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To identify complications associated with and short- and long-term outcomes of surgical intervention for treatment of esophageal foreign bodies (EFBs) in dogs.


63 client-owned dogs.


Patient records from 9 veterinary hospitals were reviewed to identify dogs that underwent surgery for removal of an EFB or treatment or an associated esophageal perforation between 2007 and 2019. Long-term follow-up data were obtained via a client questionnaire.


54 of the 63 (85.7%) dogs underwent surgery after an unsuccessful minimally invasive procedure or subsequent evidence of esophageal perforation was identified. Esophageal perforation was present at the time of surgery in 42 (66.7%) dogs. Most dogs underwent a left intercostal thoracotomy (37/63 [58.7%]). Intraoperative complications occurred in 18 (28.6%) dogs, and 28 (50%) dogs had a postoperative complication. Postoperative complications were minor in 14 of the 28 (50%) dogs. Dehiscence of the esophagotomy occurred in 3 dogs. Forty-seven (74.6%) dogs survived to discharge. Presence of esophageal perforation preoperatively, undergoing a thoracotomy, and whether a gastrostomy tube was placed were significantly associated with not surviving to discharge. Follow-up information was available for 38 of 47 dogs (80.9%; mean follow-up time, 46.5 months). Infrequent vomiting or regurgitation was reported by 5 of 20 (25%) owners, with 1 dog receiving medication.


Results suggested that surgical management of EFBs can be associated with a high success rate. Surgery should be considered when an EFB cannot be removed safely with minimally invasive methods or esophageal perforation is present.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association