Explanation of why vertical from Dr Kathy:

The esophagus is not a rigid tube, and especially in megaesophagus it can be quite flaccid, with a large part of it “hanging” into the thorax. The lower esophageal sphincter is the entrance into the stomach and sits more at the dorsal aspect (top) of the thorax. The food, in the enlarged esophagus, just “hangs” in the chest. If the dog is fed just elevated, the food cannot just “jump” through the sphincter into the stomach. Whereas, when a dog is held vertically, the food has more of an opportunity to “fall” through the LES into the stomach.

In some dogs the LES is tight and opens infrequently, requiring the vertical position to be held for a longer time. In other dogs, the LES is opened all of the time, shortening the amount of time the pet needs to be held in an upright stance.

Unfortunately, I know of no fluroscopy studies done on the various methods of feeding. It would be great if we could have fluroscopic studies on many megae dogs, but, financially, it is not possible for most owners. Pressure studies on the LES would also be informative, but, probably aren’t going to be available, either.

Make sense?

Dr. Kathy
Redford, MI