Yesterday’s endoscopy revealed that Edward’s stomach had improved very slightly from the acid burns. Perhaps the anti-acid medication has helped a little. However, as he still keeps vomiting, the vet started to suspect that the acid burn may not be from ingested acid as we thought at first, but from his stomach acid. A dog's stomach has large amounts of extremely strong acid, with a pH level between 1 and 2. (pH7=neutral)
Acid from the stomach should not be able to enter the oesophagus because the oesophageal sphincter (the muscular ring at the lower end of the oesophagus) is normally closed except for when food is passing. In Edward’s case however, the sphincter was actually wide open all the time, causing the acid to flow freely from the stomach into the oesophagus. This is apparently an extremely rare condition, and MAY be caused by an anti-immune syndrome. The vet performed a test and took samples which have been sent off to Germany, where they have facilities to confirm this diagnosis. We will not get the result for another week. What will happen if it is confirmed, we still don’t know.
In the meantime we hope Edward will continue to fight for his life. His condition is very bad now. He has lost almost a quarter of his body weight and he was a skinny dog to begin with. He is weak and exhausted. Still, despite his pain and discomfort, he seems to find some joy in spending time with us, not to mention his chickens.
Yesterday we managed to persuade him to eat a tiny amount of food - hamburger meat, a few pieces of chicken and some cheese. Maybe a few teaspoons full all in all. The good news is that he managed to keep it down. We held him in a vertical position for about an hour afterwards, so as to help gravity keeping both the acid and the food in the stomach long enough to at least start digesting.
Edward’s Dad built a makeshift ramp for him to lie on in the bedroom, tilted just enough to make the juices run downwards. He actually went to sleep there and we all got some rest until 5 o’clock this morning, when the drooling and heaving started again. Mum took him outside for a long walk. Not far, just around the neighbourhood. We walked slowly around and around for two hours, enjoying the sunrise and the beginning of a beautiful sunny day. We let the chickens out and watched the sheep eat their breakfast in the forest behind the house.
Now Edward is resting again, before we’ll go back to the clinic for his daily IV drip.