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Special Procedure: Dynamic Esophagography

Your pet is scheduled to have a special procedure. This information sheet will give you an idea of what is involved in the procedure and what to expect.

What is dynamic esophagography?

Esophagography is a radiographic study of the esophagus using contrast (barium) to outline the esophagus and to evaluate swallowing and esophageal motility. Fluoroscopy (continuous, low dose x-rays - "live-action" x-rays) along with digital recording is used to evaluate swallowing of liquid, canned food, kibble and paste substrates.

Why has dynamic esophagography been recommended?

The administered contrast allows excellent visualization of the location of the esophagus, as well as the mucosal surface and the contents of the esophagus. The combined use of fluoroscopy allows for excellent evaluation of swallowing. This procedure can evaluate for swallowing disorders, esophageal foreign bodies, esophageal strictures, esophageal reflux, and tumors and ulcers of the esophagus. The results of the esophagogram will help your veterinarian make a definitive diagnosis and offer you the best options for treating your pet.

Are there any known complications from esophagography?

This is a safe procedure with rare complications. Your pet may aspirate a little of the contrast (barium) into the lungs, but the contrast is inert in the lungs. If there is the possibility of a tear in the esophagus, a different type of contrast (iodinated) is used which is safer when contrast leaks around the esophagus. This contrast does not allow the excellent overall evaluation of the esophagus, which is why it is not routinely used.

How should I prepare my pet for dynamic esophogography?

Please withhold food after 8 p.m. the evening prior to the procedure. Please continue to provide free access to fresh water.

What should I bring to the appointment?

We will ask your veterinarian to fax us a copy of the medical record so that you do not need to be responsible. However, if your veterinarian has any x-rays that they are unable to mail to us in time for the appointment, we ask that you please bring those to the appointment.

What happens to my pet after the procedure?

Your pet will be hospitalized in our wards following the procedure. Your pet will be able to be discharged between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. You will be notified as to when you may pick up your pet.

Your pet may not be hungry for dinner after returning home because of the food given during the study. It is normal for your pet's feces to appear white or discolored following the esophogram because barium is white and often can be seen for a day or so until all the barium passes.


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