Gastrointestinal reflux, or acid reflux, is one of the most common causes of esophagitis, the term applied to inflammation of the esophagus in dogs. Acid reflux is the result of stomach acids passing into the esophageal canal, causing irritation to the tissue lining of the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food down from the mouth cavity to the stomach.
Young dogs born with congenital esophageal abnormalities are at an increased risk for esophagitis. Older dogs that are being treated with anesthesia for surgery, or for other reasons, may also develop this condition. One of the most important complications of esophagitis is aspiration pneumonia, which occurs due to the entrance of food particles or liquid drops into lungs.
Your veterinarian will examine your dog thoroughly after taking a full history from you. You will need to give your veterinarian as much information as you can about your dog's health, including the onset of symptoms, and any possible incidents that might have preceded this condition.
Routine laboratory testing will include a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and a urinalysis, though these tests usually return as normal in such patients. However, in cases of pneumonia, changes related to the infection may be seen in laboratory results. Radiographic studies, including X-ray or ultrasound imaging, may help in the diagnosis of esophagitis. An advanced type of radiography called barium contrast radiography may reveal changes in the esophagus due to inflammation. In barium contrast radiography, barium sulfate is administered orally to the dog. The particles are suspended in the esophagus, making the esophageal canal easier to visualize on X-ray.
Endoscopy is also an option for diagnosis in these patients and is often a more reliable procedure for diagnosis of esophagitis. Endoscopy is an internal diagnostic tool which uses an endoscope, a rigid but flexible tube equipped with a camera and methods for retrieving tissue samples, that can be inserted into a hollow cavity, such as the esophagus. Using this method, your veterinarian can look directly into the esophagus in order to visually inspect it, to take pictures, and to take a sample for biopsy.
Endoscopy may also be used to remove a foreign body, if required.
The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance
A procedure of imaging internal body structures by exposing film
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine
A band of tissue that makes a passage narrower
The tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.
A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts
A type of instrument that is used to look inside the body
Commonly referred to simply as barium, may be used as a material for contrast injections.
Anything having to do with the stomach