Common names or abbreviations:
Description or definition:
|The esophagus is the tube connecting the throat to
the stomach. When food enters the esophagus, reflex causes muscle
contraction and relaxation that transport the food into the stomach. Other
reflexes prevent breathing during this swallowing process to prevent the
food from entering the lungs.
When these reflexes are interrupted such as by
disease in the esophageal tissue or nerve disease, the esophagus loses its
ability to transport food. Instead the esophagus loses all tone and
dilates. Food (or water) remain in the esophagus until the dog tips
his head down, and out it comes. Also, the reflex protecting the
lung is disrupted and pneumonia commonly follows.
Mesophagus is a condition where the esophagus is
stretched far beyond its normal collapsed state and is unable to move food
toward the stomach or empty itself of the food and liquid that have already
Most cases involve young puppies (Great Danes, Irish
setters, German Shepherds are genetically predisposed). In these cases
the condition is believed congenital though it often does not show up until
the pup begins to try to eat solid food. Congenital megaesophagus is
believed to occur due to incomplete nerve development in the esophagus. The
good news is that nerve development may improve as the pet matures.
Prognosis is thus better for congenital megaesophagus than it is for
megaesophagus acquired during adulthood.
Links to sites about this disease:
This summary provided by:
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All rights reserved. Revised: January 2008
The information on this website was written by ISSR breeders and other
concerned individuals, however we are are NOT veterinarians. This
information is being provided as a general overview, from information we
were able to find about each disease through our own research. These
summaries are not intended to be relied upon as medical or veterinary
advice, nor do we consider ourselves experts in the veterinary field or in
any of these conditions. While we do our best to provide the most up to
date information, new research is constantly being done on these diseases.
We recommend that you do further study and talk to your veterinarian on
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posted here is the most current information available. This site was
originally designed and maintained by Debbie Knatz.