Objective—To evaluate the signalment, clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome associated with esophageal obstruction caused by a dental chew treat in dogs.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Procedures—Medical records were contributed from 19 hospitals via responses to a questionnaire that was developed for veterinarians who managed the cases.
Results—Esophageal obstructions with the dental chew treat occurred primarily in small dogs (26/31 [83.9%]). The most common clinical signs were gagging, regurgitation, vomiting, anorexia, and lethargy. Diagnosis was usually made via survey thoracic radiography. Obstructions were most commonly located in the distal portion of the esophagus (23/31; 74.2%). Esophageal lesions were moderate or severe in 86.7% (26/30) of the dogs. Orad endoscopic removal of the foreign bodies was uncommon (8/31 [25.8%]); most were pushed into the stomach. Thoracotomy was necessary in 6 dogs. Esophageal strictures developed in 6 of 25 (24%) dogs that survived initial hospitalization. Overall mortality rate was 25.8%.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Esophageal obstructions with a dental chew treat were difficult to remove orally via endoscopy, resulted in moderate or severe esophageal damage, frequently were associated with stricture formation, and were associated with a high mortality rate.