Dog with rare condition eats in high chair - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Dog with rare condition eats in high chair

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Attention dog lovers out there! Would you let your dog eat next to you at the dinner table?

For one Michigan family, their dog Tink has a special condition, and it requires the Labrador retriever to get extra special treatment at supper time. 

Tink has been eating out of a Bailey Chair since 9 weeks old. It's basically a high chair for a dog.

That's because she has a condition called megaesophagus, which means when she eats, the food and water never makes it all the way to the stomach.

"The esophagus how it works is it kind of squeezes the food and water down in a wave like motion we call that peristalsis and because she can't do that, when she eats or drinks the food just stays in the esophagus," said veterinarian Dr. Jeremy Hutchinson. 

"When she was nine weeks old my brother had watched her," said Cori Sullivan, Tink's owner. "And she came home and one side of her stomach was flat and the other one was distended. And that's when the emergency vet had told us maybe this is megaesophagus."

Sadly, the survival rate is typically low. But that's where the Bailey chair comes in. It keeps Tink in an upright position when she eats, so gravity can do the work her esophagus can't.

Like a baby, it's a lot of work, a lot of patience, and most dog owners just don't have the time. But Tink's owners say it's worth it.

"Not knowing if we could care for her or even not knowing if we were going to euthanize, I cried for at least 4 days straight trying to figure out what was going to happen and how much money we were going to put into her," Cori said. "But every penny has been worth it, I wouldn't change it for the world."

Tink eats four times a day and after mealtime, just like a baby, it's burping time.

Bailey Chairs for dogs are available online and custom made to order. They range in price from just over $100 to around $400.