If your dog is regurgitating its food, it could be something serious. There are multiple causes, but the result of an “esophageal stricture” is always the same– your dog can’t eat! At Southeast Veterinary Specialists, patient Yokoto is lucky to be alive. The pup could have starved to death if it weren’t for her observant owner.
Veterinary internal specialist Aimee Kidder says, “The clinical signs that you see in dogs that have esophageal strictures tend to be just regurgitation, so they’re typically very hungry, because they can’t actually get any food, but everything that they eat just tends to come right back up.”
Dr. Kidder says Yokota’s stricture was caused by her bad knee. Yokota was placed under anesthesia for knee surgery so often that it caused permanent damage to her esophagus. Dr. Kidder explains, “When that happens, the muscle kinda relaxes and then stomach contents, which have a lot of acids and other irritants can flow into the esophagus and cause trauma in the esophagus. So a lot of ulcerations and chemical trauma.”
Yokota’s esophagus is roughly five to six centimeters in diameter. The camera doctors insert is roughly one centimeter in diameter. The stricture was so small that Dr. Kidder said the camera didn’t even fit! The solution for an esophageal stricture is the same whether it’s in a dog or a human. The doctor will slide a balloon through the stricture and then inflate it to tear open the scar tissue.
It’s a long road to recovery. Dr. Kidder says, “Most of the time it’ll require multiple balloonings, it just depends on how tight that stricture is.” After four treatments and a long stay at the hospital, Yakota is back to eating soft foods and feeling more like her old self!