For the immediate issue, these pups should be managed by small frequent feeding throughout the day, in vertical position and held vertical for 15 minutes after each feeding. I am assuming that you will keep at least both of the presently affected pups, and any others that develop signs, correct? Generally idiopathic mega-e has a pretty positive prognosis, with proper care. You will get lots of good ideas from the group.

If these are GSDs. there are so many affected puppies that you should be able to get advice from other GSD breeders as well. The national club has done a great deal of research on the genetics, and you should be able to pull articles through your national club. As far as GSDs are concerned, their national club is very responsive and is engaging in further research on this as we speak! It is rampant in that breed and happens to so many breeders, “good” and “bad”. It isn’t that they have had puppies turn up with megaesophagus that tells us much about them, it is what they do about it.

It is great to hear stories of responsible, helpful breeders. It is my personal opinion that it is a measure of the breeder as to what they do when they learn of a problem with a dog they bred. I’m sure none of us would give our babies up, but the breeder’s support can mean the world, especially when you are feeling beaten down by a pup’s health problems.

I have to agree that a lot of breeding practices leave a lot to be desired. However, for a problem like megaesophagus, which often seems to be recessive when of genetic origin, and for which no genetic test is yet available (that I know of), it can be awfully hard to for even a very conscientious breeder to be
certain genes for it are not present, until or unless a dog with megaesophagus is birthed. The problem is that a recessive genetic problem can skip generations, and sometimes many generations, before it shows up. So having two breeding lines that do not show the problem for several generations is no guarantee it will
not show up if those two lines are bred.

If one dog in a breeding line has a single recessive gene for a problem like megaesophagus, then some of the pups probably will also, but none will have the problem, because none will have more than one of the gene, when two are required before it is manifested. As long as dogs in that line are never
interbred, the problem will never be manifested (but many in the line will still probably carry a single gene for it), as long as the line is only bred with other lines that have none of the gene. Since many lines presumably have none of the gene, it may be a number of generations before the original line is bred with another line that also possesses a single copy of the gene, when statistically about half the offspring will also be symptom free carriers, about a fourth will have the problem, and about a fourth will be free of the gene. For dogs whose megaesophagus is caused by a recessive gene, there will statistically be about twice as many dogs that have only one of the gene and are symptom free carriers.

So if perhaps 1 in a 500 dogs (merely for the sake of an example – not saying this is true) had megaesophagus caused by a recessive gene, then there would likely be about 2 more in that 500 that were symptom free carriers. So if you mated 2 dogs in the 500, the chance of both of them carrying the gene would be small, but if you did enough such matings,  the probability of eventually having two with the gene would become significant.