Complications of nasogastric intubation in horses: Nine cases (1987–1989)

Joanne Hardy From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L Tharp St, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Randolph H. Stewart From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L Tharp St, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Warren L. Beard From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L Tharp St, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Kathleen Yvorchuk-St-Jean From the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L Tharp St, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Summary

Pharyngeal or esophageal trauma was diagnosed in 9 horses after nasogastric intubation. Evidence of trauma (edema or ulceration) was detected in the pharynx of 3 horses and in the esophagus of 6 horses. Complications associated with nasogastric intubation were first observed in 5 horses while they were intubated and in 4 horses after extubation. Clinical signs of pharyngeal or esophageal trauma were similar, and included salivation, bruxism, coughing, and nasal discharge. Treatment, including extubation, enteral feeding through a small nasogastric tube, or esophagostomy distal to the affected site, was attempted in 6 horses. Three of 6 treated horses survived, but 4 of 5 horses with perforated esophagus were euthanatized.

Summary

Pharyngeal or esophageal trauma was diagnosed in 9 horses after nasogastric intubation. Evidence of trauma (edema or ulceration) was detected in the pharynx of 3 horses and in the esophagus of 6 horses. Complications associated with nasogastric intubation were first observed in 5 horses while they were intubated and in 4 horses after extubation. Clinical signs of pharyngeal or esophageal trauma were similar, and included salivation, bruxism, coughing, and nasal discharge. Treatment, including extubation, enteral feeding through a small nasogastric tube, or esophagostomy distal to the affected site, was attempted in 6 horses. Three of 6 treated horses survived, but 4 of 5 horses with perforated esophagus were euthanatized.

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