Annie's Tale

An Owner's Account of dealing with the 'Gulpies'

I just wanted to share with owners whose Wheatens endure episodes of the 'Gulpies'.

I adopted Annie from a breeder when she was three and a half years old, but over the last 2 years have had a heck of a time with Gulpies


I took her to a specialist in my area and he is phenomenal with her. He initially prescribed Cisapride for her twice a day along with Prilosec twice a day.

We tried this for almost two years. Although it helped, she still had episodes to the point she’d eaten the bottoms off three panels of my drapes as well as other things. So obviously you can’t leave them alone for a second while they have their episodes.

In the past she would tremble terribly and her tummy would get so much air that she’d be uncomfortable that I’d have to burp her. The episodes would literally last 2-3 days. We’d go through lots of Tums.

I took Annie back for her six monthly check about a month ago to her specialist and told him that I feel like she needs some kind of muscle relaxer for her throat because the “Gulpies” seemed to be throat related on top of acid reflux. He informed me that for some of his clients he’d prescribed Viagra. He said Viagra in dogs works as a muscle relaxer, unlike it’s use in humans.

At this point I’d try anything because some of Annie’s episodes can be really bad and they scare her terribly. So, I had to discontinue her Cisapride for two weeks and then start the Sildenifil (It’s the generic for Viagra). She has now been on it for two weeks and twice she started to get Gulpies but it never progressed into an episode because her throat was relaxed and nothing transpired. She looked at me as though thinking 'OMG, here we go' but then just walked away and she was fine - NEVER did I think I’d EVER see this day.

She got a very mild episode yesterday morning with her breakfast and it was so mild that I couldn’t even believe it. She was done with it within 30 minutes and I was even able to let her outside without her harness on. We’d have to always make sure her harness was on when she had Gulpies to keep her from mowing the grass

This morning I was feeding her and she started with a very very mild “gulping” so I started massaging her throat and again, she never developed into a full blown “Gulpies” episode. It lasted maybe 15 minutes (instead of hours/days) but very very mild and manageable.

I’m thrilled beyond my wildest imagination that something has finally helped her Gulpies. I’ve tried EVERYTHING between Probiotics, Slippery Elm, elevated food/water dishes, OTC acid meds, Manuka honey, and so much more.

Nothing worked. I even make her food into “meatball” form and hand feed her 10 meatballs twice a day per her specialists recommendation due to her swallowing problems. The muscle in her esophagus is weak and doesn’t open properly when she swallows food/water. This was discovered via a Barium Swallow test.

I know how hard it is living with a dog that has this issue as you feel like you can never leave the house because you never know when their going to start Gulping, eating everything in the house including the kitchen sink or going outside and mowing the grass by eating so much grass.

This may not be for everyone but it has helped Annie so far. Although she still gets Gulpies, the episodes are mild and only last for maybe 30 minutes and she hasn’t had a full blown episode.

She’s been on the Viagra for 10 days now. After she’s been on it for 2 weeks I have to call her doctor to let him know how she’s doing.

I can’t believe the relief I feel with this change. I honestly thought I’d never be able to leave on vacation ever again because of Gulpies unless we could bring Annie with us. I just didn’t think I could trust anyone handling her Gulpies except me.

Now I feel like we have some hope - she is the love of my life and I can’t imagine ever being without her.

She is the most beautiful and gentle and loving dog I’ve ever had.

I will keep you informed of any changes in her with this new medication and gulpies.

I was pleased to write my story for you as it may give hope to other Wheaten owners in this situation.

Deby Miller-Dato