Canine Megaesophagus Study for Affected Dogs

Megaesophagus refers to a syndrome in which the esophagus becomes weak and flaccid, and subsequently becomes much larger than normal, hence the term megaesophagus. This occurs because the muscles of the esophagus lose tone. Once this occurs, the esophagus does not propel ingested food, air, and water into the stomach. Rather, these items remain in the esophagus for prolonged periods of time.

If you have a dog who has been diagnosed with megaesophagus, your participation in this study would be appreciated. To date, most of the participants have been German Shepherd Dogs, but they’d like to study any and all dogs with this problem. The dog must have been diagnosed with megaesophagus prior to the age of one year old.

1) Send a request via email to: — include your name, your’ship to’ address, your dog’s age, & breed, age of onset of symptoms & age at diagnosis.

2) You’ll be mailed a kit via snail mail, to be returned by you via snail mail. You will not need to go to your DVM, it is a simple cheek swab collection.

3) She is able to accept swabs from anywhere in the world.

Leigh Anne Clark, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
100 Jordan Hall
Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29634-0318

The above is important for the following reasons:

1) Request for cheek swabs — more samples needed/requested. Following parameters only apply: the dog must have been diagnosed at the age of one or before.

2) ANY BREED may be submitted. Focus is still on GSD as that is the initial grant parameter.

3) The cheek swabs will cost you virtually nothing.
Why this is important.

Being able to map the genes involved will ultimately lead to the ability to develop a test so that breeders can know before breeding which sire and dams are carriers or if they are in fact clear.

Please Note: Because of expense, please know that no direct results will be made available. Your affected dog and you can play a huge part in the advancement of this scientific endeavor to (eventually) eliminate this insidious disorder.

There is permission to cross-post this information. There are twenty-six known affected breeds, so should you belong to other breed lists, please share this information with all.

Megaesophagus-susceptible breeds include Irish Setters, German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Shar Peis, Great Danes, Miniature Schnauzers, Wirehaired Fox Terriers, Newfoundlands, Pugs, Labrador Retrievers, and Greyhounds.