Esophagostomy tube complications in dogs and cats: Retrospective review of 225 cases

Olivia Nathanson, Kathryn McGonigle, Kathryn Michel, Darko Stefanovski, Dana Clarke
Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 2019 July 11

BACKGROUND: Esophagostomy feeding tubes (E-tubes) are an essential tool for management of hyporexic patients' acute and chronic nutritional requirements. Despite their routine use, limited information is available regarding E-tube complications, especially in the recent veterinary literature.

OBJECTIVE: To provide an updated descriptive account of E-tube complications in cats and dogs, and to evaluate potential prognostic factors to determine if certain patients are at increased risk for complications.

ANIMALS: One hundred two dogs and 123 cats.

METHODS: Retrospective study evaluating patients that had E-tubes placed between March 2014 and March 2017.

RESULTS: One hundred patients (44.4%) experienced a complication related to tube placement, with a similar complication rate among dogs (43.1%) and cats (45.5%). Twenty-two cats (17.8%) and 14 dogs (13.7%) developed signs of infection at the E-tube site, with 5 cats (22.7%) and 5 dogs (35.7%) requiring surgical debridement. Regurgitation of food through the E-tube stoma was noted in 7 dogs and 1 cat. Three patients were euthanized as a result of tube-related complications.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: We have provided an updated descriptive review of complications associated with E-tube placement in a large population of dogs and cats at a tertiary referral center. Although E-tubes are essential tools that generally are safe and well tolerated, several complications can occur. We did not identify any specific factors that increase patient risk for these complications, and therefore it is important that all patients are closely monitored and clients are educated to pursue prompt veterinary assessment when such complications arise.


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