Inflammation of the feline esophagus is an underdiagnosed condition, yet it can have potentially severe consequences; Toshihiro Watari discusses the predisposing factors, the clinical signs, the imaging modalities required for diagnosis, and the options available to both treat the disease and minimize its recurrence.
Feline esophagitis may be subclinical in nature or can often cause nonspecific clinical signs; it is probably underdiagnosed in general practice.
The most common etiology appears to be gastroesophageal reflux, which may be exacerbated by general anesthetic. Tetracycline antibiotics have also been shown to cause esophagitis.
Treatment is based on drug therapy to inhibit gastric acid secretion and promote gastric emptying.
Sustained or severe esophagitis and the resulting fibrotic changes can lead to formation of an esophageal stricture. Such strictures are best treated by endoscopic balloon dilation.