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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Puppy Regurgitates Liquid

Today's question comes from Kathryn....
My 6 week old puppy regurgitates liquids, he doesn't have any problem with eating food. What should I do to begin testing to find out what his prognosis is? He is from a litter of puppies I have and has had the problem from birth, regurgitating some of his mothers milk.
I have had him to the vets, he suggested x-rays and is suspicious of Mega-esophagus, I have research this disease online but find it usually includes food reguritation.
First, this is definitely a case in which you should rely more on in-person vet visits than online comments and research.  I'll give my thoughts, but if you want a true second opinion find another vet to do the exam on your dog.
My first two concerns would be megaesophagus or some kind of hiatal hernia.  Megaesophagus in puppies is typically a birth defect where a fetal vessel around the esophagus doesn't go away, resulting in a stricture and difficulty passing food.  It builds up in the esophagus, stretching it out and leading to food regurgitation.  While Kathryn's puppy is certainly not a typical case, I wouldn't completely rule it out.  In megaesophagus cases liquids typically can pass through easier than solid foods, which is the opposite in this case.  Still, it's worth checking out.
A problem at the upper sphincter of the stomach (cardiac sphincter in the hiatal region) could result in the stomach opening into the esophagus more easily.  In this case liquids would be more likely to pass back out rather than solids.
If this was my case my first step would be x-rays and possibly and upper GI contrast study.  If this didn't give any answers and the problem persisted I would want to refer the case to a specialst to have an upper GI endoscopy procedure.
Kathryn, I would continue to follow your vet's advice and see if they can track down the cause of the problem.