Esophageal Obstruction in Dogs
Dogs tend to eat unusual things. When a dog ingests foreign material or foodstuffs too large to pass through the esophagus (the throat), the esophagus can become blocked. Small-breed dogs, especially terriers, are most apt to have esophageal foreign bodies. Esophageal foreign bodies cause mechanical blockage, swelling, and death of the throat tissue.
Symptoms and Types
- Loss of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive salivation, drooling
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent gulping
Obstruction of the esophagus occurs with objects that are of a size, shape, or texture that will cause them to get stuck in the esophagus.
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. You should describe anything your think your dog might have eaten that could have become lodged in its throat (e.g., toys, panties, golf balls). Your veterinarian will do a physical exam, with an X-ray of the esophagus and chest. Another diagnostic tool that is useful for imaging is an esophagoscope, for seeing the interior of the esophagus. These imaging steps are crucial for making a concrete diagnosis and for making an accurate estimation of the exact place in the esophagus that is being affected, and of the degree of damage caused to your dog's esophagus. Standard tests will also include a chemical blood profile, complete blood count, urinalysis and an electrolyte panel. Usually, the bloodwork results will return as normal.