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.

204 thoughts on “Megaesophagus & The Bailey Chair

  1. i just found a german shepard female spayed weighing in at less than 30 lbs….walking dead…i could not leave her on the street even though i currently am tAKIg care of 11 other street dogs..i am a realtor in foreclsure… after numerous test the vets(they say im good for it, i asked for a comp) she has this..both vets agree, on e also feels she has a restriction making digestion like a sand clock,,i am also treating hr for pneumonia..please help!~!

  2. Our dog has M/E. We’ve tried the bailey chair, slurry food mix, little drinks of water. He can’t keep anything down and is losing wieght. It now seems he might have aspirated some food. This does not look good. Any tips

  3. This chair was the thing that saved my dog’s life we were able to keep her and treat her for 1 year with the disease.
    Not easy, she had 4 AP’s and several sessions of nebolization to
    prevent it and along with another issue she had Diabetes was so had to regulate it and last sept she passed away.
    Donna is such a loving person and God bless her for developing this chair.
    Love to you all.
    Cinthia M.

  4. My 6 year old Havanese has difficulty swallowing water and aspirates some of it each time she drinks. She has had AP twice and I’m thinking that the Baileys Chair may help. What would be the best way to give her water in the chair? Would a little table (to rest the water bowl and her paws on) be better than the circular paw rest?. I live in England and as usual we are a little behind in terms of doggie care so everyone I talk to about it thinks I’m nuts. However if it can prolong my beautiful dogs life by even a short time it will be worth the ridicule.

  5. I have a 9mth old golden that I was training as an assistance dog for a wheelchair person. He has just been diagnosed with megaesophagus and so has been excused from the training program. We are going to keep him as a pet so urgently need a Baileychair. Anyone know where I could get one? I live in the Valais in Switzerland.

  6. I have a 4 yr old Airedale Terrior who has been diagnosed for almost a year now. She eats in a Bailey chair. The Bailey chair should really be customized for your dogs specific build. They will be spending a good deal of time in there so it should be comfortable. I am not very handy (just ask my wife) and I was able to build one. The DVD is a great help and it only costs about $80-100 to build. We always keep some medicine on hand in case she has a problem.

  7. I have a chihuahua/dachshund mix, diagnosed today if anybody has a little dog with this condition, I could use some tips.

    thanks

  8. I have a beautiful English Mastiff, Matilda, who has been suffering with the problem for over a year now. I will need directions on how to build the Bailey chair but, more importantly, what is the medication some of you have been talking about. My veterinarian did not mention there was any medication that could help with problems.

    I am fearful Matilda is starving to death. No one else seems to think so because she is at a good weight now. They forget that when she was first diagnosed, she was 40 pounds overweight.

    Please, someone, help me out.

  9. Clemson University currently has a genetics study underway in which anyone with a dog/pup diagnosed at or before the age of one (congenital megaesophagus) can participate. Here is a page that offers information you will need in order to participate:
    http://www.iwclubofamerica.org/Misc/Canine%20Megaesophagus%20Study.pdf

    The goal of our research is to identify the genetic basis for megaesophagus in order that a genetic test can be developed to allow for the identification of dogs that are capable of producing mega pups prior to breeding.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Peg McIntyre
    pam4031a@gmail.com

  10. We have a Bailey’s chair that we would like to donate if anyone needs one. It would accomodate a large dog (65-100 lbs) Please let us know. Paula

  11. Paula Carlson, I am in need of a Bailey chair like the one you describe. I would be happy to purchase it from you and pay for shipping. How do I get in touch with you?

  12. My giant schnauzer was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis on January 23, 2011. Two weeks later the M/E. She is lucky as she started the medicine immediately. For her she needed mestinon & immuran. That has helped a lot. Also an anit nausea medicine.

    However, I found that making her sit up to eat was the best(if you don’t have a chair). Then I spoon feed her & it make it take time(less chance for aspirating the food). She does best with chunky food. It seems to go right down to her stomach. I also rub her throat & chest for several minutes after she has eated. I bought elevated water bowls & mostly give her ice cubes for her fluids. Anything that can help the food on it’s path to the stomach.

    Don’t give up on your dog. Mine lost 8 pounds to begin with & has now maintained her weight.

  13. My Golden Sammi is at the emergency clinic where he was just diagnosed today with megaesophagus. My vet spoke to me about the chair. I went on line to research the disease. It seems a little scary. My other question is that I am not very handy and want to know if there is any place to have a chair built

  14. Hi have a 12 year old Golden Retriever who was diagnosed with M/E 18 months ago. Management of the condition is worth all the effort guys, just watch out for stomach/gut infections. Once diagnosed, they become quite susceptable to it, and we nearly lost him a few weeks ago. Take care, and don’t give up on any treatment – they’re worth it!!

  15. I have had good luck when my vet recommended Mylanta before meals. Also use a mini muffin pan for food and elevate it on a box, don’t allow too much water right away.

  16. I have a English Mastiff with megaesophagus. he has lost sooo much weight and is not doing so good. I have him on Reglan which seems to help but knocks him out also. His hips are also sore…does the bailey chair bother the hips?

  17. my collie, 20kg weight has megasophorus and I am hoping we will be able to make a baileys chair.
    it looks as though all the offers of a ready made one or the DVD come from USA.
    I am in Scotland, is there anyone in Britain to help?

  18. por favor necesito una silla de bailey para mi perro, es un golden tiene hoy me he esnterado que tiene megaesafago , no se donde puedo encontrar la silla. gracias

  19. My friend Howard Hiatt made a Baileys Chair for my golden retriever. He’s a full time carpenter and did an outstanding job. He lives in West Palm Beach, Florida. He can be reached at 561.248.6036 and is available to make a chair for anyone that is interested. He will need your dog’s measurements.

  20. I am adopting a 6 wk old great dane puppy nxt week that has megaesophogus, if anyone can give me any tips, b/c she is going to grow quite large so I am not sure how to do a chair b/c she will not be the same size for long, she only weighs 3 pounds right now and her brother is 6 1/2 pounds.

  21. Hi My dog Saga a 10 year old German Shepard is in need of a Bailey chair if any body has one please let me know, we are in the Mpls MN area, thank you.

  22. I I really need this great Bailey chair for my dog, he is a big dog, weights about 90 lbs..well he lost about 20 lbs.. is there a chair for sell please?
    thanks a lot, I live in New York

  23. Hi to Paula Carlson,

    Did you give your bailey chair you offered?

    thanks a lot,

    Anat NY

  24. Hi to Di in Scotland and anyone else
    I have a 2yr old GSD, who surprisingly we called Bailey! I doubt if he would sit in a Bailey chair, but the The Dogs Trust shows another type of chair which I am hoping I can build in time. We have to feed him 4 times a day and if we spot him drinking any water, we get him upright asap. He has just recovered from pneumonia and yesterday had a bad day, coughing and very weak. Got him on antibiotics immediately and he is improving again, thank God. It takes 2hours a day to feed him, his oesophagus is in very bad shape. We only discovered he had this illness a few weeks ago. He can only eat one type of food because he has a food allergy also. Hope we can keep him well long term.

  25. My Yorkie had numerous visits to the emergency room for shivering, whimpering, and vomiting, and pneumonia from the time I got her. Finally after 5yrs. old they discovered she had mega-esophagus. They did surgery on her and put a “button” into her stomach. I feed her through a tube 4 times a day and while she is being fed, I let her lap up some warm chicken broth or cold apple juice. That way she things she is filling herself up. After that, I hold her upright and the liquid goes down easily. She hasn’t had a problem since the surgery.

  26. My 10 year old yellow lab, Wally, has just been diagnosed with megaesophagus disease. We need a Bailey chair for an 85Lb dog. If you have any suggestions on where one can be purchased, please advise as soon as possible.

    Thank you,
    Leslie

  27. We rescued a litter of puppies from a kill shelter. All have long been adopted except for our little Taz (check him out at http://www.arf-il.org) who is now 5+ months old. Fortunately he went straight from momma’s milk to dry kibble and immediately started regurgitating his kibble and his foster mom took within days to the vet for diagnosis of ME. After doing fairly exhaustive research on ME, we have concluded that Taz has a fairly mild case. He can drink unlimited amounts of water with no aspiration and eating a slurry made from Honest Kitchen formula in upright position tend to mitigate his condition. He is robustly healthy and has steadily gained weight and grown in size very close to the size of his siblings (none of whom have mega esophagus). People are afraid to adopt him but we are committed to helping him in best possible way until he does find his forever home. He has outgrown his homemade Bailey chair (tall laundry basket with a pvc pipe to rest his front paws on) and we are now in the happy position of needing to purchase a Bailey Chair for him as he has grown too large for his tall laundry basket (He is 30 pounds and vet feels will only be 40-45 pounds when fully grown barring any major growth spurt.)

    Does anyone have blue print’s or spec’s on how to build a Bailey chair that they could email/mail to me? I am hoping to get it made locally to avoid shipping charges.

    And anyone who might like a playmate for their dog with ME, please email me as well. At almost 6 months, he has had not even one incidence of aspiration, aspiration pneumonia, and has gained weight steadily. This in addition to his drop dead gorgeous eyes and killer personality.

  28. Hi. I have a 68 pound 11 year old pointer with arthritiis and diabetes, but very much enjoying his life. He also was diagnosed today with megaesophagus. I keep reading about the Bailey chairs, but still have yet to find a specific resource to purchase one. Can anyone help me with this? thanks so much.

  29. Hi everyone;
    Our 6 year old standard poodle Sophie was just diagnosed with megaesophagus. She is only 37 lbs now. We are so glad to find this information. I will try the Mylanta. I was purchasing the very costly canned food at $2.00 per can. But found that dry puppy food can be moistened and mashed at a much lower cost. I am searching for a chair or a builder in the Central Illinois area. Thanks so very much.

  30. I have a 80 pound female Rotty who has just been diagnosed with Megaesophagus. Does anyone have a Bailey Chair they would like to donate? I cannot afford to buy one..

    Thank you so much!

    I live in Cottonwood, Arizona..

  31. i have a chair in pittsburgh that I can donate to anyone in the area that needs one.

    contact me at miketmartin at gmail dot com

    thanks.

  32. I have a Lab, Montana, who was just diagnosed with Megaesophagus. We live in the chicagoland area and would like to know if anyone has a Bailey chair they would like to donate…
    Thanks!

  33. My Golden Retriever named Bailey! was just diagnosed with Megaesophagus, does anyone have a Bailey chair that our Bailey could use or borrow? She is about 65 pounds. Please let us know. She is a beloved family pet and we are devasted by the news. email Jkenny000@charter.net

  34. I am so grateful there is some help. My 15 month old American Bulldog mix has aquired megaesophagus, and it is terrible to watch. The first vet told us she had gas. We would pay for a Bailey Chair to be built. She’s 40 lbs. We live in South Florida.

  35. My 14 year old doberman, Sasha was diagnosed with megesophagus 3 months ago. We built her a bailey chair which seems to help a lot during the day but she still vomits during the night – not sure what to do as she doesn’t like her head elevated due to neck arthritis – any suggestions?

  36. I am a volunteer for Florida Boxer Rescue (FLBR.org) in Central Florida. We have a rescue that was just diagnosed with a condition similar to Megaesophagus. We are praying that we will be able to find someone that is able to donate a chair for her to eat in an upright position.We know that with the economy these days everyone is financially strapped.
    Unfortunately as a 301c organization we survive solely on donations which go directly to payment of Vet care & extensive treatments. We have rescued 207 boxers to date & have never turned away a single boxer in spite of age or medical needs.
    I learned long ago that it never hurts to ask. A YES means you’ve gained something for a needy boxer & a NO means you haven’t lost a thing because you never had it in the first place.
    This boxer’s name is Lady Savannah and she can be found on our website at FLBR.org under available dogs. Check out the site if you’d like, whether you can assist us or not :o)
    always sincere,
    Sandy Dearness
    FBR Adoption Committee

  37. just discovered that you can view our website simply by clicking on my name :o) please respond to my email address,boxerific@att.net,if you can assist Lady Savannah :o)

  38. I built a bailey chair for our dog, but unfortunately he could not overcome the aspiration pneumonia and we had to put him down. So I would like to give the chair to anyone in need of it. I am in west palm beach and would deliver it any where from ft. piece to miami. It should fit any dog between 50 to 80 pounds. It worked well with our dog, but he would only drink water while in the chair.

  39. Randy i am in desperate need of a Bailey chair. I have a german Shepard mix that isn’t doing so well. I live in Miami. How can i get in contact with you. Is the chair still available? Please let me know.

  40. I have a seven week old Golden Retriever that has just been diagnosed with M/E. She is doing ok with feeding her upright, however, I feel that she is still not gaining weight sufficiently. We have to do 6-8 meals a day at 1/4 cup per feeding. She is getting a high quality puppy food. My question is is there anything that is good to supplement with for additional calories. She does not seem to have a problem with liquids so I was thinking about trying puppy formula, but I have done some research on that and found that studies have shown that it can cause cataracts later in life. I was considering trying a goat milk mixture or maybe human infant formula? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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