Enlargement of Esophagus in Dogs

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The major goal of therapy is to treat the underlying cause. However, it is also important that dogs with compromised feed intake are meeting their daily nutritional requirements. Common food items recommended by the veterinarian will include liquid gruel, small meatballs, blenderized slurries, and other palatable, high energy foods.

Depending on the underlying cause of the problem, surgery may be employed. For instance, in cases of a foreign body, it will be removed immediately to provide relief and prevent further complications. Aspiration pneumonia is another life-threatening problem that requires immediate hospitalization, where oxygen therapy, antibiotics, and other medications are used to treat the condition.

Living and Management

Follow the guidelines related to care and nutritional requirements for your dog. Recumbent animals may require extra care; soft bedding and turning the animal every four hours are essential. If your dog is not able to take feed, your veterinarian may pass a feeding tube directly into the stomach for feeding purposes. He or she will teach you how to properly use such equipment, though it is important to clean it after each use. Regular weighing of your dog is also required to ensure it is at an adequate range (not losing too much, but not too heavy either).

For patients able to take feed, special arrangements are required for correct feeding to prevent aspiration pneumonia. These animals are kept in an upright position for 10 to 15 minutes after eating or drinking, and both food and water bowls need to be elevated (45 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) from the floor.

You will need to visit your veterinarian for regular follow-ups to evaluate your dog and treatment progress. Thoracic radiographs are repeated if aspiration pneumonia is suspected. Laboratory testing will be repeated in cases with confirmed aspiration pneumonia diagnosis.

Most dogs with megaesophagus require life-long therapy and commitment and patience from you. Unfortunately, dogs suffering from congenital forms of the diseases, or in whom the underlying cause could not be identified, carry a very poor prognosis. Some animals may die due to complications, like aspiration pneumonia.

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