Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Reptiles

Esophagostomy tube placement

Contributor(s): David Perpinan, Sarah Brown

Introduction

  • Esophagostomy tube placement is a simple procedure that allows easy enteral feeding/medication and fluid support, and reduces both stress for the animal, working time for the veterinarian and costs for the owner.

Uses

  • Method of choice for stabilizing anorexic patients or for treating patients that require repeated enteric medication, particularly shy or strong chelonians.
  • It can be used in conditions such as:
    • Herpesvirus infection of tortoises .
    • Hepatic lipidosis.
    • Non-specific disease with anorexia.
    • Recovery from surgery or trauma.
    • Jaw fracture.
    • Conditions requiring 'dry-docking' of semi-aquatic species as these species will often only feed underwater.
  • This procedure is less commonly used in lizards and rarely in snakes because these species are generally easy to medicate or feed through a feeding tube Assisted feeding. Jaw fractures are an indication for esophagostomy placement in such species.

Advantages

  • In situations where repeated stomach tubing is required, placement of an esophagostomy tube is practical and beneficial for both patient and veterinary team .
  • Quick and simple procedure.
  • Generally well tolerated.
  • It can be placed in very small patients.
  • Avoids constant restraint of debilitated or stressed patients.
  • It can save time for the veterinarian, particularly with shy or strong chelonians.
  • The animal can be discharged for treatment by the owner in their home environment.
  • Patients can start eating even with the tube in place.

Disadvantages

  • It creates a surgical wound.
  • Infection is a potential sequel, but is uncommon.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Mader D R (2006) Ed Reptile Medicine and Surgery. Saunders Elsevier, USA. pp 639-640.
  • Girling S J & Raiti P (2004) BSAVA Manual of Reptiles. BSAVA, UK. pp 160-227.
  • McArthur S, Wilkinson R & Meyer J (2004) Medicine and Surgery of Tortoises and Turtles. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 257-264.


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