Bones are the most common esophageal foreign bodies that have been reported in dogs, although fishhooks, rawhide, pieces of plastic or metal, and other miscellaneous objects have been described.1–8 Small breeds of dogs are often affected. Common clinical signs include regurgitation or vomiting, anorexia, salivation, and signs of depression. Esophageal obstructive foreign bodies, such as bones, most commonly lodge in the distal portion of the esophagus, whereas the second most common location is at the level of the heart base. Diagnosis is usually made via survey thoracic radiography. Successful treatment typically involves orad removal with fluoroscopic guidance or endoscopy, or advancement of the foreign body into the stomach with a rigid tube. Thoracotomy is indicated if the foreign body cannot be retrieved or if a medium-sized or large esophageal perforation has developed.3,8 A mortality rate of approximately 10% has been reported. Long-term complications after foreign body removal are uncommon.
A chlorophyll-containing, toothbrush-shaped, injection-molded, dental chew treata is manufactured for dogs. In 2004, the product received the seal of acceptance for plaque and tartar removal from the Veterinary Oral Health Council9 of the American Veterinary Dental College. The manufacturer's Web site10 reported sales of > 300 million chew treats in 2005. In June 2005, discussion occurred about the difficulty in removing esophageal obstructions caused by the dental chew treat during a special interest group meeting sponsored by the Comparative Gastroenterology Society at the Medical Forum of the ACVIM. Further investigation of this problem was pursued via the ACVIM small animal internal medicine list serve, and additional dogs with obstruction of the esophagus with the dental chew treat were identified. The purpose of the study reported here was to determine the signalment, clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of dogs with esophageal obstructions caused by the dental chew treat that were identified from the list serve discussions. In August 2006, the manufacturer released a reformulated product with increased solubility. Throughout this report, the term dental chew treat refers to a piece or pieces of the dental chew treat with the original formulation manufactured prior to August 2006.
American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Greenies, S&M NuTec LLC, North Kansas City, Mo.
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Veterinary Information Network. Dental treats and obstructions survey. Available at: www.vin.com/Members/SearchDB/Misc/M10000/M06462.htm. Accessed Jul 24, 2007.