Thursday, July 7, 2016

Managing Chou Chou Briard's Hiatal Hernia



Why is Chou Chou on the staircase? ("I am waiting to eat!")

She was recently diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, a weakness in her esophagus that is causing GERD (reflux), especially at night. She gets burpy. 

To help her, I have adapted her eating in several ways.   


Now I divide her meal into 3 small meals a day instead of two, with the largest meal in the morning. By the time she is ready to sleep for the night, her dinner is digested. ("But I get treats, little crackers, before I go to sleep!")

She is eating Honest Kitchen's raw dehydrated food. After mixing with warm water, it has a soupy consistency, and the food can easily slide down her throat, unlike chunks of hard kibble. ("Oui! Kitchen food is very tasty!") 

And I am feeding her on the staircase. Her body is stretched upright, unlike a feeding table, and I hold the bowl up for her. This lets gravity do the work of a weak esophagus. Messy? Yes, she splashes the food on the stairs, so I gave her plastic placemats over the rugs. ("So happy to lick the placemats!") She gets small sips at a time; I take the bowl away for a few moments. ("I don't like that at all!")

There are supplements for digestion and inflammation, too, like Slippery Elm Bark, Turmeric Cucumin, HiPep, digestive enzymes, and probiotics.  

After eating, I keep her head up for a while, so the food doesn't come back up and cause the reflux. She has a special pillow for her head for this purpose, like people who have reflux might use a pillow or two to elevate their heads in bed.

She is doing much better, much less burpy. It's more work than putting kibble in a bowl and letting a dog gobble it down. But I can do this for her. She does so much for me!

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