Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Megaesophagus

Synonym(s): ME, Enlarged esophagus

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, Sarah Pellett

Introduction

  • Cause: megaesophagus is the term used to describe the dilatation of the esophagus, the cause of which is unknown, but believed to be a consequence of esophageal hypomotility.
  • Signs: regurgitation, dysphagia, stretching of the neck just after eating, ptyalism, bruxism, decreased appetite, lethargy, loss of body condition, weakness, dehydration, respiratory noises.
  • Diagnosis: radiography, endoscopy, fluoroscopy.
  • Treatment: palliative, prokinetics, mucosal protectants, anti-histamines, antibiotics.
  • Prognosis: poor.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Unknown etiology and pathophysiology in ferrets.
  • It is believed that megaesophagus in ferrets is not a congenital disease, as it is seen in adult animals.
  • Caused by loss of esophageal motility possibly due to conditions affecting esophageal nerves and/or muscles.
  • Some cases thought to be linked with gastritis and gastric reflux, however it is not clear if gastric reflux causes megesophagus or is caused by megesophagus.
  • A case of mild megaesophagus associated with myasthenia gravis Myasthenia gravis has been described, but a definitive diagnostic correlation as is seen in dogs has not been documented.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Couturier J, Huynh M, Boussarie D, Cauzinille L & Shelton G D (2009) Autoimmune myasthenia gravis in a ferret. J Am Vet Med Assoc 235 (12), 1462-1466 PubMed.
  • Blanco M C, Fox J G, Rosenthal K, Hillyer E V, Quesenberry K E & Murphy J C (1994) Megaesophagus in 9 ferrets. J Am Vet Med Assoc 205 (3), 444-447 PubMed.
  • Harms C A & Andrews G A (1993) Megaesophagus in a domestic ferret. Lab Anim Sci 43 (5), 506-508 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Perpiñán D & Johnson-Delaney C A (2017) Disorders of the Digestive System and Liver. In: Ferret Medicine and Surgery. CRC Press, USA. pp 159-190.
  • Maurer K J & Fox J G (2014) Diseases of the Gastrointestinal System. In: Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Eds: Fox J G & Marini R P. Wiley & Sons, Ames, USA. pp 363-375.
  • Hoefer H L, Fox J G & Bell J A (2012) Gastrointestinal Diseases. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier, St. Louis, USA. pp 27-45.


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