PetPlace.com Megaesophagus in Dogs - Page 1

My Pet: FREE Tools to Care for Your Pet and Connect with Others


Over 10,000 Vet Approved Articles Search All Articles

Megaesophagus in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

Read By: Pet Lovers
Email To A Friend Print
Megaesophagus is a condition where there is decreased or absent motility (movement, muscular contractions) of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food and water from the throat to the stomach. With megaesophagus, passing food all the way to the stomach becomes difficult, and the food may be regurgitated back up into the throat. This reduced motility usually results in dilation of the esophagus.

Megaesophagus may be present at birth and become apparent shortly after weaning, or it can be acquired later in life. It can be secondary to a variety of diseases that cause neuromuscular dysfunction, or it can occur as a primary disorder for which the cause is unknown (idiopathic). It may be associated with esophageal obstruction due to a foreign object, stricture or narrowing, neoplasia (cancer), compression from adjacent masses in the chest, or compression from a vascular ring anomaly (a congenital defect of the blood vessels in front of the heart).

Affected animals may have difficulty maintaining adequate nutrition due to their inability to move food into the gastrointestinal tract. They may also develop pneumonia secondary to regurgitation and aspiration of foodstuffs into the lungs.

Megaesophagus is seen in both dogs and cats; however, it is much more common in dogs. It is hereditary in the wirehaired fox terrier and miniature schnauzer. Other breeds commonly affected include the German shepherd dog, Newfoundland, Great Dane, Irish setter, Chinese shar-pei, pug, and greyhound.

What to Watch For

  • Regurgitation of food and water
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Nasal discharge
  • Salivation
  • Sometimes difficulty swallowing
  • Foul odor to the breath
  • Weight loss
  • Poor body condition
  • Respiratory distress with severe aspiration pneumonia

    Diagnosis

    A thorough description of the clinical signs is very important and can often be the key to the diagnosis. It is most important that your veterinarian understands exactly what signs your pet is exhibiting at home. Diagnostic tests are necessary to confirm a diagnosis of megaesophagus. They may include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Thoracic X-rays
  • Acetylcholine receptor antibody titer
  • Antinuclear antibody (ANA) titer for immune-mediated diseases
  • Hormonal testing, such a an adrenal stimulation test and thyroid function tests
  • Blood lead level

    Treatment

    Treatment for megaesophagus is directed at the underlying disease or associated conditions. In the event no underlying cause is identified, symptomatic and supportive measures are recommended:

  • Drugs that help increase gastrointestinal motility or movement

  • Antibiotic and fluid therapy in cases of pneumonia secondary to megaesophagus

    Home Care and Prevention

    Administer any prescribed medications and feed your dog according to the instructions given to you by your veterinarian. It is critical that you follow any special feeding instructions to reduce the risk of aspiration of food or vomitus into the lungs. It is important to maintain adequate nutrition if at all possible.

    Most causes of megaesophagus cannot be prevented. However, megaesophagus associated with ingestion of certain types of foreign bodies or toxins may be prevented by closely monitoring your dog's environment.

  • Comment & Share
    Email To A Friend Print
    Keep reading! This article has multiple pages.

    Dog Photos Enjoy hundreds of beautiful dog photos Let's Be Friends Follow Us On Facebook Follow Us On twitter

    Close

    Email to a Friend

    Article to eMail
    Megaesophagus in Dogs




    Thanks!
    Close
    My Pet
    Coming Soon

    Tools to Care for Your Pet and
    Connect with Others!

    Be the First to Know.
    Notify Me