Pet Education Dogs
Pet Education Dogs Pet Education Dogs Pet Education Dogs

Learn about Vetco
Dog Food Cat Food New Brands - Healthy Choices Just Added!
Free Shipping on orders over $49
Video Center
Foreign Bodies in the Esophagus of Dogs
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Race Foster, DVM
Digestive System
Print Article | Email Article
Bookmark and Share
Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at Pet Supplies

The esophagus is a small hose-like tube which connects the mouth to the stomach. As it leaves the mouth, it follows a straight path through the neck and chest, passing near the heart through the diaphragm muscle and finally entering the stomach. The esophagus walls are composed of muscles which move in wave-like contractions to push food into the stomach. In the dog, it takes about five seconds for food to move from the mouth to the stomach. Surgery on the esophagus is always difficult because of its location within the chest and its slow rate of healing.

The esophagus, being a tube-like structure, is capable of a certain amount of dilation which allows larger pieces of food to reach the stomach. When a dog ingests an object other than normal food, it typically lodges in the esophagus, near the heart. It is at this point that the esophagus is unable to expand to its widest. Balls, rocks, sticks, triangular bones (pork chop), and even fishhooks are all examples of foreign bodies which may lodge in this area.

What are the symptoms?

If the esophagus is blocked in this manner, food is usually regurgitated within a few minutes after eating. If the blockage is not complete, liquid foods may pass. Chunky food generally cannot reach the stomach.

What are the risks?

A foreign body in the esophagus is always serious. Sharp objects can puncture or wear away the esophageal muscle wall and allow food and bacteria to enter the chest cavity. Severe, life-threatening pneumonia can develop.

What is the management?

Treatment is aimed at removing the object. This may be accomplished by anesthetizing the dog and removing the object via the mouth, or gently pushing it into the stomach. In many instances this is not possible and the chest cavity and esophagus must be surgically opened and the object removed. This type of surgery poses a great risk to the patient, however, the final outcome can be excellent.

Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at Pet Supplies  
Print Article | Email Article

Facebook YouTube Blog Connect with us

Subscribe to email newsletters:
featuring helpful articles, tips and online only product specials from Drs. Foster & Smith. Learn more here !

About Us Article Reprints Awards & Memberships Request a FREE Catalog Tell a Friend
Meet Our Staff Terms & Use Site Map Free Newsletters Links to Us
Visit our other websites: Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Supplies - Quality Aquatic Life Direct to Your Door
For product information, call 1-800-826-7206

Copyright © 1997-2015, Petco Wellness, LLC. All rights reserved.
2253 Air Park Road, P.O. Box 100, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, 54501.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Your CA Privacy Rights | Copyright Claims | Pet Medical Records Policy