Viagra May Help Dogs With Rare Eating Disorders | Health info

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(Health Day)

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A drug that has helped millions of men reinvigorate their sex lives appears to treat a rare, but often fatal, eating disorder in dogs, researchers say.

The state is called megaesophagus. It is an enlargement of the esophagus and a loss of its ability to move food to the stomach, which leads to blockage of food in the lower esophagus. Without treatment, dogs with the disease can regurgitate their food and suck it into their lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia, the researchers explained.

“The literature tells us that many dogs with the disease die from aspiration pneumonia or are humanely euthanized due to poor quality of life within eight months of diagnosis,” study co-lead Jillian Haines, a veterinarian at Washington State University, told Pullman. .

Haines and colleagues administered liquid Viagra to 10 dogs with megaesophagus. The drug relaxed the smooth muscle of the lower esophagus so that it was open enough to allow food to pass into the stomach.

“If you look at the literature, there are no medications that we can use to manage megaesophagus. Sildenafil [Viagra] is the first to target these mechanisms and reduce regurgitation, which is important because that’s what ultimately kills these dogs,” Haines said in a university press release. “It opens the lower esophageal sphincter for 20 minutes to an hour, which works great for dogs because we want it to only open when they’re eating.”

On average, the dogs gained just over two pounds by the end of the study.

“Moderately affected dogs that regurgitated frequently but not excessively seemed to see the most dramatic results,” Haines said. “I actually prescribed sildenafil to several of these patients after the study, and they are still using it today.”

The results are promising, but more research is needed, she noted.

“A lot of vets are reaching out and asking about this drug,” Haines said. “I believe Sildenafil will be life changing and life saving for many dogs. This research helps support its use and hopefully encourages more people to use it.”

SOURCE: Washington State University, press release, February 21, 2022

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