Around five months ago, Troy caught a cough and as his regular vet was away, the one I consulted gave him antibiotics and an anti histamine. In a week it did the trick and all was well.
Over 15 days ago he caught another cold and a recurrence of the same cough. I called his regular vet who prescribed antibiotics and anti histamine. But this time the cough was so bad that he started throwing up. So the vet came over, saw him and added to the medication some more to help control the throwing up. After five days with no improvement he prescribed some more medication with some cortisone. After another five days with things getting even worse I consulted another vet. He came over and saw Troy, changed most of the medication and said to try for another five days. This brought us into the feast vacation where the whole world comes to a screeching halt.
Troy got progressively worse and I was constantly on the telephone with the second vet. I finally suggested we put him on some fluids as I was afraid of dehydration The vet agreed and told me to put him on “Ringer” and “Glucose” 125 ml each twice a day. I asked if he suspected what was wrong and he said it is probably something in the esophagus. I asked what the treatment was and he said “None. It is terminal”.
I went into deep shock. I said we haven’t even had an X-ray so how can you tell? So he said yes, we need an X-ray and I have one in my clinic but bring him right away as I am travelling in two hours! His clinic was at least over an hour’s drive away from where I live!
Next day which was the first day of the feast, I tried to get the telephone number of the Military Veterinary Hospital, but was given three wrong numbers by Telephone Directory! So decided to take Troy and go to get an X-ray and find out what is happening. I drove there in an hour, got lost a bit, then finally found the hospital. It was closed! The young conscript there on guard duty told me that they don’t have a telephone and that they would be open the next day.
By that time I was desperate with worry and felt so frustrated. I don’t know how to get to a lot of places in the outer Cairo area, my driver knows the way, but my driver was on his feast vacation in Aswan. I was on my own. Even the gardener was due for his vacation as well. So I asked him to postpone his vacation for one day as I needed him to take care of Troy while I drove.
Before finalising these plans my friend and neighbour who introduced me to Animal Welfare took over, got me the name and address of the vet most of the reputable shelters use because of his extreme professionalism. She called him for me and we talked and he said to bring Troy over the next day. His clinic is in one of the new areas of Greater Cairo in the extreme north called the Fifth Settlement. To me this was Mars. My friend and neighbour, Troy’s guardian angel and the saviour of my sanity, said she would come with me to show me the way.
Next day we left at 10.45 and arrived there just before 12 noon which was the time of our appointment.
The vet, a young man, was very good with Troy, who took to him right away. The first thing the vet did was weigh Troy. In the last 15 days he had lost 20 kilos! I was shocked. He then took him in for a chest X-ray.The first one showed no obstruction in the throat or the chest, but there was a shadow on the esophagus. He had to take two other X-rays, but finally decided to take a coloured one to see exactly what the problem was. By the time these were done I was a wreck, for I remembered what the last vet had said about anything in the esophagus being terminal!
Finally all the X-rays were ready and the vet explained to me the meaning of megaesophagus !
It happens to dogs of all breeds and sometimes they are born with it. It is when the esophagus does not function as it should by transferring the food and water from the mouth to the stomach. It is open and does not contract to push the food or water down! My heart sank. But the vet quickly reassured me that there is a way to get around that. Not a cure, mind you, but a way to help the dog eat and keep his food. But more importantly, Troy had also contracted pneumonia from excessive throwing up. Some of the liquids had secreted into the chest cavity and caused this pneumonia. So while trying to keep him hydrated through IV fluids, the vet also gave him medication to treat the pneumonia and some to help with the vomiting.