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Esophageal Disease in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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The esophagus is the tubular, muscular organ that extends from the pharynx to the stomach and functions to transmit ingested material to the stomach. Esophageal disease is any disease that effects the esophagus.

Causes

  • Megaesophagus is decreased or absent esophageal movement that often results in dilatation, or stretching beyond normal size. It may be congenital (existing from birth) or acquired later in life.

  • Vascular ring anomaly is strangulation (compression) of the esophagus within several structures, causing a partial megaesophagus.

  • Esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus.

  • Esophageal foreign bodies are any objects present or remaining within the esophagus.

  • Esophageal stricture is an abnormal narrowing of the esophagus.

  • Esophageal diverticula are pouch-like dilatations of the esophageal wall.

  • Esophageal neoplasia is cancer of the esophagus.

  • Esophageal fistula is an abnormal communication between the esophagus and another structure (bronchus).

  • Hiatal hernia is an abnormality of the diaphragm allowing part of the stomach to be displaced into the chest cavity.

    Although in most esophageal diseases there are no sex, breed or age predilections, some esophageal diseases are seen more commonly in younger animals, and some are seen more commonly in certain breeds (foreign bodies more commonly in small or toy breeds).

    What to Watch For

  • Salivation
  • Anorexia (poor appetite)
  • Excessive or persistent gulping
  • Discomfort upon swallowing
  • Coughing
  • Regurgitation, which is the effortless evacuation of fluid, mucus and undigested food from the esophagus

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