Ask Dr Claire

What is megaoesophagus in a dog, and what are its symptoms?

Megaoesophagus describes the situation where the oesphagus (the tube that carries food and water from the mouth to the stomach) is abnormally large and is not functioning to move food through.

Dogs are either born with this (congenital), or can develop it in middle to older age (acquired).

Some of the symptoms of megaoesphagus in a dog might be:

  • Regurgitation: The is the main sign. Regurgitation is not vomiting, undigested food is brought back up with little effort because the dysfunctioning oesophagus won’t allow food to move through into the stomach. This usually happens straight after eating, but can be a few hours later.
  • Not eating
  • Drooling
  • Painful swallowing (they often have oesophagitis too)
  • Fever, cough, difficulty breathing (these are signs of aspiration pneumonia- food not moving through can more easily move into the lung and cause a dangerous infection).
  • Weight loss (these dogs aren’t getting the nutrition they need).

If your pet is showing any of the above signs a hands-on examination from your local vet would be a great place to start.

If you’d like to chat in person, you can book a live video call or start a chat to discuss in more detail, as soon as possible.

We’re here to help!

Chat soon,

Dr Claire

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