A huge term with a big issue. What is feline megaesophagus, what causes it, and how do you treat it?
Megaesophagus, or esophageal enlargement, is a disorder in which the oesophagus is unable to convey food down into the stomach. Learn more about this disorder, including its causes, symptoms, and treatments, by reading the material below.
Megaesophagus in Cats: What Causes It?
Megaesophagus can be present at birth in kittens or develop later in adult cats. Congenital megaesophagus has no known cause, according to experts. Megaesophagus can develop later in life as a result of inflammation, a foreign body, or a tumour in the oesophagus. Parasitic infections, hormonal illness, neuromuscular problems, and heavy metal exposure are all possible causes.
Megaesophagus Symptoms in Cats:
Several signs can signal that your kitten or cat has megaesophagus, but they can also be related with other health problems, so it’s vital to have your kitten or cat examined by a veterinarian if these occur:
- losing weight
- Growth that is poor or stunted
- Drooling or excessive salivation
- Breath problems
It’s also vital to keep a look out for symptoms of aspiration pneumonia, such as trouble breathing, nasal discharge, coughing, difficulty swallowing, respiratory noises, weakness, lethargy, and fever, so that veterinary care may be administered quickly.
Treatments for Megaesophagus in Cats:
When your veterinarian identifies megaesophagus in your pet, he or she will try to determine the reason so that it may be treated. In some situations, surgery may be necessary. Medications may be prescribed as well.
Your vet may prescribe foods that are easier for your cat to eat, such as slurries and liquid gruel, and you may need to serve smaller meals more often throughout the day to ensure your cat obtains sufficient nutrients through a high-calorie diet. The objective will be to control the symptoms and avoid regurgitation so that food may enter the digestive system. If your cat is unable to eat, you may need to use a feeding tube.
Your veterinarian will show you how to arrange your pet’s body during feeding to avoid aspiration pneumonia (when food is unintentionally inhaled into the lungs). Maintaining an upright position of 45° to 90° from the floor is recommended, so make sure your pet’s food and water bowls are positioned at a suitable angle to ensure the food gets down the oesophagus.
For example, you may need to make sure your cat feeds from raised dishes that cause her to stand on her hind legs so that gravity can assist in moving the food into the stomach.
Visit the veterinarian on a regular basis:
If your cat has been diagnosed with megaesophagus, it’s important to visit the doctor for frequent checks to ensure that the correct treatment procedures are followed. The prognosis for some cats is poor, and some die as a result of complications induced by the illness. Others may see their condition improve with time. As a result, working closely with a veterinarian is essential in order to improve the chances of success.