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Clinical factors associated with death before discharge and overall survival time in dogs with generalized megaesophagus

Alix R. McBrearty BVMS1, Ian K. Ramsey BVSc, PhD2, Emily A. Courcier BVetMed, MSc3, Dominic J. Mellor BVMS, PhD4, and Rory Bell MVB5
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  • 1 Division of Companion Animal Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G61 1QH, Scotland.
  • | 2 Division of Companion Animal Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G61 1QH, Scotland.
  • | 3 Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G61 1QH, Scotland.
  • | 4 Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G61 1QH, Scotland.
  • | 5 Division of Companion Animal Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G61 1QH, Scotland.

Abstract

Objective—To investigate the association of 6 clinical features with outcome of dogs with generalized megaesophagus.

Design—Retrospective cohort study.

Animals—71 client-owned dogs with radiographic evidence of generalized esophageal dilation.

Procedures—Medical records were reviewed for data on signalment, age at onset of clinical signs, body weight, evidence of undernutrition, and the administration of drugs to treat or prevent esophagitis. Radiographs were reviewed for evidence of aspiration pneumonia (AP) and to calculate the relative esophageal diameter. Details of outcome were collected from the medical records and by contacting owners and referring veterinarians. The association of 6 factors with death before discharge and overall survival time was assessed.

Results—Overall median survival time was 90 days. Nineteen (26.7%) patients died before discharge from the hospital. Radiographic evidence of AP was both positively associated with death before discharge and negatively associated with overall survival time. An age at onset of clinical signs of >13 months was negatively associated with overall survival time. No evidence of an association of the degree of esophageal dilation or the use of drugs to prevent or treat esophagitis with death before discharge or overall survival time was found.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Radiographic evidence of AP and the age at onset of clinical signs were the only variables found to be significantly associated with survival time in this study, and this should be considered when advising on prognosis in dogs with megaesophagus.

Contributor Notes

Dr. McBrearty's present address is Vets Now Hospital, 123–145 North St, Glasgow, G3 7DA, Scotland.

Presented in abstract form at the 21st European Society of Veterinary Neurology Symposium, Rhodes, Greece, September 2008.

The authors thank Jackie Short for assistance with data collection.

Address correspondence to Dr. McBrearty (alix.mcbrearty@vets-now.com).