makes it harder to travel or vacation without the right pet sitter – we are talking about a dog with special needs now. From what I’ve read I have to accept that this is probably reality and we will have to deal with this for the next 10 years! Am I the only one feels angry and bummed out? I love him but this seems so hard and time consuming! Trying to stay encouraged and will update all on the results of the chair – It will be completed tomorrow afternoon! Thanks for listening (reading) and wish you all well!

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