Gravity now gets food from Eli's esophagus into his stomach

September 02, 2016 01:17 PM

Eli the dog finally has a full tummy thanks to a custom made high chair.

The 7-month-old pup from Boise, Idaho, suffers from megaesophagus, according to KBOI News who reported the story, a condition that doesn’t allow food to travel from his throat to his stomach. Because of a special chair, which he’s been using during meals for three weeks, gravity is now getting food from his esophagus to his stomach.

“A ring was growing over the esophagus from the heart that normally should have broken down during development and it didn’t,” said veterinarian Dr. Baxter from Ada Animal Hospital, who treated the dog. “It allowed milk to pass through but not solid food.”

The pup was malnourished and half the size of other puppies in his litter, KBOI said. Savannah Amberson, a vet tech at the animal hospital, decided to adopt the needy pooch when his original owners couldn’t care for him.

“He had to be syringe-fed in a full liquid diet every two hours and that was for the first three months of his life,” said Amberson.

“[He] didn’t have a lot of calcium and protein and some of the nutrition, so he actually jumped out of one our technician’s arms and broke his leg,” Baxter added.

When three surgeries failed to work for Eli, there was a point when a normal life seemed impossible.

“The doctors sat me down and had the conversation with me you know you’re going to have to make a hard choice,” Amberson told KBOI 2News. “How much further you want to put him through, there’s really not much else we can do at this point.”

A special high chair that Eli would use during meals — five of them a day — remained the last option. Someone built one for Eli, and three weeks in, it’s working really well.

“For once in his life, he’s getting a full stomach,” Amberson said.

Amberson has been overwhelmed by the support from people near and far, who’ve learned of the dog’s story.

“I’ve been getting messages and phone calls at work from people in Ohio, Maine, California, Oregon, Arizona … all over about how Eli’s story was on their news stations and has touched their hearts,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I’ve never been so thankful and felt so much love.”

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