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Florentina V

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    Hello everyone! I have been researching this topic for a while now, since my dog had his first “gulping crisis” which got us to the ER in the middle of the night. By reading most of the forums, the majority of owners were saying it’s a reflux problem, so after X-Rays, Ultrasounds and blood work that did not show a problem, we decided to go for an endoscopy. Well, it turns out my dog has Follicular Esophagitis, something which is basically very new, from what I understood, the terminology is not even registered yet, but it’s being used as the disease resembles Follicular Gastritis, with the difference that the lymphoid follicles are on the esophagus, not on the stomach like in the latter. To describe it, the esophagus is full of hard follicles which sometimes get more inflammated and they obviously bother the dog and causes the gulps. My dog does not respond to any reflux or acid related medication. We tried this for 2 months to see if there was any change (my dog was waking up a few times at night for a few seconds to lick and gulp and I was watching her all the time to see if she was getting better, but this did not cease). The only medication it reacted to is prednicortone, which my vet decided we should use for another 2 months to lower the inflammation. She immediately responded to it and slept through the whole night. Now I use Flixotide Spray with AeroDawg chamber, because together with my vet, we tried to find something that works long term, without all the side effects of an oral corticosteroid like prednicortone. I give her a daily small dose in the evening, when her sleeping hour approaches. I want to share some things I noticed and talked about with my vet, that may help you indentify if your dog has the same problem:
    – the vet told me it is a very new disease, there is not much information you can find, he has only seen few cases and all of them are in the last year
    – the gulps happen mostly at night. Most of the time they cease fast, but every now and then the dog may have a big crisis, it can’t sleep/rest, the licking is continuous and the gulping is very intense. At the ER, they gave her a shot of Prednisolone and Dexamethazone combined, which was a big help. Now, if I anticipate a crisis, I just give her an extra “puff” of Flixotide to inhale from the chamber and it seems to work very well
    – my dog has atopic dermatitis (auto-immune disease). Researchers have discovered that having one kind of autoimmune disease can lead to another, so my vet told me the follicular esophagitis may be the result of an already flawed immune system
    – I also have noticed that if I distract her, she ceases to gulp and gets right back to it when the distraction is over. But, I believe this is not the a solution, as the problem cannot be kept under control this way.
    – my dog is on a restrictive diet for years due to the atopic dermatitis and does not eat other things. She is nowhere near essential oils, grass ( we have artificial grass). We tried splitting her meals/ not allowing her to eat in the evening in order to not go to bed with a full stomach. What I want to say is that I ruled out any factors that may have triggered the gulps. Nothing worked. I understand now it is an autoimmune disease and it is not triggered by external factors like the ones I mentioned.
    Some of you said you were massaging the dog’s throat and I too have done that in the past. It seems it relaxes the throat and it helps improve blood flow and reduce tissue stiffness and pain, so that is why it works to relieve the dog. As I keep her condition under control now, there has been no need for me to do this anymore.

    I really hope this helps! Talk to your vet if you’re getting concerned, maybe schedule an endoscopy if you feel your dog may have the same condition.
    I wish your fur babies a happy, healthy and long life!

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Florentina V.
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