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Esophagitis in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your dog does not rapidly improve.

Administer all prescribed medications as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems in treating your dog. In individuals with mild to moderate cases of esophagitis, following their condition clinically may be all that is necessary. Continuing all recommended therapy and reporting progress to your veterinarian is often all that is necessary, and reporting even the smallest setback is of paramount importance.

In cases of severe esophagitis, follow-up endoscopy is generally recommended 2 to 4 weeks after the initial diagnosis. It is important to assess the healing of these patients, and to assess the esophagus for any changes consistent with the presence of an early stricture. In addition, it helps to determine if the patients who are being fed by gastrotomy tube can be switched to oral feedings.

It is important to be aware of signs that would suggest a secondary pneumonia has occurred. These include coughing, difficult or pronounced breathing, general malaise (lethargy), or simply not acting right. A thoracic (chest) radiograph would be indicated in these cases.

In severe cases, esophageal stricture may be present. Things to be especially aware of include frequent or persistent regurgitation or extreme discomfort upon ingesting food.

The prognosis for these animals depends on the underlying cause and the degree of inflammation. Generally, mild to moderate cases respond nicely to treatment. Severe cases, although able to respond well, may be associated with complications or lengthy healing periods. In extreme cases, despite appropriate therapy and recommendations, complete resolution and even control may be unattainable.

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