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Esophageal foreign body obstruction caused by a dental chew treat in 31 dogs (2000–2006)

Michael S. Leib DVM, MS, DACVIM1 and Laura Lee Sartor DVM, DACVIM2
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  • 1 Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061
  • | 2 Small Animal Internal Medicine, Oradell Animal Hospital Inc, 580 Winters Ave, Paramus, NJ 07652

Abstract

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.

Animals—31 dogs.

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.

Abstract

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.

Animals—31 dogs.

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.

Contributor Notes

Presented in part at the Comparative Gastroenterology Society, Winter Park, Colo, February 2006; the 24th Annual Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Medicine, Louisville, June 2006; the North American Veterinary Conference, Orlando, Fla, January 2007; and the 25th Annual Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Seattle, June 2007.

The authors thank Drs. Cary Bassett, Gary Block, Julie Byron, Leah Cohn, Angelyn Cornetta, Maryann Crawford, Britt Culver, Mark Dorfman, Derek Duval, Michelle Edwards, Mark Elie, Chen Gilor, Wayne Hause, Silke Hecht, Susan Hodge, Amy Holford, Shawn Kearns, David J. Krahwinkel, Jessica Lin, Orla Mahoney, Meri Miller, Kenneth Moore, Susan O'Bell, Steven Roberts, Tracey Rossi, Liz Rozanski, Kirk Ryan, Michael Schaer, Rebecca Seaman, Kathleen Sennello, Polina Vishkautsan, Jinelle Webb, Christina Wolf, and Dara Zerrenner for submitting cases or data.

Address correspondence to Dr. Leib.