In a megaesophagus in dogs, the esophagus, which is normally contracted muscular, is morbidly dilated. This can lead to such a loss of mobility that the dog can not swallow food or water.
A megaesophagus in dogs may be congenital or acquired and is difficult to predict. It also occurs in cats but generally more dogs are affected.
Without proper treatment, this disease can lead to a number of other complications. These can be life-threatening for your pet.
What is megaesophagus in dogs?
As mentioned earlier, a megaesophagus in dogs is an esophageal dilatation associated with loss of esophageal motility.
The disease can lead to complete loss of mobility. The mobility is necessary for proper intake of food and liquid.
Megaesophagus is more common in large breeds such as the Great Dane, German Shepherd Dogs or Retrievers. In some it is innate, so it is already present from birth. Often, fox terriers or miniature schnauzers with megaesophagus are born in dogs.
Causes and symptoms of megaesophagus in dogs
The most common symptom of megaesophagus in dogs is the regurgitation of food. It can occur immediately after eating or after a few hours. Other symptoms are:
- to cough
- nasal discharge
- breath sounds
- loss in weight
- Strong or missing appetite
- Bad breath
- Lack of growth in puppies
One of the most serious consequences of megaesophagus in dogs is aspiration pneumonia. This type of pneumonia occurs when food, saliva, fluids or vomit are inhaled into the lungs and cause inflammation there.
A megaesophagus in dogs can be innate. It may have developed in the development of the fetus in the womb. Secondarily, it can develop in connection with other diseases. He may also have hereditary causes.
Secondary causes of megaesophagus in dogs may be, for example:
- Neuromuscular diseases such as myositis or myasthenia gravis
- esophageal cancer
- Foreign body in the esophagus of the dog
- Inflammation of the esophagus
- Parasitic infections
Diagnosis and treatment of megaesophagus in dogs
The veterinarian will perform a complete examination after examining the clinical history of the animal. He determines according to the owner, whether the dog tends to choke or vomit. This allows him to exclude other diseases of the digestive tract.
Shape and color of possible undigested solid particles in the vomit of the dog are also crucial for the final diagnosis. Other common tests are blood and urine tests. With them, similar diseases can be excluded.
With a reflection of the esophagus, possible foreign bodies that have accumulated in the esophagus can be detected and removed. Thus, the condition of the esophagus can also be assessed.
For the treatment of megaesophagus in dogs, the latter must be treated for a secondary cause. In some cases even surgery may be necessary.
If your dog can not eat, he must be fed on a nasogastric tube.
If a dog, as often happens in congenital cases, needs palliative care, it should be turned every four hours on a soft surface and supplied with liquid food.