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Esophageal Disease in Cats

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Optimal treatment for your cat requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. There is no set regime when following animals with esophageal disease; rather, a plan that is formulated specifically for that individual may be implemented.

It is important to administer all prescribed medications, and follow feeding recommendations closely. In individuals with mild to moderate disease, follow up with periodic veterinary exams often all that is necessary. In cases of severe esophageal disease (for example, severe esophagitis or stricture formation), follow-up endoscopy is recommended 2 to 4 weeks after the initial diagnosis.

It is important to be aware of signs that would suggest a secondary pneumonia. These include coughing, difficult or pronounced breathing, general malaise or any unusual behavior for your pet. A chest X-ray would be indicated in these cases.

In severe or prolonged cases of esophagitis, strictures are not uncommonly seen. Alert your veterinarian if there is an increase in regurgitation, or extreme discomfort upon ingesting food. The prognosis for these animals depends on the particular disease and its severity. Generally, mild to moderate cases respond nicely to treatment. Although severe cases often respond well, they may be associated with complications and/or lengthy healing periods. In extreme cases, despite appropriate therapy, complete resolution or even control may be unattainable.

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