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Esophageal Strictures in Large Animals

By

Jan F. Hawkins

, DVM, DACVS, Purdue University

Last full review/revision Oct 2021 | Content last modified Oct 2021

Idiopathic esophageal strictures can occur in foals. Initial diagnosis based on clinical signs may be delayed because of other more frequent causes of dysphagia, including idiopathic dorsal displacement of the soft palate or nasal reflux of milk, cleft palate, or pharyngeal cysts. All cases of nasal discharge of milk in foals should be evaluated with endoscopy. Esophageal stricture in horses older than foals or in ruminants typically results from mucosal ulceration secondary to esophageal obstruction Esophageal Obstruction in Large Animals Esophageal obstruction, commonly known as choke, occurs secondary to obstruction of the esophagus with food or foreign objects. Symptoms include nasal discharge of feed, coughing, bloat, and... read more Esophageal Obstruction in Large Animals .

Appropriate treatment depends on whether the stricture is mucosal or mural (involving the muscular wall). Mucosal strictures can be treated conservatively with dietary management, bougienage with a cuffed endotracheal tube, or surgery. Mural strictures are best managed with esophageal myotomy. Surgical treatment of mucosal strictures may involve esophagotomy through the strictured area with insertion of a nasogastric tube, resulting in a traction diverticulum, mucosal resection and anastomosis, or full-thickness esophageal resection and anastomosis.

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