All Pets Veterinary Clinic

CHIEF
Megaesophagus


This x-ray demonstrates one film in a barium study. (Barium is a liquid
contrast media that shows up as a bright white substance on an x-ray. It
can be used to demonstrate the size and shape of structures that do not
show up well on regular x-rays.)

The large white tubular structure is an abnormal esophagus, or megaesophagus.
Animals can be born with a megaesophagus (congenital) or can develop one
secondary to several conditions (acquired).

Because of its enlarged size, food is unable to properly move from the mouth
to the stomach. Thus, animals with megaesophagus will often regurgitate
whole/undigested food. Aspiration of regurgitated food and secondary pneumonia is the most common complication in animals
with a megaesophagus.

It is often not possible to "cure" a megaesophagus since surgical options are limited. Thus medical management is often the only
treatment available. Feeding multiple, small, softened meals from an elevated position can significantly decrease regurgitation episodes.
Special thanks to Chief's owners for allowing us to share this case.

Karen Blakeley, DVM, MPH
18 February 2003