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Megaesophagus

Description: The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth into the stomach by a series of contractions after swallowing. If the esophagus doesn't contract properly to move food down, however, it can become stretched out to “mega” size, so that food remains in the esophagus instead of going down into the stomach. 

What to Watch For: Breeds affected by megaesophagus may throw up tube-shaped portions of undigested food. Other signs include loss of appetite, weight loss, bad breath, and aspiration pneumonia can often result. If your pet has any unusual eating behaviors or consistently vomits after eating, be sure to let your vet know. 

Diagnosis: X-rays can help determine if your pet has this condition.

Treatment: Special feeding postures, dietary modifications, and sometimes medications can be prescribed to help manage the problem. Unfortunately, pets with megaesophagus commonly inhale bits of food because of the esophagus's nearness to the windpipe and can consequently develop severe pneumonia, so it's important to diagnose megaesophagus and begin proper treatment early.

Breeds prone to Megaesophagus include:

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