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Sketch: The Missing Months of Dealing With Megaesophagus! Part Two

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As any dog lover knows, emergency surgeries, complications, tests, long vet stays… it all costs money and lots of it. Knowing Auburn wasn’t going to be cheap with their tests on Sketch, we began a “Go Fund Me” fundraiser for Sketch. Several people suggested it and while I wasn’t thrilled with asking for help, I knew I had to, for Sketch, but also for Chloe – my youngest daughter (13 yrs old when this all started) and Sketch’s “soul mate.”

Chloe has worked HARD doing her part in Sketch’s care.  She has tirelessly held Sketch up after feedings, spent countless hours in prayer for him, been up all night with him more than once, held him while I’ve poked needles in him for sub q fluids and medicine injections, cleaned up more vomit/regurge than most people have even seen in their life, and so much more.

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She told me herself that people would help us to Save Sketch – we only had to ask.  20140906_144130_Android

And so we did…. and she was right.  People cared and they gave with all their hearts.  It was humbling to see the outpouring of love our poor sick “free” dog on Craigslist was getting.  People gave on the online Go Fund Me site and they gave to us privately. People just poured their hearts and money into our Sketch and Chloe’s hearts.  It was truly an incredible experience!  We raised almost four thousand dollars to go towards Sketch’s ever increasing medical expenses! It helped us more than I can say – both financially and in our hearts.

Picnic lunch and walking while Sketch was having tests done at Auburn University Small Animal Hospital.

Picnic lunch and walking while Sketch was having tests done at Auburn University Small Animal Hospital.

Finally, Auburn gives us a diagnosis for Sketch.  It was the Megaesophagus as I’d suspected, but he also had a kink in his intestines which was making it that much harder for food to move through his system. Another surgery would be required in order to fix this kink.  We took Sketch home and began planning to take him back to Auburn for this next surgery.

Before we could even begin to plan, Sketch bloated AGAIN.  I’m still not even sure how that happened as we were still hand feeding him very small meals, numerous times a day, but it did happen.  And I must say, as far as Great Danes and bloat goes…. PLEASE, PLEASEif you suspect any possibility of bloat, get an x-ray.  Do not just go with what your vet says, no matter how much you love and trust them.  Get x-rays.  I LOVE our vet!  I truly do, and can’t imagine taking my dogs anywhere else, but both times that Sketch bloated, they said they didn’t think it was bloat at all. He didn’t present like most dogs do that bloat, but because I insisted on x-rays, they were able to catch it and save him.

Back to surgery Sketch went and once again, there was torsion.  He had the gastropexy done during the first bloat surgery, but it did NOT stop the torsion from occurring again for some reason.  It wasn’t as severe, but it still happened.  A lot of Great Dane owners believe that gastropexy will completely prevent torsion with bloat, but that is NOT true.  Yes, it can help, but it’s NOT a guarantee.  

Sketch made it through another emergency surgery for bloat with torsion (they also corrected the kink in his intestines while in there) and once again we were more thankful than words can say.  When he was able to come home again, it was back to upright feedings, vertical holds, sub q fluids and tons of love.

Sketch getting sub q fluids and love from Chloe.

Sketch getting sub q fluids and love from Chloe.

Weight loss still being such a huge problem, we began checking into feeding tubes.  We talked to our local vet and decided to try a temporary one.

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Sketch home from getting his first temporary feeding tube.

We were so excited to be able to bypass his no longer working esophagus and use the tube to go straight into his tummy with the MUCH needed nutrition.  It was awesome.  While it lasted…..  On only day two of having the feeding tube, Sketch stood up and regurged the tube right out of his tummy.  We were devastated.  Our vet looked to see if there were different tubes we could try, or something we could do, but wasn’t successful in the search.  If we want to do a feeding tube, it will need to be a permanent one instead of a temporary.  We’re currently continuing to feed him small meals with the highest calorie food we’ve been able to find and doing vertical holds.  He had recently gained a little over 10 pounds, but sadly lost a good bit of it during a bout of aspiration pneumonia.

We’re currently continuing to feed him small meals with the highest calorie food we’ve been able to find and doing vertical holds after each time he’s fed.  He had recently gained a little over 10 pounds, but sadly lost a good bit of it during his first bout of aspiration pneumonia.

Megaesophagus is a horrible disease, but many dogs still live long lives with the proper care.  We’re still struggling to get weight on Sketch and keep it on him.  He can’t run and play the way he used to due to needing to not use up any calories, but there’s still a light that shines from him and lets us know that he is NOT done with this world – he still has more to do, share, experience, and give.

Sketch is a very inspiring Great Dane with a will to live unlike any I’ve witnessed in my own life so far. His joy is utterly contagious and makes you want to experience life beside him.  God has answered many prayers concerning Sketch and I’m curious to see what happens next in this life we now share with our MegaE dog.


Sketch and Daddy praying 🙂


Sketch, Chloe, and Isaiah

Do you have a dog with MegaE?  I’d love for you to comment and tell me your story!  With knowledge being shared, more dogs can be saved!


Until next time, Sketch says to have a wonderful day of full tummies and lots of extra love!

Sketch and Chloe

Sketch and Chloe

About D. Smith

First, I'm a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Grew up in the faith, but didn't truly recognize the treasure that He is until later in life. Also, I'm happily married with four children, six dogs, and one cat. Why, yes.. I did say six dogs. I know that blows many people's minds. Let me blow it a little more by letting you in on the fact that four of the six are Great Danes! Yes, I did say Great Danes. Yes, they are big, and yes they do live in the house, and yes they can eat a lot :) And most of all.... yes we are a little nutty, but we wouldn't have it any other way! Great Danes are AWESOME! The other two dogs are an Australian Shepherd and a Border Collie mix - just in case you were wondering.... :) Now that I know what it really means to follow Him who first loved me, I cherish and rejoice in who He is. I long to show others this truth so that they may also come to full understanding of what His love really means for their life. In addition to being a Christ follower, I'm also a dog trainer. Dogs just have a way of getting right up close to your heart and sharing your life in ways that not all people can. Perhaps God created dogs to show us humans how to love unconditionally in addition to being our helpers. I decided last year to go back to school in order to get my Christian counseling degree. Later, once I've graduated, I also plan to use my skill as a dog trainer to help people train their own Service Dogs for issues such as mental illness, autism, pain related illnesses, and other similar issues, along with offering counseling services for them as well. I am looking forward to seeing how the Lord will move in my life from this point forward! With God, all things are possible!

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